Maruti Wagon R And Alto K10 Crash-tested By Global NCAP: Results May Surprise You

  • Apr 4, 2023
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Despite having a better standard safety kit, the Wagon R loses out to the tiniest Maruti car you can buy in India right now

Maruti’s hit-and-miss track record with vehicle safety is a cultural meme in India by now. The latest crash test results from the Global New Car Assessment Program (Global NCAP or GNCAP) will only add fuel to the flame. GNCAP crash-tested the Maruti Alto K10 and Wagon R, two of the carmaker’s most affordable models, and unfortunately, both have performed quite poorly. 

Maruti Alto K10: Two-star rating  

The Alto K10 is Maruti’s most affordable car (the Alto 800 has been discontinued), so, it’ll likely be the choice of many first-time new car buyers. It received a two-star rating with the following scores: 

  • Adult occupant rating: two stars, 21.67 of 34 points

  • Child occupant rating: zero stars, 3.52 of 49 points

Surprisingly, despite being a compact car, the Alto K10’s bodyshell was rated as “stable” and capable of withstanding higher crash speeds. However, the footwell area was rated “unstable”, offering less protection to the front occupants’ feet. 

Sparse safety features in Alto K10's rear seat

As for child safety, the appalling score seems well-justified from the video where the baby crash dummy’s head can be seen impacting the seat. The Alto K10 lacks ISOFIX child-seat mounts (present as standard in most other Maruti models), and the child seats installed using the rear seat belts don’t offer adequate protection to the toddler and baby full-scale anthropomorphic devices (ATDs, a more dignified name for crash dummies). 

The Alto K10’s safety kit consists of only government-mandated safety features, including dual airbags, rear parking sensors and front seat belt pretensioners. Its strong bodyshell is promising, but it suffers from a lack of safety features. 

Maruti Wagon R: 1-star rating 

Under Global NCAP’s new, stricter testing and rating regime, the Wagon R gets only one star (in 2019 it had scored two stars). Here are the safety scores: 

  • Adult occupant rating: one star,19.69 of 34 points

  • Child occupant rating: zero stars, 3.40 of 49 points

The Wagon R is based on a similar Heartect platform as the Alto K10, but its bodyshell was rated “unstable” by GNCAP. In other words, the Wagon R would fare worse in a higher-speed crash. 

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As for the child safety rating of zero stars, since it, too, misses out on ISOFIX child-seat anchors that mount the child seat closer to the car’s safety structure. The Wagon R does get standard stability control (ESP) currently, but the tested model didn’t have ESP as standard, contributing to its lower overall rating. The hatchback’s AMT variants also get hill-hold assist. 

Neither of the two hatchbacks offer three-point seat belts for all five seating positions, which contributes to their poor safety rating. 

The Wagon R and Alto K10 offer little more than the government-mandated safety kit, and their scores reflect it. The lack of safety features could be remedied when the government makes six airbags and more safety features mandatory, however, an inadequate bodyshell could still hold back the Wagon R from achieving better scores. 

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In conclusion, we leave you with an insight from Alejandro Furas, the Secretary General of Global NCAP: 


“Since 2014 Global NCAP has been encouraging a market shift in India for safer cars. We have been delighted with the positive response from Indian automakers and some global automakers as well. Although there has been some limited improvement, we are yet to see this safety commitment deployed in the most popular Maruti Suzuki models. Given that six airbags are becoming a mandatory requirement for new models sold in India, it is particularly worrying for Global NCAP that Maruti Suzuki does not even make this requirement available as a customer option.” – Alejandro Furas, Secretary General of Global NCAP. 

Also read: Skoda Slavia and Volkswagen Virtus Have Aced The Global NCAP Crash Test With 5 Star Ratings

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