Some cars don’t need an introduction. One such car is the Maruti Suzuki Omni which is popularly known as the Kidnapper’s van. This car was the nightmare of every child as it was used as a kidnapper’s van in many movies and in many instances in real life as well. Maruti Suzuki Omni has been in the market since 1984 and has been ruling the microbus sector for quite some time. Here is an insight into the versatile Kidnapper’s van.
It was one of the most adaptable cars to hit the Indian roads and won over 15 million satisfied customers’ hearts. It had originally started as Suzuki Carry and was eventually renamed the Maruti Suzuki Omni and was even rebadged. The car’s static design was ideal for the dynamic environment for the 90s’. Nevertheless, this car bought immense joy to a lot of people. The design was basic, all the way to the mechanical components, and has remained unaltered. The initial versions were pretty basic as well, the dashboard lacked a fan blower opening. The Omni was an economically feasible option and used for various purposes such as ambulance – the Omni E, which got immediate attention, and the LPG taxis.
The first-ever Maruti had released in 1984 post the launch of the iconic Maruti 800. The engine was the same as Maruti 800’s, the 796 CC incline-three engine. The motor had a peak torque that produced about 38bhp and 62Nm. The also had a 4-speed manual transmission since the van never went through engine change. Its prominent feature was the sliding doors. During the earlier days, the microbus was just called the ‘Van’ and it was only later in 1988 the name was changed to ‘Omni’. Almost after a decade, the Omni got its first facelift in 1998.
Maruti Szuki Omni E: 1st Facelift
The first facelift released the ‘Omni E’, which was an 8-seater microbus. The facelift had some cosmetic changes such as a change in the headlights which were earlier black grilled and round with a squared model. The exterior was the one that got major changes while the mechanical components remained the same. The engine remained the same except instead of a carburettor, the new variant had an EFI system. The van also got space for a stereo system and a fuel gauge. The later variant even had an extended roof in order to enhance the interior space. This van excelled both as a family commuter or the cargo commuter. With these alterations, this was considered the most economic van in India and it was also easier to customize the older variants as well.
Omni 2nd Facelift
The 2nd facelift was in the year 2004, as the growing population demanded more cargo space. The rear seats, which were present in the first facelift was removed in order to accommodate more space for cargo. The following year, little improvements were made to the exteriors and the interiors of the car. There was also the availability of different colours of the variant as well. The version stuck similar to the version first released in 1984.
Omni though presently discontinued, remains to be an exemplary part of the Indian Automotive History, which has acquired a place amongst the top 10 best-selling cars from Maruti Suzuki, that has remained consistent for almost 3 decades.
The Baton-Carrier: Versa and Eeco
Its forthcoming variants, which was totally a revamped version of the prevalent Omni are the Maruti Suzuki Versa, and Maruti Suzuki Eeco. Post Omni serving its years in the market, Versa entered the market aiming at a more premium standard but failed to meet demands due to the same. Hence Maruti launched the Versa with a new name, Eeco.
Maruti Suzuki wanted the same or even better market growth as it sold Omni. Hence with the launch of Eeco, came with more safety features compared to The Versa which was desirable by many people. Eeco has ranked as the most sold vehicle on India’s Top 5 most sold vehicle’s list as it is extensively used for various services such as couriers, cargos, etc. Since the Eeco was launched in the CNG version, it is more suitable as it cuts down running costs.
Thus Omni’s successor, the Eeco has gained significant popularity due to its excellent mileage, comfort, and power system at low running costs. It is also popular for its multi-purpose use and its distinct nature has made it an ideal vehicle in India.