Automatic Gear boxes are a boon to people since it makes driving much easier by taking clutch and the activity of changing gears out of question. But the problem was that cars fitted with those costs 10 lakhs and above. It was sure that the middle class guy will miss out.
Maruti and Hyundai made some experiments with automatic gearboxes earlier. There were automatic versions of Zen, Esteem, WagonR , Santro etc. Now i10 is the other small car apart from Astar to have an automatic version. The common man is not much educated about automatics and the fact that they comes with reduced mileage.
Maruti Astar automatic has an ARAI approved mileage of 19 kmpl. Astar is a hatchback made in India and exported mainly to European markets. It is called ‘Alto’ in Europe. A stripped down version is sold in India. I am using a manual version of Astar and it is a good car. It has got a different look, strange headlamps, bigger grills, beautiful glass window on the rear and a funny rear view.
It looks like a big car from outside and inside it is a small car. The driver and his companion in the front is given luxury space while those in the rear seats have to content with the little leg space offered. And Bootspace offered is good for a small suitcase only. Practically it is a small car with LESS SPACE. The dashboard design is good but since no way to increase driver seat height, short people will find it a problem. Because you cannot see a thing just in front bottom portions of the car if you don’t have much height. The dashboard obstructs view if you are a short person.
There are space to hold cup near the gear and bottle holder on the doors. Glove box is very small. Integrated Audio is ok but I am using a Sony xplod cd player.
One litre three cylinder K series engine of Maruti powers Astar . Powerful engine provides 67 bhp @ 90 Nm torque. To overtake another vehicle in an automatic versions you got to press the accelerator down to the floor. The gear box is automatic 4 speed transmission gear box. There is no clutch but there are park and neutral modes. You can drive the car with just the brake and accelerator like you do in a Honda Activa. Travel Comfort and handling of Astar are what other cars in the category cannot deliver.
Cost: It will costs more than 5.15 lakh rupees on road along with the cost of necessary accessories.
If you want a care free car to drive in city & heavy traffic, go for Astar. But the car is not for a big family. It is for couples with one kid or no kid. Some call it DINK car (Double Income No Kids).