Maruti Suzuki Ciaz Review
This brand has been a household name for three decades now. Their popularity spreads wide across different regions ranging from metropolitan cities to the far rural areas in India. Owning a Maruti car was once considered a status symbol. The iconic 800 which captured hearts of many lived for 30 strong years before gracefully retiring from production.
Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest car manufacturer has been producing cars for multiple numbers of years. Their success in small car and entry level sedans is second to none. Even with the entry of many international players, their dominance in different segments is unaffected. Alto, Swift and Swift DZire have ruled sales charts inspiring competition to follow.
The company enjoys a market share of 39.5% in the mid-sized sedan segment. Having tasted success in the entry level market, the company is all set to enter the premium sedan space with its all new Ciaz. We were in Jaipur to experience this new offering from Maruti Suzuki and here is our first impression report.
The Ciaz is Maruti Suzuki’s first shot at a premium sedan and keeping that in mind, it looks very impressive. If its rivals boast of sleek and edgy design, the Ciaz gets a more pronounced and muscular styling. The premium bits across the exterior profile are impressive.
Large, wide and sweeping back headlights with projectors are a standard feature across all variants. This is impressive as otherwise car makers generally choose to totally strip all features on the lower most variant. What we particularly liked about the headlights is the detailing done with chrome inserts. The wide radiator grille does not dominate the front face and has a subtle presence on the front fascia. The grille gets slats in chrome which does not look over the top and blends well. Front bumpers have fin like sections around the fog lamps.
Something which Maruti Suzuki endorses about the Ciaz is the fact that is the longest and widest saloon with the best in class aerodynamic styling. We don’t oppose it because the level of aerodynamics actually feels a lot better. Those 16’ alloys on the side earn a lot of brawny points because firstly it comes in a dull grey finish and secondly, it resembles those on Kizashi. Ignoring the fact that the Kizashi didn’t do great numbers, it was one of the best looking cars in its segment.
Longest in class means a greater section of metal flowing along its length. It is long indeed but not disproportionately odd. A strong shoulder line runs all along the length. The window panel gets a subtle chrome strip. Door handles too sport some bit of chrome. ORVMs have turn indicators embedded and retract on locking. The running board area has a strong characteristic line which climbs as it reaches the rear wheel fender.
It looks grand from rear quarter angle. Wide front and rear windshields are helpful while manoeuvring the car around tight corners. Large tail lamps flow from the side panel to the tail gate for better illumination. There is a chrome strip joining the rear lights. The boot lip has been designed to act as an integrated spoiler again contributing to the overall flowing aerodynamics of the Ciaz. Rear bumper has generous body work with large matte housings for rear reflectors.
It is a Maruti Suzuki car and thus comes with functional interiors as a given. In addition to making it feel practical, they have added modernity in the design which is a distinguishing factor.
If you have an image of this car resembling the interiors of other Maruti cars you are not completely wrong except for the fact that the Ciaz offers more premium feel to it. The beige and brown interiors feel good. They have chosen a clean layout of front dashboard and not messed it up with too much of lines flowing around. A glossy section runs across the width and also on the door trims giving the interiors a plush feel.
Instrumental panel gets a twin pod display with analog speedometer and tachometer. The scaling and digits on the cluster are lucid and clean. The multi information display at the centre displays average fuel consumption and trip distance settings. It looks similar to that on Volkswagen cars making it look really upmarket.
While the dashboard has been purposefully kept neat, the central panel gets a touch screen infotainment system. Maruti prefers calling it ‘SmartPlay’ and indeed it has smart features to offer. The touch screen unit is divided into four quadrants thus negating the need to keep searching for different options by clicking and shifting knobs. Presently, it offers navigation, Bluetooth telephony and audio controls.
The fourth quadrant has a smart phone link which will basically mirror the home screen of the phone paired. It is a cool feature as all the functions of a phone can be accessed using this screen. If you are in a hurry and want a quick access, there is a small star between all the quadrants which gives a snapshot of all controls together. This is a segment first feature and will prove useful to consumers.
There is a voice control system which can control telephony, browse tracks and also navigate. It also gets a USB, AUX-in, Bluetooth and SD Card reader. The fully loaded version will come with automatic climate control. Rear AC vents located between front seats channelize conditioned air from front and direct it to the rear passengers.
The well spread interiors justify the tag of the Ciaz being called the longest and the widest sedan in its class. One would get inside with a pre-image but then the plush interiors and the fit and finish totally wins over changing the conventional feel. Maruti offers space of unimaginable proportions inside the Ciaz giving its close rival Honda City tough competition. The rear seats have amazing shoulder room and headroom.
It gives enough liberty to even taller passengers to stretch their legs. I was at peace and great comfort on these seats. The rear seats could have done better with more under thigh support. Front seats too pack in as much space. Even with the front seats pushed back in the most comfortable position, there is still sizeable room left for rear passengers. This will be highly appreciated for the ones, who choose to be chauffeured around.
It feels plush and rich and offers smart storage options too like the central armrest area which has a storage area for mundane articles and a provision to hold a pen and cards. There is a small pocket on the front passenger seat which can be used to insert a phone. On the central console, there is a large storage area with cup holders. This area also gets a plastic lid cover which is a neat addition instead of keeping it bare open. Doors have provisions for holding a litre class container. It also offers a boot space of 510L.
Getting it look and feel right was one aspect but the main challenge lied in making the car drive right. The C+ segment has the City and the Verna as primary offerings by Honda and Hyundai respectively. There are others cars but these two rule the roost. Maruti did not wish to underplay this one and chose to take them by the horns. They used their VVT and DDiS engines for petrol and diesel variants. The petrol engine is the next generation K-tech powered unit which promises better performance whereas the DDiS engine has been tweaked to deliver an amazing mileage of 26.21 kmpl along with lower NVH levels.
