Ciaz: The next big thing from Maruti
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Bigger and better equipped than the Maruti Suzuki SX4, the Maruti Ciaz is a big step forward for the company. But is it good enough to take on the current segment blockbuster, the new Honda City, that has taken the market by storm with its combination of space, comfort, top-class features and performance?
The City is currently selling an average of 7,500 cars a month, replacing the earlier best-seller, Hyundai Verna, that currently averages 3,200 cars a month.
It certainly looks like an imposing target to meet. Stretching the tape at 4,490mm, this almost 4Km-long car is recognizable as a Suzuki because
of its slatted chrome grille. What makes the nose
attractive is the fact that the grille and headlights are placed low, and the superbly detailed projector headlights also look attractive. The Ciaz does, however, look plain in profile and the tail lights bear a striking resemblance to those of the Honda City.
But the Maruti’s SX4 replacement is one of the most spacious mid-size cars in its class. The front seats are large and accommodating, support for the driver’s back is good, and visibility is excellent. The feeling of space is even greater at the back. The rear seat has a huge amount of legroom and the airy feeling is enhanced by the large glass area and light interiors. But the rear seat, though comfortable, does feel a bit flat and hard.
Maruti, however, has worked hard to deliver a quality feel to the cabin. The strips of “faux” wood are well integrated into the dash and doors, the centre console is dominated by a large 7-inch touch screen with clear and easy-to-read fonts, and the fit is well executed. There is also plenty of storage space for bottles, phones and other odds and ends.
The petrol Ciaz is powered by Suzuki’s 1.4-litre K series engine that also powers the Ertiga. Ninety-one brake horsepower (bhp) may not seem to be enough for a car of this size, but the manner in which the engine responds allows the car to accelerate briskly. You also don’t feel a lack of power, even on the highway.
Those looking for outright performance, however, will be disappointed as the Ciaz lacks the raw pace of something like the Honda City.
The 89 bhp diesel may have less power, but Maruti has tuned it so well that it seems to
have almost as much grunt as the petrol. It does take a while to get going, but once you get past 1,800 rpm on the tachometer, power flows through thick and fast. There is a nice spike in power around 2,500 rpm and then the engine pulls all the way to 5,000 rpm; so the power band is actually quite wide.
What’s more, the Ciaz rides beautifully. The long wheelbase and supple springs allow the car to float over bad patches—this makes traversing our pockmarked roads much easier on the lower back. High-speed stability is good too, so travelling long distances on the highway is a pleasure. The Ciaz, however, is not a sporty drive and feels a bit uncomfortable if you hurl it into corners. There’s plenty of slack in the steering around the centre, and often it feels lifeless—not what you want if you want to enjoy driving fast.
With the Ciaz, Maruti delivers everything you would want from a large passenger car; plenty of space, a proliferation of features, sufficient performance and great value. The diesel is among the most efficient cars in the country, Maruti’s
after-sales support is second to none, and there is an automatic version available too. It may not be the fastest or the sportiest car to drive, but if you are looking for comfort, space and relaxed, effortless performance, this car is for you.
Maruti dealerships are now accepting bookings for the Ciaz. Prices are not announced but are expected to be in the Rs.7-10 lakh range.