Maruti Ciaz Expert Review

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Introduction

While the car it replaces (the SX4) did reasonably well initially, it lost out a chunk of its sales to the (then new) Hyundai Verna. The SX4 looked dated when compared to its competition, but with the Ciaz - Maruti wants to start afresh. Aimed at the fiercely contested C-segment, the Ciaz gets all the bells and whistles one demands from a 10 lakh rupee car. Moreover, it is amongst the most fuel efficient vehicles in its class. Maruti believes the Ciaz has what it takes to take a bite out of the Honda City’s pie.

Pros
  • Well equipped for the price. Projector headlamps, 7' Touchscreen, leather seats - the lot!
  • Massive 510-litre boot.
  • Value for money. Competitively priced against its rivals.
  • Fuel efficiency. Diesel hybrid variant is among the most fuel efficient cars in India @ 28.09kmpl.
  • Generous cabin space. Legroom and shoulder-room amongst the best in the segment.
Cons
  • Both engines offer average performance. Nothing to please the enthusiast.
  • Few switches and knobs shared with the Swift/Celerio. Takes away from the premium ambience.
  • Diesel automatic missing from the lineup.

Stand Out Features

  • SHVS (Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki) - a mild hybrid system is a segment first. Makes the claimed mileage figure possible.

    SHVS (Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki) - a mild hybrid system is a segment first. Makes the claimed mileage figure possible.

  • Smartphone like interface on the touchscreen infotainment system. Very easy and intuitive to use.

    Smartphone like interface on the touchscreen infotainment system. Very easy and intuitive to use.

CarDekho Verdict

Maruti Suzuki has played its cards safe, be it with regards to design, the choice of engines or the features on offer.

"The aggressive pricing is the icing on the cake."

Pick the Ciaz if you need nothing else but a comfortable, value for money sedan. 

Background & Evolution

The Ciaz replaces the SX4 in the Maruti portfolio. However, it shares no traits other than the diesel engine with the outgoing sedan. The Ciaz is an all new product for Maruti, built from the ground up. The Ciaz diesel got Suzuki’s acclaimed SHVS technology in late 2015. Also, to spice things up, Maruti offers a sporty ‘RS’ bodykit with the sedan as well.

Exterior

The Ciaz is based on Suzuki's ‘Authentics’ concept that debuted at the Shanghai Motor Show in 2013. The basic form remains true to the concept, carrying over traits like the flared bonnet, subtle integrated lip on the boot and dollops of chrome to accentuate the finer details. 

The Maruti is amongst the biggest cars in its segment with a generous length and width. The long 2650mm wheelbase is the highest in its class too. The generous proportions on the outside reflect on the cabin space. 

Exterior Comparison

Maruti CiazHonda CityHyundai Verna
Length (mm)449044404375
Width (mm)173016951700
Height (mm)148514951475
Ground Clearance (mm)170165165
Wheel Base (mm)265026002570
Kerb Weight (kg)11351165-
 

The first things to grab your attention are the swept back projector headlamps. They do their bit in lending some aggression to the face. A four slat chrome grille takes centre stage and flows into the massive bonnet. Another interesting design element can be seen in the lower half of the bumper. The foglamp housing and the airdam appear to be a single unit, courtesy the clever design. 

Our favorite bit however, has to be the wheels.

Over to the side, one sharp line emanates from the front quarter panel and vanishes into the protruding tip of the taillamp. The crease looks classy and adds a bit of flair to the side profile. Our favorite bit however, has to be the wheels. While most of the competition wear 15-inch wheels, the Ciaz goes one up with 16 inch rims. Moreover, they come finished in a delicious anthracite shade in the top-spec model and look fabulous to say the least.

The rear is dominated by the large tail-lamp that flows into the bootlid. The design is strikingly similar to that on the Honda City, including the thick strip of chrome that connects the two tail lamps. The bumper is large and houses four parking sensors. It also has a couple of black panels on the bumper that include a pair of reflectors.

The boot shares the top-spot with the Honda City at 510-litres. However, the mouth of the boot is higher off the ground when compared to the City.

 

It is safe to say that the Ciaz carries a neutral design. It isn’t snazzy and in your face like the Verna, nor is it subdued and understated like the Vento. It’s a nice blend of both that will appeal to a large set of buyers.

Interior

Unlike what we are used to with most Maruti products, the Ciaz has a truly roomy cabin. It isn’t only the exterior dimensions, but also details like the beige colored upholstery and the large windows that add to the feeling of space. The dash is a mix of black and light beige (all-black on RS variant), with faux wood inserts, dull-silver and chrome accents to highlight the finer details. The quality, fit and finish are without a doubt, a big departure from its predecessor. While it still doesn’t exude the solidity of the Germans, it is definitely on par with the Verna and a tad better than the City.

