Maruti Suzuki Makes ESC Standard On Most Models In Light Of Bharat NCAP Rollout
By Amaan Ahmed
25-Apr-23 03:13 PM IST
- Nearly all Maruti Suzuki cars – from both Arena and Nexa chains – now have ESC as standard.
- Only Maruti vehicles that miss out on ESC are the Alto K10, S-Presso MT and Eeco.
- From 2024, Bharat NCAP crash test requirements necessitate ESC for three-star and above ratings.
India’s leading carmaker Maruti Suzuki has announced the introduction of a key safety feature, electronic stability control (ESC), as standard across most models in its line-up. Every variant of nearly every car and SUV Maruti Suzuki sells – from the Celerio all the way up to the Grand Vitara – is now equipped with ESC. The only models that miss out on the addition of this feature are the entry-level Alto K10, the Eeco van and the manual transmission variants of the S-Presso; automated manual transmission (AMT) variants of the S-Presso will get ESC. Additionally, automatic and AMT versions of all Maruti cars and SUVs now also have hill hold assist as standard.
This boost to the safety kit of Maruti Suzuki’s passenger vehicle line-up is part of the updates made by the manufacturer as part of its transition to having a BS6 Phase-II Real Driving Emissions (RDE) compliant range. The update has also introduced an enhanced onboard diagnostics (OBD) system that monitors emissions in real-time and can notify drivers in case it detects malfunction. Maruti Suzuki increased prices of its offerings by 0.8 percent at the start of April – its second price hike in 2023 – which factors in the additional cost introduced by the inclusion of the new OBD system as well as ESC, so no further changes in price are expected with the addition of these new features.
What’s also interesting is the timing of this announcement – India’s own crash testing programme for passenger vehicles, dubbed Bharat NCAP (BNCAP), went official on April 1, 2023 after road transport minister Nitin Gadkari approved the draft notification for the testing protocol in 2022. As per the requirements of Bharat NCAP, from 2024 onwards, to be eligible for a test rating of three stars or higher, a car must have ESC as standard, as vehicles with ESC only being available as an option cannot receive a test rating higher than two stars under the BNCAP protocol.
Cars on sale in India will soon be accorded safety ratings under the Bharat NCAP test protocol.
In the past, Maruti Suzuki has faced criticism for the poor performances of its vehicles in crash tests conducted by safety watchdog Global NCAP. With the exception of the original, made-in-India Vitara Brezza – which secured four stars – no Maruti car or SUV has secured a rating higher than three stars in Global NCAP’s tests, with the most recently-tested models – the Alto K10 and WagonR – receiving dismal ratings of two stars and one star, respectively. Up until recently, most vehicle manufacturers operating in the country did not build cars to specifically conform to Global NCAP requirements, but with the introduction of Bharat NCAP, it is more than likely other brands will follow suit and make ESC standard on all their models on sale in the time to come.
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