Mileage has always been haunting car buyers and manufacturers alike. And to gain an edge over competition manufacturers are experimenting with all sorts of tricks – reducing weight, use of aluminium parts for the engine and more. In an attempt to do just that Maruti Suzuki has now introduced a part-hybrid system in the new Ciaz.
Exterior and Design:
The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz has been in the market for almost a year now and this new version looks no different. The only way you can identify the Ciaz SHVS from the older variant is thanks to the badge on the boot lid.
That aside, the Ciaz is a quite a smart looking car, arguably the best looking in the segment. The large chrome and pulled back projector headlamps give it a bold stance up front. The rear too matches it up with a sharp cut boot, a touch of chrome and those wrap-around taillights. In profile, the 16-spoke alloy wheels add to the premium feel.
Interior and Space:
On the inside too there aren’t many elements that differentiate the SHVS from the older version. The SHVS logo on the instrumentation and the idle start/stop button on the dashboard are the only noticeable changes.
It gets the same beige and black combination to the dashboard with dark wood finish splitting the two. The silver surrounds to the AC vents are a neat touch. The centre console is a smart touch screen unit that sits just above the climate control. The quality of plastics and the overall fit and finish is quite impressive too. Use of light colour material and the large windows gives the cabin a very airy and welcoming feel.
Features and Equipment:
From projector headlamps to the rear camera; touchscreen infotainment system to climate control the Ciaz gets it all. Add to that list Bluetooth, AUX and USB connectivity, rear AC vent and leather upholstery and you have the complete package. Giving safety priority, Maruti Suzuki has installed the top-end trim of the Ciaz with ABS with EBD and dual Airbags too. Add to that a bunch of fuel saving gizmos and we have a winner in the Ciaz SHVS, more on that later.
Engine and Performance:
Now the Ciaz continues to be available in petrol as well as diesel engine options but Maruti Suzuki has added the new SHVS technology only in the diesel trim. First things first, the diesel is the same 1.3-litre Fiat sourced unit that makes 90PS and 200Nm. This unit comes mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. Despite all the additional technology, the Ciaz SHVS only gains 10kg over the previous version and for those who are wondering, such a small rise in weight hasn’t quite affected its overall performance either.
There is no change in the overall drive feel. Peak torque comes around 1,800rpm but in that rev range, the turbo lag is evident. But once in its own, the Ciaz comfortably revs right up to 4,000rpm. It does start to get a bit noisy going there, but it isn’t something that will bother you too much. The overall engine though is quite responsive to inputs and doesn’t quite feel underpowered. The car shifts into the desired gear with ease but the shift could have been a bit smoother.
Handling and Braking:
Like we mentioned before, the Ciaz’s suspension is softly sprung. While this attribute makes it amply comfortable, it steals it of exciting driving dynamics. There is body roll when you show it a series of bends and the lack of feedback on the steering wheel doesn’t help either. Drive it for a while though and you start getting a feel of the amount of input needed. Braking though is quite impressive and the car doesn’t lose its line under heavy braking either
Aside from convenience, the new idle start/stop technology has also helped in improving efficiency. To further help this cause, the Ciaz also has the Decelerating Energy Regenerating function. When decelerating, this system pushes energy into the electrical system, takes some load off the alternator thereby improving efficiency. With an ARAI claimed figure of 26.2kmpl the older Ciaz was pretty efficient too. However it didn’t gain much over its immediate competition Honda City that claims 26kmpl. Returning an ARAI claimed 28kmpl, the Ciaz SHVS now widens the gap making it the most efficient car in its class by quite a margin.
The non-SHVS Ciaz had impressed us when we first drove it. This new Ciaz SHVS retains all its characters making it equally impressive as a car. It has decent performance, good quality and looks premium too. Efficiency is something Maruti Suzuki has always flaunted in all their cars. Maruti Suzuki is the first car maker to introduce the idle start/stop feature in a car of this class. The addition of all the smart hybrid technology not only gives Maruti Suzuki the bragging rights of the most fuel efficient car in the country. But it also makes the Ciaz a much better value for money proposition. Consider the fact that the price you pay for all of it is close to negligible and the Ciaz makes a very smart option for someone looking for a car in this class. Maruti Suzuki’s way of making the good, better, surely has us impressed.
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