Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara vs Brezza: 4 Reasons Why It's An Upgrade And 4 Reasons Why It Isn't
There’s more shared between the two SUVs than just the platform
Maruti Suzuki recently invited us to their massive research and development centre in Rohtak, Haryana. While all we expected was a guided tour and some knowledge-sharing, we were fortunate enough to also drive the Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara through portions of the facility’s test track.
Of course, a few minutes at a purpose-built test track can’t qualify as a review, but we’ve now got a clearer picture of what the Grand Vitara is doing better than the Brezza, and where it won’t necessarily feel like an upgrade.
4 Reasons Why It’s An Upgrade
The Grand Vitara is obviously a bigger car, but courtesy of its design, it has more road presence and it looks more sophisticated too. A key advantage over the Brezza is the Grand Vitara’s more universally appealing design, and how it just looks better proportioned.
The Grand Vitara’s plastic quality feels better as does the quality of its fitments. The generous use of leatherette padding across the cabin, down to the door handle surrounds, shows far more attention to detail and there is a notable step up here.
The Brezza itself is one of the most spacious sub-compact SUVs, so any improvement over that is welcome. There is more knee room available in the Grand Vitara and four tall occupants won’t just fit, but lounge in here with ease. In fact, the front row offers enough space (headroom included) for your six-foot, five-inch correspondent as well! Nevertheless, there’s a catch, but we’ll get to that later.
Even the dashboard’s contouring is well suited for tall drivers, so you won’t find yourself brushing your knee against the centre console. Notably, the seats are large and comfortable for those with hefty builds as well.
The Grand Vitara’s claimed fuel-efficiency figure of nearly 28kmpl will be a major selling point, especially for those who miss Maruti diesels. In city circuits, the car is quick to switch into pure EV mode and reduce engine use.
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The Grand Vitara hybrid should be a serious consideration for you if you need an efficient city commuter. However, based on our track experience and previous hybrid car tests, the efficiency advantage is minimal at 80-100kmph (highway speeds), especially when you have to slow down and speed up due to fluctuating traffic conditions.
4 Reasons Why It’s Not An Upgrade
We experienced multiple versions of the Grand Vitara, including the petrol automatic/manual and the strong-hybrid. While all versions will satiate your daily driving needs, none of them offer more punch or excitement than the Brezza. Relative to the turbo-petrols/diesels that the Grand Vitara’s competitors offer, Maruti has played it safe by offering powertrains that’ll certainly deliver a smooth and comfortable driving experience but not much to brag about.
Otherwise, the fundamentals are bang on, as you’d expect. The steering, clutch and manual gear lever are light to use and the SUV is effortless to maneuver. The 6-speed automatic transmission offers smooth gear changes and even gets paddle-shifters. Like in the Brezza, you’d probably upshift earlier with the manual transmission vs the automatic. The latter does upshift quickly but isn’t conservative with how much it’ll let you rev before moving up a gear.
Opt for the hybrid and you get drive modes (Eco, Normal and Sport) and a pure EV mode button. The latter doesn’t seem entirely necessary because you can’t force the car into EV mode and if the battery has enough charge, the hybrid system prioritizes electric driving anyway. There is a ‘B’ mode on the gear selector which increases brake energy regeneration, but there are no adjustable regen modes.
Rear Seat Headroom
A major benefit with the Brezza is just how much headroom it offers, with the car’s roofline even accounting for turban-wearing passengers. In the Grand Vitara, while there’s enough headroom up front, the rear seat headroom isn’t great for anyone around six feet tall. You can, of course, scooch a little further to sit lower, but the Brezza doesn’t ask this of its passengers.
This could be down to the panoramic sunroof of the Grand Vitara and we’d like to experience a non-sunroof equipped-variant to see how this characteristic is affected.
Exterior Touch And Feel
The kind of sheet metal/exterior trim used looks and feels similar to both the Brezza and Baleno. Since the Grand Vitara will share its showroom space with the latter, just open and shut the doors of both cars and you’ll know what we’re talking about.
Yes, the new-generation Maruti cars do feel better built, but considering this SUV is now the flagship, you may find yourself wishing for a greater sense of heft from the doors or a more solid ‘thunk’ when you shut them. Relative to key rivals like the Seltos or Creta, this characteristic feels a tad subdued. Do note that this is purely from a sensory standpoint and cannot be taken as a barometer for safety performance.
Also Read: Is This India’s Cheapest Hybrid Car?
While the interior does look and feel richer for the most part, there are many parts that feel average for a car that’ll cost around Rs 23-25 lakh on-road fully loaded. The steering wheel, steering-mounted controls, seat height adjustment lever, AC vents, dash-top plastics and a lot more are shared with the Brezza. However, while these controls don’t feel rich enough in the Brezza, in the Grand Vitara, many would even call them tacky, especially when even sub 4-metre SUVs – like the Kia Sonet and Mahindra XUV300 – offer controls and trim that feel more premium.
Pricing wise, where the Grand Vitara has an advantage is the Brezza’s disadvantage – the engine size. The Brezza’s only engine option, the 1.5 K15C petrol, does not allow this sub 4-metre SUV to qualify for any small car tax benefits, which is why the new Brezza is the most expensive car in its segment. This gives Maruti the opportunity to close the price gap between the two and encourage buyers to move up a segment, either with a budget stretch or by trading variants.
Expect the Grand Vitara’s price announcement in September 2022.
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