Maruti Suzuki’s highlight at the 2010 Auto Expo in Delhi was the R3 Concept – an insight into Maruti Suzuki’s plans of entering the MPV market. The MPV segment has had a slow start in India but in the last few years the segment has been heating up at a considerable pace. So it doesn’t come in as a surprise that the R3 won’t stay at it’s concept stage for long. If reports are to be believed, the first working prototype could be ready by the end of October when it will commence testing. Some reports are also suggesting that the Volkswagen Group might get involved at the early stages of the R3’s development too since the group is interested in introducing India-specific MPVs under some of their brands like Skoda & VW passenger vehicles. With the first prototype rolling out in October 2010, the R3 will undergo rigorous testing throughout 2011 and is expected to make its public once again at the Auto Expo (2012).
The R3 MPV is said to be based on a modified Suzuki SX-4 platform. The R3 could hence use re-tuned versions of the 1.6-litre petrol engine from the SX-4 or a 1.3-litre VGT induction diesel mill from the FIAT Linea. VW could also lend an engine option or two from its 2011/12 line-up. The R3 will be a tad smaller the Toyota Innova and cheaper too. Sources close to Maruti Suzuki are saying that the target price range for the R3 MPV line-up is between Rs. 6.5-lakh to 9.5 lakh – which is quite competitive if they offer a variety of creature comforts and gadgetry alongside the seating capacity for seven people.