Maruti-Suzuki will soon have a replacement for the much-loved Zen in the form of the first-generation MR Wagon

For over a decade we have loved the sassy and fulsome Zen. So when Maruti started toying around with the idea of replacing it with a new model, the task of pleasing traditional Zen lovers was certainly not an easy one.The new Zen is essentially the first-generation MR Wagon, a car that Suzuki recently stopped producing in Japan. Maruti perceived this as a great opportunity for India. With dies and tools available at a fraction of the cost of a new set, the replacement plan began to take serious shape. Originally, the MR Wagon debuted in 1999 at the Tokyo ``Motor Show as a concept and two years later made an appearance again as a production ready car. The new Zen is based around the same platform as the Wagon R and the Alto and integrating production of the car into Maruti's existing facilities and thus cutting costs has made it the ideal candidate to wear the old Zen's mantle in India. Even the wheelbase of the new Zen is the same as the Alto and Wagon R's and Maruti won't need to start from scratch as far as parts supply and vendor development is concerned. While the suspension is also going to be identical, the setup and tuning are going to see some changes and the car will come equipped with an electric power steering system, an absolute boon for city commuters. The Wagon R's 1061cc engine is expected to take on the responsibility of powering the car here. The new Zen will wear the same price tag as the old car, and will boast of interiors as spacious as the Wagon R's, with the possibility of split rear seats and flexible reclining rear backrests. With a new engine, fresh interiors and funky looks, the Zen is all set for an overhauling. Exploring similarities and dissimilarities between the new Zen and the yet to-be-launched Chevrolet Spark, (being its natural competitor), holds the promise of an interesting and worthwhile exercise in the days to come. Watch this space for more.