We started with the DDiS200 diesel variant. This is a 1248cc engine producing 90PS of power and 200Nm of torque at 1750 rpm. The doubt of the same engine pulling a sedan of this size was obvious but it was just a matter of time before the engine swung into its comfort zone. To begin with, this engine is not noisy and has no vibrations of any sorts at idling. Torque comes into play just before 2000 rpm getting stronger subsequently. One might find a deficit at initial engine speeds however it reduces as the engine charges ahead.
More the size of the car, more is the metal used. The large dimensions don’t interfere with the handling of the Ciaz. The ride quality feels planted. Steering gets more active at higher speeds. Ride and handling can be treated as strong points of this business sedan. It feels a lot better than the Hyundai Verna and is in league with that of Honda City. Body roll is negligible as we tried twisting the car on tight turns. Even while overtaking, the feedback of the steering is balanced. It does not flick the car immediately nor does it lag in response. Company officials claim that the acceleration figures of the diesel are better than that of Honda City which is commendable.
Torque delivery and smooth gear shifts are the two attributes of the diesel which impressed us to the maximum. It is the only car with a 5 speed manual transmission whereas the other two sport a 6 speed unit. The reason for that is Maruti has chosen a smaller displacement engine which has been tuned to deliver a balanced performance.
The petrol idles like butter and is too tempting to redline. While at initial speeds, the K14 engine behaves decently; it is only when the needle reaches at its peak where the enthusiasm level is at its raw best. This 1372cc engine produces 92.45PS of power and 130Nm of torque at 4000 rpm. We loved the exhaust note getting throatier at peak engine speeds. Both these engines have been re-calibrated for the Ciaz thus negating the assumption of it being a mere shift and assemble job. The shifts needless to say were as smooth as its engine sound. It would prove great for short drives inside the city and also for the ones who prefer a calmer unit to drive.
And finally, guess who is back with the Kitna Deti hai tag? The same people who coined it. Maruti Suzuki will be silently and happily grinning at the competition as their moment of joy gets short-lived. The Ciaz is not just an efficient car but the most efficient compared to any other car sold in India. The diesel variant returns a bets in industry mileage of 26.21kmpl and the petrol delivers a mileage of 20.73kmpl, which is the best in class. We won’t be surprised if Maruti Suzuki pulls a quick one on their Ciaz TVCs endorsing the same.
|Price||To Be Announced||To Be Announced|
|Power in PS/RPM||90 / 4000||92.45 / 6000|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||200 / 1750||130 / 4000|
|Gears||5 MT||5 MT / 4 AT|
|Wheel base mm||2650||2650|
|Kerb Weight Kgs||1105||1010|
|Mileage Claimed Kmpl||26.21||20.73|
|Projector headlamps with Front Fog lamps||Yes|
|Rear AC Vents||Yes|
|Remote Boot Opeining||Yes|
|Push Start with Smart key||Yes|
|ABS with EBD||Yes|
|CD/USB/Aux-in and Data Card reader||Yes|
|Electrically adjustable ORVMs||Yes|
|Steering mounted controls||Yes|
|Touchscreen Infotainment System||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Price (Ex-Showroom Mumbai)||To be Announced||Rs. 1,160,020||Rs. 1,153,189|
|Power in PS/RPM||90 / 4000||99 / 3600||126 / 4000|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||200 / 1750||200 / 1750||260 / 1900|
|Gears||5MT||6 MT||6 MT|
|Wheel base mm||2650||2600||2570|
|Fuel tank capacity L||45||40||43|
|Tyre Spec||195 / 55 R16||175 / 65 R14||195 / 55 R16|
|Mileage Claimed Kmpl||26.21||25.1||23.5|
Let’s be a tough critic and look at all the aspects in a more detailed manner. Maruti Suzuki has worked on the math and made sure this one feels far more superior to their earlier offering the SX4 which was liked for its ride quality. The Ciaz too carries the same DNA of being a great to drive car. There have been significant improvements on both the power mills. Diesel scores more in giving a meaty response while the petrol wins over with its smoothness.
In terms of design, it has many European cues especially the larger track sections. It looks impressive and gives tough competition to its rivals. Some might also relate the design of the Ciaz to that of Kizashi. Like I said earlier, except for its sales figures, the Kizashi was a brilliant car. Maruti’s card of choosing a bolder, larger and a more expressive design for this sedan will work in its favour. Interiors have been designed to feel plusher and the spacious cabin to feel roomier than other cars. The rear legroom deserves a special mention as it is the best in class.
What works for Maruti Suzuki? They have a brand presence spread wide across the country and to support that is their vast dealership network. There have been many loyal Maruti customers and thus it won’t take much effort to convince them. The Ciaz will definitely attract younger customers and will be readily accepted by many solely on the basis of it being an impressive package. Also, they have a strong market share in hatchbacks and entry level sedans and thus the Ciaz will be a perfect upgrade for them. This will help retain existing customers who otherwise chose different brands due to lack of option.
What Maruti Suzuki needs to work on? They have got the product right and now they need to promote it well. They have already started pitching it in league with other premium sedans in their advertisements. The dealerships need to have a more premium approach while dealing with Ciaz customers. Lastly, pricing the Ciaz right will play a deciding role. They have never gone wrong with pricing and we hope with this, they will maintain that image. The Ciaz has already roped in 3000 bookings in 3 days and also registered 12000 enquiries so far. It won’t be exaggeration to say Maruti Suzuki is all set to create a storm in the premium sedan space and increase its dominance in higher segments as well.