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Comparison Test: Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza Vs Ford EcoSport

  • May 05, 2016
  • 17719 Views
Brezza vs EcoSport 2

While some of you may detest the fact that some of the best cars in the world don't make it our shores, you can take solace in the fact this country has help create some of the most unique cars you can find anywhere in the world. The Indian government's mandate on sub-four metre cars has created segments - ranging from hatchbacks to crossovers. The latest to join this unique breed of vehicles is the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza - the company claims that this is a sporty crossover that has unparalleled levels of performance, style, comfort and equipment. The Vitara Brezza enroaches into a segment where the Ford EcoSport has been king for a long time. The EcoSport received some upgrades a few months back and is not going to bow down to the new kid on the block too easily.  The variants on test were the Vitara Brezza ZDi+ with the optional dual-tone paint (Rs. 11.7 lakh, on-road Delhi) and the EcoSport Titanium+ TDCi (Rs. 11.37 lakh, on-road Delhi).

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The Vitara Brezza does have age on its side, the EcoSport is now more than 4 years old - this not to say that it looks commonplace. The subtle facelift that the EcoSport received in October 2015 does give it a familiar but improved look - but the all-new Vitara Brezza trumps it thanks to its youthful design.

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While the EcoSport seems more like a SUV thanks to its muscular lines and the tail-gate mounted spare wheel, the Brezza has more flair with its projector headlamps, larger and fancier alloy wheels and has better overall proportions. The EcoSport gets new guide-lights and new DRLs (which are part of the fog lamps and tend to confuse other road users) as part of the refresh, the Brezza is an all-new design which is accentuated thanks to a dual-tone paint job.

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The EcoSport and Brezza get all-black interiors - while the EcoSport gets a livelier cabin thanks to the silver highlights, the Brezza makes do with piano black inserts and brushed-aluminium highlights.

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The Vitara Brezza's exterior design flair does not translate to the inside, the cabin looks a tad less exciting than the EcoSport. While features like the 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, instrument cluster mood lighting, driver multi-information display etc. look more upmarket than the EcoSport, the cost cutting around the cabin is laid bare to see. The plastic quality is not that great, the door panels feel hollow and flex very easily, the roof-lining too seems to be made of just a fabric cover - these are some of the many examples which make the experience inside the Brezza not feel so great.

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The Vitara Brezza has more comfortable front seats of the two, with better back-, thigh- and side-support than the seats on the EcoSport. The cabin of the Brezza is more spacious and thus the rear passengers will not face any issues in terms of leg-room, knee-room and head-room but shoulder room is definitely at par with the EcoSport - the firm seat material at the back also does not help long-distance travel comfort for the rear passengers. The 60:40 split rear seats which can also be folded forward add to the practicality of the Vitara Brezza.

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The EcoSport's interior looks better than the Vitara Brezza's though plastic quality is only slightly better than the latter - overall touch and feel of the different materials used inside seem to be better than the Vitara though. The facelift has received a better SYNC screen (no multimedia touch screen here like the Brezza) which is easier to read even under harsh sunlight. The instrument cluster looks fancier, the butterfly-wing like dials have more character - though the DIS is a tad too small and less informative than the one on the Vitara Brezza.

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The seats of the EcoSport, whether they be at the front or the back, provide better support and are more comfortable than the ones on the Vitara Brezza - the rear passenger leg- and knee-room on the EcoSport is also better than on the Vitara Brezza though it can only seat two people side-by-side comfortably. The driver seat can be adjusted for height, just like the Vitara Brezza - but the Ford has manual lumbar support adjust and rake-and-reach adjustable steering which helps finding a comfortable seating posture easier. The rear seats on the EcoSport can be reclined, a feature that will be appreciated by many people. The rear seats split in 60:40 ratio and be tumbled forward to release a massive 705-litres of storage space.

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Maruti has a had a reputation for building cars which are ergonomically sound, but the Vitara Brezza does not fall in the same category. The centre armrests for both the front and rear passengers are not adequately padded, the driver-side power-window does not have an auto-up function, the controls for adjusting the electrically-adjustable and folding ORVMs are confusingly placed and a tad hard to operate - and the steering is only adjustable for rake. A glaring design/testing failure is the fact that closing doors properly can be difficult at first try because of the way the inner handles on the door-pads are designed. Visibility is good for all passengers in the Vitara Brezza, though the ORVMs on the Vitara could have better horizontal range.

