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Maruti Suzuki Ciaz: First Drive Review

  • Sep 09, 2014
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Maruti Suzuki Ciaz

Maruti has been very lucky since the start. Not only is it the god of small cars in the country, it also boasts of being the market leader since we can remember. However, when it comes to over Rs 8 lakh cars, Maruti’s charm begins to decrease. For example, the SX4, Kizashi and even the Grand Vitara barely made an impression. The downside of being the god of small cars is that a customer isn’t willing to spend a lot of money and buy an expensive “small car brand”.

Maruti Suzuki just ain’t gonna sit and watch. The company is very soon going to launch the replacement of SX4 in the market, the Ciaz. We all saw the car in the 2014 Auto Expo and loved the design. The story of the Ciaz just does not end at the design, it’s spacious, loaded with gadgets and now holds the crown of the most fuel efficient car of the country. Read on for more.

maruti-suzuki-ciaz-front

Looks

The Ciaz in flesh is very close to what we saw in the Auto Expo. So yes, it does look good. Maruti has styled the Ciaz very differently than its other models. It’s not outright breath-taking but it isn’t outdated too. The swept back projector headlamps are standard across the model range. The grille is smart and does not look overdone.

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Move to the side profile and this is where the Ciaz makes an impression. For starters it’s the longest car in its segment. With a total length of 4,490 mm and a wheelbase of 2,650 mm, the Ciaz is a good 50 mm longer than the segment leader Honda City. In fact, the sheer length of this car makes you feel that it does not belong to the C segment but a higher segment. The new 16” alloys add to the profile’s appeal.

Maruti Suzuki Ciaz Rear

The rear is the unimpressive bit. The tail lamps appear to be “inspired” by the Honda City. The chrome strip just below the Suzuki logo adds to the bling. The version that we have for the review is the ZDi+, which is the top spec in diesel.

maruti-suzuki-ciaz-boot

The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz boasts of a boot of 510 litres, among the biggest in the group and something that we Indians would surely love.

Length: 4,490 mm
Width: 1,730 mm
Height: 1,485 mm
Wheelbase: 2,650 mm
Ground Clearance: 170 mm
Boot Space: 510 litres
Turning radius: 5.4 meters

maruti-suzuki-ciaz-interior

Interiors

If the exterior design didn't make much of an impression on you then just step inside and you will change your mind. Maruti Suzuki has left no stone unturned to capture the hearts of the customer. The front dash layout is uncluttered and very rich. In fact, the quality of the plastics used is good and the overall layout is seamless. The finish is even, though you do find some bits in the door panel stitching which could do better. The wooden inserts blend very well and the cabin feels premium compared to other Marutis.

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The air conditioning vents are asymmetrical which looks good to us. Just below the center air con vents is an all-new touch screen music system. This infotainment system deserves a special mention. It is USB, Radio, SD Card, Aux-in, Ipod compatible. It duplicates as reverse parking camera display and satellite navigation system. It is also Bluetooth compatible. The infotainment system also plays videos through SD card and phone media connectivity. It has a smartphone linked feature too but this feature is not compatible with most smartphones.

The ZDi+ and ZXi+ version will also come with Voice Command. This feature is easy to use and understands the Indian accent well. Voice Command can be used to make calls, send SMS’ and even select music tracks by name/artist.

maruti-suzuki-ciaz-front-seat

The seats of the Ciaz are comfortable though the under thigh support is slightly weak. The driver seat gets a height adjust and there is more than enough space in the car. Every door comes with bottle holders and there are two cup holders in the front. Only the driver window is one touch up/down.

maruti-suzuki-ciaz-rear-seat

The space on the rear seat is the best in class. As you see in the picture above, the front row seats have been pushed back completely and still there is space to not just fit three adults but do so comfortably. Plus the flat floor adds to the comfort of the center passenger on the rear seat. The rear passengers get ac vents, one coat holder hook and reading light and also a first in segment manual sun blind.

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With the Ciaz Maruti has gone ahead and introduced some funky features too. For example, you can customize auto door lock setting and the illumination of the cabin and so on.

maruti-ciaz-front-3-quarter

Drive

Maruti Suzuki Ciaz will come with the 1.4 litre petrol motor which also powers the Ertiga and the 1.3 litre diesel unit that used to power the SX4. Maruti has done away with the 1.6 petrol motor with this new C segment car. What we drove on the Delhi-Jaipur highway is the 1.3 litre DDiS motor. Now we are familiar with this engine - 90 PS of power and 200 Nm of torque. However, in the Ciaz the engine behaves much maturely.

maruti-suzuki-ciaz-engine

The diesel Ciaz is not enthusiastic but it’s not even lethargic. The turbo lag below 1,800 rpm is much less and the car does not seem a drag in the first two gears. In fact, there is sufficient power to keep you going in city traffic. Once the turbo kicks in the Ciaz feels much happier. It isn’t a car that gives you an adrenaline rush as soon as the turbo kicks in but it’s not the car that makes you feel like a drag. Power delivery is sufficient at all gears and regular shift from the third to the second in the city is something that you will not need to do in the Ciaz. As compared to say the Honda City diesel, the Ciaz also feels quieter.

The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz is mature and is also fuel efficient. This sedan from Maruti is now the most fuel efficient car int he country with a promised economy of 26.21 km/litre for the diesel and 20.73 km/litre for the 1.4 petrol motor. Maruti will also be offering an automatic with the petrol engine but we haven’t driven it yet.

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Ride and Handling

The ride quality of the Ciaz is another highlight of the car. The suspension set up is a bit on the softer side and at lower speeds the Ciaz takes bumps with ease without disturbing the comfort of the passengers. At higher speeds the ride gets a little bumpy and there is horizontal movement. Overall the suspension works well and is comfortable even when going full house, something that a typical Indian family would love. The Delhi-Jaipur highway is straight and a good highway and hence we didn’t really get to test the suspension on broken road surfaces.

Frankly put, the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz is not a great handler. It isn’t very confident around high speed corners either. The steering unit is well weighted but isn’t very precise. That said, its light and works well for city manoeuvres. Around sharp and tight corners the Ciaz needs more effort. The car is most comfortable in straight lines though.

maruti-suzuki-ciaz-front-static

To Buy or not to buy?

This is the key question. To buy or not to buy.

All cars in this segment have their own USP.
Honda City is the segment leader and is doing phenomenally well because it is fuel efficient and enjoys Honda’s brand value. Hyundai Verna is famous for it’s styling and features. The 2014 VW Vento is a few days away from being launched and is an outright driver’s car. The Ford Fiesta is the best in the segment when it comes to handling and driving pleasure. The underdog of the segment, Fiat Linea has a value for money tag. The Nissan Sunny is comfortable and spacious and the same goes for the Renault Scala. And the Skoda Rapid is known for its massive discounts. In this crowded market, the Maruti Ciaz has to find a place for itself. Pricing, we believe, will play a key role in to buy or not to buy. Maruti will launch the car October 1st and we feel it will undercut the City and Verna by around Rs 25-35000 quite comfortably.

maruti-ciaz-rear-three-quarter

The character of the Ciaz is very specific. The Ciaz is not a car for everyone. If you are looking for a comfortable, spacious, fuel efficient sedan then Yes, to buy. Coming from the Maruti stable, it is a problem-free car. But, if you are looking for a car that drives well and keeps you engaged at all times then this might not be the car for you. As a standalone product, it’s a huge leap forward as compared to the SX4. It does what most buyers want and at the end of the day, this is what each Maruti car in India stands for.
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