Maruti Udyog has launched an updated version of the Esteem, a saloon based on the late 1980s Suzuki Swift. The Esteem is Maruti's contender in the sub-compact segment in India and has been facing rough weather for the last three years as newer rivals have diminished its market share.

The new Maruti Esteem styling is largely based on the Chang'an-Suzuki Antelope / Lingyang Ok series, the Chinese version of the Swift. Styling changes are evolutionary and the company has tried to stay faithful to the original Esteem look. That the new styling is borrowed from the Chang'an, to keep designing and tooling costs low, is another factor that has kept the new look evolutionary than revolutionary. Changes are limited to the front and rear lamps, bumpers and the addition of a spoiler.

Keeping refreshing cost low was an important factor for the company, as Maruti does not sell many Esteems. Last year, sales reached 10,800 units and the new look is expected to keep the car ticking along for a couple of years more, till a replacement is introduced.

Along with the refresh, Maruti has also reduced prices. The base LX version is now priced at INR 425,000 (€7,700) compared to INR 467,000 (€8,500) for the outgoing model. Similarly the outgoing top-of-the-line VX model was priced at INR 540,000 (Euro 9,850) compared to the new VX, which comes at INR 490,000 (€8,950). The new Esteem is also available in diesel, powered by Peugeot TUD 5 engines that Maruti imports, but no price reductions have been made for the diesel version.

Deepesh Rathore / Tilak Swarup