The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz was launched in October 2014 as a contender in the mid-size sedan segment. It came as a replacement to the SX4 sedan, which failed to generate volumes for the carmaker. Thankfully, the Ciaz has now changed the course for Maruti Suzuki with its introduction as a premium yet affordable product. Its sales grew in a short span of time and the Ciaz is still enjoying a good demand in our country.
While we all have heard and read about the petrol and diesel variants of the car, not much has been said about the automatic variant of this sedan. Since not many motor journalists have reviewed this version, we took this automatic car out for a quick spin to tell you how it drives.
There is no difference between the automatic variant and the regular sedan. The carmaker has followed a simple conventional styling unlike the trending fluidic design in recent cars. It’s a big sedan and satisfies the Indian consumer’s ‘bada-hai-toh-behtar-hai’ demand. The use of chrome overall is adequately and tastefully done. No dramatic cuts or creases make it a very simple, but good looking car. Some might find this boring, but it is decent enough for a buyer in the market for a classy looking car exuding elegance.
Apart from the different gear-lever, the cabin of the Ciaz remains similar to the manual variant, following the simple yet pleasant styling. Thanks to the 2,650mm wheelbase, the longest in the C-segment, this sedan is very spacious. The front seats are placed slightly high, but are comfortable and provide adequate support. There is plenty legroom and sufficient headroom in the rear seats too. The beige-black interior and large glass area only add to make the cabin feel roomier.
All the comfort, entertainment and convenience features seen on the top-of-the-line variant are on par with the competition. Since the AT variant only comes in VXi+,ZXi and the recently introduced ZXi+ variant, consumers are assured of safety features like airbags, ABS with EBD, fog lamps, engine immobilizer and rear defogger. The reverse camera on the higher variants provides a good view and also have guides to park in a tight spot easily.
The Ciaz automatic variant is powered by the same 1.4-litre K14B VVT mill from the manual variant. And with power figures of 92bhp at 6,000rpm and 130Nm of torque at 4,000rpm, it was never considered as a powerful car. The overall low weight helps, but here in this variant, the conventional automatic torque-converter gearbox comes to the rescue. It makes the torque more usable at low speeds. Especially the delivery of torque in the low and mid-range aids in a relaxed city ride. The higher band of the rev range isn’t impressive and so when you take the Ciaz on the highway you are bound to work the engine harder. Nevertheless, the engine noise is low, unless the accelerator is abruptly floored.
Coming back to the gearbox, the gear shifts are smooth and do not feel jerky in either the 'D' or 'OD' mode. The car takes a while to gain momentum in the drive mode, but does it calmly without any strain to the engine. The gearbox shifts to the higher gears at around 3,000rpm in both modes. In the drive mode the needle on the tachometer falls to lower rpms while downshifting, but holds on to higher rpms in the 'OD' mode. This helps when you have to move at a brisk pace particularly with more than two people on board.
The Ciaz offers a comfortable ride as the suspension setup is soft enough to soak in all the bumps and undulations. The 170mm of ground clearance helps in tackling bad roads and there is hardly any thud audible in the cabin at slow speeds. The steering is light making it very useful to ride within the city, however, it could have been better with a sharper feedback. Nevertheless, the car handles well even around corners and retains its composure during braking. The brakes have enough bite and the pedal offers a decent feel and feedback.
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||91bhp @ 6,000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||130Nm @ 4,000|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||43|
|Tyre size||185/65 R15|
|ABS with EBD||Yes|
|Automatic Climate Control||Yes|
|Keyless entry and Button Start||Yes|
|Reversing camera with guidance||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||ZXi AT||SV CVT|
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||91bhp @ 6,000||117bhp @ 6,600|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||130Nm @ 4,000||145Nm @ 4,600|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||43||40|
|Tyre size||185/65 R15||175/65 R15|
Irritated by driving in the traffic? This Ciaz automatic surely adds to the convenience with clutchless gear shifts. It might even look dearer than the manual version as this four-speed automatic gearbox is an old unit. In comparison, the competitors have moved up with better gearboxes. The Honda City gets a five-speed CVT transmission and the VW Vento - the renowned seven-speed DSG gearbox. But, then at Rs 9.02 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), the Ciaz is a good overall package for a premium automatic car. And, of course, Maruti Suzuki’s reliable after-sales service adds to this proposition.
Photo Courtesy By : Kapil Angane