Maruti engineers are working hard on the R3, a three-row multi-purpose vehicle that will try diverting Toyota Innova customers into Maruti Suzuki showrooms next year. Some reports point at an end-2011 while others predict an early 2012 as starting date of R3's production.
Whichever the case, we expect Maruti Suzuki to showcase the production model at Auto Expo 2012. Test mules must be out on the roads by June or July this year.
More news comes from overseas publication Go Auto Australia. We have already reported on the exports possibility of the SX4-based R3 from India. Maruti Suzuki manufactures the Alto (A-Star) for the entire world. The R3 MPV might be one such high-volume export project going to places as far as Australia.
Within a year or so from the local launch, an export specification model will be ready meeting stringent crash test standards and Euro 5 emission standards. Maruti Suzuki will nix the R3 badge and the 1.2-litre K-Series petrol and 1.3-litre Multi-jet turbo-diesel engines sending drive to the front wheels are the nominees under the hood.
For the export version, there's the likelihood of the 1.6-liter turbodiesel engine from VW's inventory. Flat fold seats and detachable captain seats could be part of the spacious interior. Generous use of high strength steel, ESP and airbags will make the export model safer, while the Indian model designed for fuel economy, lacks such weight adding elements. LPG and CNG variants for fuel conscious buyers could also be planned for a later date.
Maruti will not carry over the futuristic tailgate or the rear-hinged rear doors on the production model. One can expect a car very loosely based on the R3 concept showcased at the Auto Expo last year. If the A-Star concept to production transition is anything to go by, we expect nothing special in design.
Source - Goauto.com.au