The layout of the dashboard is conventional and not to mention, clean. A 7” touchscreen infotainment system forms the bulk of the centre console. The unit goes a long way in reducing the clutter of buttons on the dash. Everything is operated via touch, unlike the Honda City which gets separate physical buttons for operating the infotainment system. The system can play media from a host of sources including radio, USB, AUX-in and it also gets Bluetooth compatibility for music streaming and calls. The cherry on top is the in-built navigation system powered by Nokia HERE.

The centre console has a nice ‘waterfall’ design; wherein the central touchscreen simply flows into the controls for the automatic climate control. The layout again, is simple and symmetric. We really like the finer details like the dull-silver around the border of the switches or on the knobs. It goes that extra mile in adding a premium touch to the cabin. We have no complaints with effectiveness of the air-con, it does its job perfectly well. You do get rear ac vents (just like in the City/Vento) and they help in getting the temperature of the cabin down relatively quickly. 

Storage spaces are well thought of. There’s plenty of storage space in front of the gear lever, the doors can house 1-litre bottles and the central armrest gets some storage space too. We like the little touches like the small cell-phone pocket on the side of the passenger seat, the sunglass holder and the little ticket holder on the passenger side sun visor.

The driver’s seat gets a healthy range for height-adjustment. While the seat supports most frames nicely, we feel that the cushioning could have been slightly softer. The side bolstering is thick and the seats ‘wrap around’ you. The height-adjustable seatbelts are a boon too, especially for shorter drivers. The adjustable seat coupled with the adjustable steering makes it fairly easy to find a comfortable driving position.

While the steering is adjustable for tilt, we wish it was adjustable for reach too (like the Volkswagen Vento). The steering appears to be a grown-up version of the one found on the Swift and gets controls for the audio system (Volume/Mute/Change Track/Mode) and calls as well. Oddly, all controls are placed on the left side of the steering wheel leaving a blank space on the right. The steering gets dabs of chrome too, which is a neat touch.

The instrument cluster is minimalistically styled and gets two large dials for the tachometer and the speedometer. Two smaller dials are tucked away at either end which house a temperature readout and the fuel gauge respectively. The MID is placed in the centre and reads out a host of information, including two trip meters, the outside temperature, average & real-time fuel economy and distance-to-empty. The white backlighting on the console looks classy, especially at night. 

The rear seat is set at a reclined angle, and won’t cause discomfort over long journeys. It scores very high in terms of legroom. For reference, a six footer can easily sit in the rear bench, with another six footer at the wheel. The central hump does not eat into a lot of space, seating three shouldn’t be much of an issue. That said, we certainly feel that the rear seat could do with a longer base. It simply fails to provide adequate under-thigh support. The benchmark here continues to remain the Honda City. The headrests on the Ciaz are fixed and soft. Taller passengers will find the headrests touching the base of the neck rather than supporting the head. Another negative here, which can be addressed by providing adjustable headrests like in the Hyundai Verna. The central armrest is a welcome addition, the height is just right. We particularly like the rear sunshades. 

The interior of the Ciaz is a nice place to be. They look classy and have the right amount of features mandated by the segment. Maruti could’ve taken it a notch higher by not sharing parts with cheaper cars or even offering a sunroof like the Honda City. However, these aren’t deal breakers in any manner. All things considered, we do feel the Ciaz’ cabin is amongst the best in the segment.

Performance

The Ciaz is offered with two engine options - a 1.4-litre petrol motor and the tried and tested 1.3-litre diesel. Both engines come mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. However, the petrol motor does get an optional 4-speed automatic.

Ciaz Diesel

The diesel engine on the Ciaz is the widely used, Fiat sourced 1.3-litre unit. However, unlike in the Swift or the Dzire, the power has been bumped up to 90PS, while torque goes up to 200Nm courtesy a different turbocharger. We definitely feel the Ciaz could do with a bigger and more powerful engine. In our opinion, the 1.6-litre motor from the S-Cross would’ve given the Ciaz better performance credentials. As of now, the engine feels lazy to get a move on. There is evident turbo lag right up to 1800rpm, after which power delivery is linear. The engine develops its peak torque at a lowly 1750rpm, which means you can leave it in higher gears in the city and it won’t complain. What remains the highlight on the diesel engine is the SHVS technology that makes it deliver its claimed mileage of 28.09kmpl.

SHVS is short for ‘Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki’. The system uses an Integrated Starter Generator (ISG). The ISG, replaces the standard alternator and also supplements the power of the engine. Two basic technologies function under SHVS i.e the start-stop system and brake energy regeneration. The start-stop shuts the engine down when you bring the car to a complete halt. It restarts the car when you press the clutch to shift into gear. The brake energy regeneration system feeds energy from deceleration back into the electrical system of the car. 