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The EcoSport feels better though out in this regard at first glance, the door-pads feature soft-padding for passengers to rest their elbows, the steering wheels adjusts for both rake and reach, the front centre armrest is better placed etc. But the cabin is not without faults, the placement of the cup- and bottle-holders on the centre console clash with the centre armrest. The bottle holder cannot be used if the centre armrest is in place, while accessing the cup-holders forces you to bend in weird postures. Also, the opening of the rear hatch is all wrong, it should been hinged on the right side for easier and safer access of the luggage compartment. Visibility out of the EcoSport is hampered by the thick pillars, the EcoSport's dashboard is very reflective - becoming almost blinding during harsh light conditions.

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza Interior Centre-Console

In terms of equipment, both the compact-SUVs are more or less matched. Maruti's features look fancier - the 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay has a premium look to it, but operating the touch screen can be an issue on the move - even the steering mounted controls will not help you operate the system that easily. The Ford's SYNC system is easier to use on the move, but looks downmarket.

Ford EcoSport Interior Multimedia Screen

Keyless entry and go are offered on both the cars, the Brezza gets a reversing camera (with the multimedia screen doubling up as the reverse camera display) while the EcoSport has to make do with reverse-sensors only. The EcoSport scores more points on safety though - it has 6 airbags on offer and also has an emergency response function. While the Brezza is offered with ABS and EBD, it offers only two airbags.

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza Engine Bay

The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza is only offered with a single engine - the very familiar Fiat-sourced, 1.3-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged MultiJet motor - badged the DDiS200. Official stats for the engine are 90PS of max power and 200Nm of max torque. While the stats state that the engine develops maximum torque at 1,750rpm - you feel the effects of the same only close to 2,000rpm. Do not confuse this delay in torque with turbo-lag though, the VGT works its magic but there is simply no torque available from the engine below 2,000rpm. Once the stars align though the Brezza picks up pace quickly - the sure-shifting gearbox and its comparatively lighter weight certainly helps. NVH is something that Maruti should have given attention to in the Vitara Brezza, we feel. The engine clatter is noticeable at idle, though the vibrations are well under control - rev beyond 2,500rpm though and you'd need loud music to drown out the engine noise.

Ford EcoSport Engine Bay

The Ford EcoSpot is powered by a slightly bigger 1.5-litre TDCi 4-cylinder turbocharged diesel motor that develops 100PS of max power and 205Nm of peak torque. The motor is more responsive to throttle input and the gearshift is slick too, but does not accelerate as fast as the Brezza thanks to the added weight. The engine and road-noise creeping into the cabin is minimal, though the engine vibrations can be felt through the clutch pedal and the gear-stalk. Unlike the Vitara Brezza, the Ford seems to be able to develop the torque at lower speeds - allowing you to creep in a higher gear than usual and removing the need to constantly shift gears.

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza Front Left Quarter Dynamic

In terms of ride-comfort and dynamics, the Vitara Brezza has a mixed setup. The suspension has been stiffened to compensate for the taller centre-of-gravity - this means that the compact-SUV tends to skip over bumps at lower speeds. This is highly uncomfortable for passengers sitting in the back - the ride smooths out considerably when weight over the rear axle increases. High speed stability and cornering ability of the Vitara Brezza is commendable though, the quick-steering and fatter tyres (215mm section 16-inch units) also improve the driving dynamics.

Ford EcoSport Front Left Quarter Dynamic

The EcoSport has a much better ride as compared to the Vitara Brezza - be it at low speeds or at high speeds. The driving dynamics is also better thanks to a lower centre-of-gravity - the engine is placed much lower in the EcoSport than the Vitara Brezza. Steering feedback, throttle response, brake feel and overall driving experience in the Ford is much more involving. The EcoSport's steering weighs up much better with speed, both the cars use electrically assisted steering units.

On paper, the Vitara Brezza trumps the EcoSport in terms of fuel-efficiency - it returns 24.3kmpl as per ARAI as compared to the latters 22.7kmpl. In real life though, both the cars were delivering figures closer to 18-19kmpl after a proper day of testing - while the Vitara Brezza returns better efficiency in the city, the EcoSport's larger motor and taller gearing helps it claw back the advantage on the highway.

Brezza vs EcoSport 1

After an extensive test, it is tough to decide between the Vitara Brezza and the EcoSport. Both these compact-SUVs can be bought for entirely differeBoth cars are equally matched, have similar credentials but still are quite different from each other. Where the Brezza goes for a more youthful design and appeal, the EcoSport has stuck to its guns of being a compact yet utilitarian vehicle. And where Brezza offers more convenience features, the Ford is inclined more towards safety (two airbags vs six on the Ford) In addition, a combination of driving dynamics coupled with features like the SYNC system with emergency assistance, six airbags, more space, reclining rear bench, foldable seats and affordability make the EcoSport a tough to beat package. Ford is also completely revamping its after sales service which helps the EcoSport make a strong case for itself even stronger than the Brezza.
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