The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza doesn't need an introduction. However, the one here is a facelifted version of the compact SUV that was once the best-seller in its segment. Now along with cosmetic tweaks and the addition of a few features, this refreshed Brezza gets a BS6 1.5-litre petrol engine instead of the old BS4 1.3-litre diesel motor. Will this petrol-only model be able to retain the Brezza's popularity or better its charm? We find out at its first drive review in Goa.
This facelifted Brezza retains the squared-out proportions and boxy silhouette of the car that was launched four years ago. And even though the dimensions are the same as the outgoing Brezza, Maruti has tried to add value to the package with cosmetic upgrades and added features. Up front is a new grille with LED projector headlamps and bigger DRLs that double up as dynamic side indicators too. The chin is wide now and the bumper gets larger LED fog lamp housings. Besides the new 16-inch dual-tone alloys, not much has changed on the sides. The rear, however, looks better with a re-done bumper and LED tail lamps. Also new are three exterior dual-tone colour options including red-black, blue-black and grey-orange that add a fresh appeal.
The cabin is identical to its predecessors in terms of layout, fit and finish. It's still an all-black cabin with mesh pattern for the dash, piano black inserts around the air-con vents and silver embellishments around the central console. The major change, however, is that the seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system gets the brand’s latest Smartplay Studio 2.0 interface. It’s not only more vibrant to look at, but also more intuitive to operate.
Though a lighter beige/grey interior would have added to the ambience, this all-black one will be practical in the long run. Yet, there are a variety of accessories available to personalise the interior which boasts of good space, an ergonomic cabin, many storage slots including cup and bottle-holders and even comfortable seats. The latter get adorned in a new fabric pattern, while the boot space and 60-40-split flexibility remain unchanged. But, apart from the new SmartPlay system, there's now cruise control, automatic wipers and auto-dimming IRVM too. Safety kit remains unchanged with dual-airbags, ISOFIX seats, seatbelt reminder, speed-alarm, rear parking sensors and ABS with EBD, all being part of the standard package across trims.
A petrol model was missing from Brezza's variant line-up, and now a 105bhp/138Nm, 1.5-litre K15B petrol mill replaces the older Fiat-sourced diesel mill. This one is seen under the hood of the Ciaz, Ertiga and XL6 and gets a five-speed manual and four-speed automatic gearbox options. However, it’s the latter only that gets Suzuki's SHVS mild-hybrid tech unlike the afore-mentioned models. No wonder the Brezza’s petrol-manual has an ARAI-rated fuel efficiency of 17.03kmpl, while the petrol-automatic is rated at 18.76kmpl.
The engine fires up at the push of a button with hardly any noise or vibrations sent into the cabin. It’s silent at idling and Maruti has now improved the cabin insulation too. That said, the engine is audible post the 2,000rpm mark and gets vocal post 3,500rpm. But then it’s capable of pulling away in a higher gear and revs above 1,000rm. You will miss the torquey nature of the diesel, but this one is quite capable of getting the job done in the city. Then, with lighter yet rubbery shifts thanks to well-defined gates there’s hardly any effort in slotting the lever into place. Still, getting to triple digit speeds doesn’t feel the most quickest and there will be a need to work through the gears at times especially while overtaking. Otherwise, the throttle response is satisfactory and the light clutch with short travel will not create much of a fuss. But if you still need to give rest to your left leg, there’s the automatic version. Unfortunately we couldn't drive it this time, but our road test review later shall focus on how much convenience the clutch-less gearshifts add.
On the ride and handling bit, nothing has changed and the Brezza continues to impress on this front. The suspension set-up is nicely tuned to take bad roads in its stride with ease. It might not be able to flatten out things but will glide over them if at the right speed. Too slow, there will be some side-to-side movement and a little fast will send a thud inside the cabin. Yes, the suspension working can be felt and its noise can be heard on a harsh bump but not to the extent to make occupants uncomfortable. On a proper tarmac, it offers a nice flat ride with composure and stability. One can even confidently dart into a corner with confidence thanks to the predictable steering and good grip from the tyres. With close to 200mm ground clearance and 16-inch wheels one wouldn’t think twice before taking that bad patch of road, or a diversion or even a trail. It essentially takes on Indian road conditions like an SUV should and yet is easy to drive just like any small hatchback.
|Variant||Zxi+ Dual Tone|
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||103bhp@6000rpm|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||138Nm@4400rpm|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||48|
|Tyre size||215/60 R16|
|Dual airbags and ABS||Yes|
|16-inch dual-tone alloy wheels||Yes|
|Five-speed gearbox/ optional AT||Yes|
|LED tall lamps||Yes|
|Projector headlamps with LED DRLs||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||XZ+||Zxi+ Dual Tone|
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||118bhp @ 5500rpm||103bhp@6000rpm|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||170Nm @ 1,750rpm||138Nm@4400rpm|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||44||48|
|Tyre size||215/60 R16||215/60 R16|
Starting price of the Brezza has decreased by about Rs 29,000 as compared to the earlier entry-level Brezza. Meanwhile the top-spec is Rs 80,000 dearer now. It puts this top-end model at a higher price point than some of its rivals like the Hyundai Venue or Tata Nexon. But then, most rivals use a 1.0-litre/1.2-litre petrol engine, while the Brezza petrol uses a 1.5 litre BS-VI engine, which makes it ineligible for lower tax benefits. All said and done, the petrol Brezza still carries forward most of the positives of the diesel one and in fact improves and packs more equipment this time. It wouldn’t be difficult to recommend this compact SUV especially with a strong service and spares back-up from Maruti Suzuki.
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi