The leader in the small car segment for many years, Maruti has finally decided to place its contender in the competitive sedan segment ruled by strong sellers - Honda City and Hyundai Verna. This will be another attempt by the car maker to revive
its glory after the most forgettable debut of the crossover-based sedan, SX4. Maruti decided not to let things lying down and eyed for the higher sedan segment with the replacement of SX4 models by its new offering CIAZ.
With Ciaz, Maruti is trying to stretch itself into a territory it was previously uncomfortable with.
Maruti is also sure of repeating its winning formula of delivering a fuel efficient car, that has made it a leader in the hatchback segment. The same formula can be seen being carried forward with the 'clever hybrid system' in the new
premium offering, Ciaz. The new premium mesmerizing sedan, Ciaz is seen as a gateway for more premium and larger things in the future from the country's largest automobile manufacturer.
The new offering from Maruti comes across as a well-though product with its big size, even bigger than its peers. The classy design needs to be appreciated with the front face getting a hugely built chrome grille and large headlamps that give Ciaz a more 'sedan' like look and a commendable street presence. Ciaz sports a larger 16-inch alloy wheels and the neat addition of larger fog lamps for that premium character and experience.
The dimensions are the same as the older SX4 but there is an increase in the wheelbase. The newly increased wheelbase of 2650mm gives a royal view of the silhouette sweeping from the roof to the boot.
Coming to the rear profile, Ciaz looks similar to one of its closest competitor, Honda City. The wraparound taillamps and raised boot complete the rear of Ciaz.
Overall, Ciaz wins in making a lasting impression compared to the new Honda City which is an evolution of the previous generation car. Ciaz also looks more proportioned with the larger 16-inch alloy wheels when compared to the smaller 15-inch wheels on the new City.
The most impressive thing about the Ciaz interiors is the roomy cabin and storage space in both front and rear. There is a sense of premium appeal with black and beige interiors and chrome on the dashboard. The quality of interiors is top-notch upmarket and superior.
Ciaz offers a 7-inch Smartplay Infotainment system from Bosch with a large touchscreen in high-end variants. The infotainment system comes loaded with navigation, voice recognition/command, Bluetooth and integrated rear view camera, and also supports Apple CarPlay, USB, an SD Card and AUX. Ciaz also comes equipped with other comfort-enhancing features like the extra shade on the windscreen, a concealed console box with illumination, reading lamps, reverse parking camera with parking sensors, keyless push start with smart key, steering mounted audio and call controls.
The leather seats are nicely stitched and very comfortable too. The other highlight is that the seats also provide excellent thigh and shoulder support.
Ciaz offers a roomy cabin with the upmarket dual-tone black and beige colours compared to the all-black piano finish in the Honda City. Ciaz uses superior plastics than the ones in the Honda City and the touchscreen infotainment offers a crisper display than the Honda City. The generous 510-litres boot space is the same as that offered in the Honda City but is larger than Verna.
Maruti engineers didn't experiment with the engines and have used the same petrol/diesel combo from SX4. The diesel is a 1248 cc SHVS manual transmission engine that produces max. power of 66 kW at 4000 rpm and 200 Nm of torque. The petrol, however, is powered by a 1373cc DOHC engine delivering 68 kW at 6000 rpm. The petrol comes mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, with an optional 4-speed automatic transmission.
THE SHVS technology is considered as the star component in the diesel version. The advanced SHVS technology is aligned with the strongest attribute of Maruti Suzuki - Mileage. The company claims an increased mileage of 28 kmpl with SHVS which uses an Integrated Starter-Generator (ISG) to perform the start and stop functions by automatically shutting down the engine and accumulates that energy for reuse while the car is stationary.
Overall, SHVS shines and outperforms the Honda City in terms of mileage and refinement.
Ciaz suspension helps to swiftly ride over bumpy roads giving the passengers a comfortable drive especially in low speeds. But the pattern changes at high-speed, uneven terrains becomes bumpy in Ciaz. Ciaz fares well in handling and braking departments but it is the steering that lack the confidence while pushing the car around corners.
Ciaz rides well but City is a better handler. The Ciaz offers a superior grip with the 195 section tyres while the City lags behind with its 175 section tyres.
ABS with EBD becomes available in mid-range variants while dual airbags available only in top-end variants. Rear defogger and immobilizer are standard across all variants.
Honda City is a more safer car than Ciaz offering dual airbags and ABD with EBD features as standard in all variants.
Maruti Suzuki has finally delivered a good knockout punch with Ciaz. Ciaz is an attractive, spacious, feature rich and fuel efficient sedan offering a good ride quality. Ciaz is also priced competitively than Honda City.
Apart from the pricing, Honda City is a better handling sedan and the engine is also efficient enough to rev fast to pamper its customers.