Performance Comparison (Diesel)

Honda CityHyundai VernaMaruti CiazHyundai Verna
Power98.6bhp@3600rpm88.7bhp@4000rpm88.5bhp@4000rpm126.2bhp@4000rpm
Torque (Nm)200Nm@1750rpm219.7Nm@1750-2750rpm200Nm@1750rpm259.9Nm@1900-2750rpm
Engine Displacement (cc)1498139612481582
TransmissionManualManualManualManual
Top Speed (kmph)175 Kmph162 Kmph190 kmph190 Kmph
0-100 Acceleration (sec)10 Seconds12.2 Seconds15 Seconds10.62 Seconds
Kerb Weight (kg)1150kg-1115kg-
Fuel Efficiency (ARAI)26.0kmpl24.8kmpl28.09kmpl23.9kmpl
Power Weight Ratio85.73913043478261 bhp/ton-79.37219730941703 bhp/ton-

Ciaz Petrol

The 1.4-litre K-Series engine is borrowed from the Ertiga MPV. What impressed us about the petrol engine, is the low end grunt. The engine feels smooth and builds revs cleanly without being vocal. In-city drivability is very good, there’s enough pulling power in the lower gears. The Ciaz does feel peppy and nimble within the confines of the city. However, take it out on the highway and the performance feels acceptable at best. It doesn’t have the sheer mid-range punch that the City i-VTEC or the Vento TSi have. One needs to be conservative with the Ciaz on the highways, planning overtakes well in advance.

Performance Comparison (Petrol)

Honda CityMaruti CiazHyundai VernaHyundai Verna
Power117.3bhp@6600rpm91.1bhp@6000rpm105.5bhp@6300rpm121.3bhp@6300rpm
Torque (Nm)145Nm@4600rpm130Nm@4000rpm135.3Nm@5000rpm154.9Nm@4200rpm
Engine Displacement (cc)1497137313961591
TransmissionManualManualManualManual
Top Speed (kmph)195 Kmph190 kmph171 Kmph196 Kmph
0-100 Acceleration (sec)10 Seconds14 Seconds10.5 Seconds10.5 Seconds
Kerb Weight (kg)1041kg1030kg--
Fuel Efficiency (ARAI)17.8kmpl20.73kmpl17.43kmpl17.01kmpl
Power Weight Ratio112.68011527377521 bhp/ton88.44660194174757 bhp/ton--

Ride and Handling

The steering on the Ciaz is nice and light. While it does weigh up nicely when the speeds climb, we would have loved slightly more feedback. It doesn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence at triple digit speeds as much as the Vento for example. That said, it isn’t as vague and nervous as the Hyundai Verna. The suspension is on the softer side, evidently tuned for comfort. It does a fine job of soaking up the bumps without letting them upset the cabin. At speed, it does tend to bounce around a bit, the ride is nowhere as flat as the Vento/Rapid. Flick the steering hard, and it does upset the Ciaz easily. If you need a car that responds to the enthusiast within you, look towards the Vento TSi or even the Honda City i-VTEC for that matter. The Ciaz is suited to a sober driving style.

Safety

Built on Suzuki’s Total Effective Control Technology (TECT), the Ciaz uses high tensile strength steel in key areas of the body. Features like ABS with EBD and dual airbags are available across all variants.

Variants

  • Petrol
Variants Features Price
VXi Front and Rear AC Vents, Infotainment System , Keyless Entry, 7.53 Lakh*
VXi Plus [ In adition to VXi ] Driver Airbag , ABS With EBD, Automatic Air Conditioning, [ Variant VXi price ] + 58,978 =  8.12 Lakh*
ZXi [ In adition to VXi Plus ] Dual Front Airbags, Reverse Parking Camera , Push Button Start/Stop System , [ Variant VXi Plus price ] + 65,530 =  8.78 Lakh*
AT VXi Plus [ In adition to ZXi ] Automatic Transmission, Automatic Air Conditioning, Driver Airbag , [ Variant ZXi price ] + 51,083 =  9.29 Lakh*
ZXi Plus [ In adition to AT VXi Plus ] Touch Screen Smart Play System, Navigation System, Voice Command, [ Variant AT VXi Plus price ] + 5,159 =  9.34 Lakh*
AT ZXi [ In adition to ZXi Plus ] Push Button Start/Stop System, Dual Front Airbags, Automatic Transmission, [ Variant ZXi Plus price ] + 60,371 =  9.94 Lakh*

In our opinion, the Z variant makes for the best buy. It has just the right amount of bells and whistles you’d need. However, you would lose out on some goodies like the leather seats and the touchscreen infotainment system.