Maruti Ciaz Review: First Drive, Diesel – Cool Cat without claws
First Impression – Maruti Ciaz is nothing like the car it replaced, SX4. It is stylish, elegant, classy, premium, and all other synonymous adjectives Indian customers are looking for in any car these days. In current trend, to make a car fit the aforementioned bill, carmakers have found a formula that is cleverly applied on Ciaz as well, chrome coated detailing. Suzuki Alivio (Ciaz in China) has extra chrome trims near front and rear fog lamps and reflectors, perhaps Maruti spared it for later use (in possible Ciaz facelift). Another important aspect for Maruti Ciaz’s good looks is its form factor. It is the longest, widest car, and also has highest ground clearance in segment, which not only gives upmarket appeal, but also creates an impression that it has better value for money and spacious interiors. Equipment such as projector headlamps (on all variants), fog lamps, turn indicator embedded side mirrors, parking sensors and reverse camera instantly create an impression that Ciaz is locked and loaded, conforming to contemporary craze.
This is not the surprise, this is in fact the recipe for any competitive product. What stumbled us is its kerb weight. Maruti Ciaz weighs just 1,010 kg for petrol and 1,105 for diesel, which is 190 kg and 140 kg (respectively) less than Maruti SX4. To compare this with other models of the company, Maruti Swift and Dzire weigh 990 kg and 1080 kg respectively, resulting in a difference of just 20 kg and 25 kg excess in Ciaz. Maruti claims that this is a result of liberal use of high tensive steel across body panels for lighter and much durable shell, but the panels like bonnet and boot lid feel very flimsy, raising the concern for safety. Even few other parts and items show lack of strength and quality, one of them is a mat inside boot finished in a barbarian manner. Of course lighter vehicle will experience lesser force upon impact, and the chassis is built on Suzuki Total Effective Control Technology (STECT) to sustain collision, but, anyways, price justifies the package. On board safety equipment include dual (front) Airbags, seat belt pretensioners & force limiters, and ABS with EBD.
Interior of Maruti Ciaz is very pleasing and adds to the positivity of cabin aura. Blend of chrome, silver, faux wood, beige and black plastic accents, fabric and leather create a rich and luxurious environment in Maruti Ciaz. Here is a detailed review of interiors of Ciaz.
Performance & drivability – Maruti Ciaz draws 90 PS max. power @ 4,000 rpm and 200 Nm peak torque @ 1,750 rpm from 1.3 litre DDiS 200 diesel engine, also seen aboard the Ertiga MPV. But this engine has received tweaks that has enabled it to deliver 26.21 kmpl mileage on record, making Ciaz the most fuel efficient car in India. Not so surprisingly, Ciaz is noticeably underpowered. Immense turbolag until about 2,200 rpm makes it a quiet cat on road, but not so in the cabin. Engine is pretty harsh and sends good amount of growling noise to the passenger compartment, making us wonder if its a Maruti at all. Power delivery beyond log space up till around 4,000 rpm is decent, but revving that high is not a pleasant experience in Ciaz. With decent foot work, it returned 14.4 kmpl, which could be the average most will get in city.
Gear shifts are not very precise and they seem loose. Gear knob is placed too low and to add to the discomfort, driver arm rest is positioned far behind and high up, making it useful only for storage.
Ride quality too added to the list of surprises, but not in a gratifying way. Shocks are stiff and bad roads easily make a bad day in the car. Handling in the city too is not up to the mark, seems Maruti’s commendable expertise in small cars hasn’t evolved to making a good mid-size sedan yet, in terms of dynamics. At high speeds the car seems stable enough, we are yet to test it to its limits.
Another feature Maruti is good at tuning is steering, which is also surprisingly flawed in Ciaz. Feedback is irregular and turns are rubbery. What makes it more sad is that the steering wheel is kind of small (in the right sporty size) and is very ergonomic, which only makes us expect more from it.
When we were finally through and wanted to stop the car, we realised that brakes too try to surprise us with fewer number of teeth. There is no briskness in slowing down or stopping, and ABS kicks in quite prematurely.
Verdict – Ciaz is Maruti’s cool cat, as they promoted the car that way before launch, but this cat has no claws. Maruti Ciaz is a great value for money product if you’re looking for a car just to commute with just one full tank of fuel every month. For those who appreciate finer details and get involved in driving, Ciaz may not be the best option.
Price list of Maruti Ciaz in India:
Maruti Ciaz V – Rs. 6.99 lakhs
Maruti Ciaz V+ – Rs. 7.55 lakhs
?Maruti Ciaz Z – Rs. 8.24 lakhs
Maruti Ciaz Z+ – Rs. 8.59 lakhs
Maruti Ciaz V+AT – Rs. 8.65 lakhs
Maruti Ciaz Z AT – Rs. 9.34 lakhs
Maruti Ciaz V – Rs. 8.04 lakhs
Maruti Ciaz V+ – Rs. 8.63 lakhs
Maruti Ciaz Z – Rs. 9.45 lakhs
Maruti Ciaz Z+ – Rs. 9.80 lakhs
All prices are introductory, ex-showroom Delhi.
PS: Seat upholstery shown in images is not from factory, custom made by a dealer.