Maruti will be launching the Ciaz shortly and it is apt that we look back and compare with its predecessor. The SX4 despite getting success early never managed to capitalise on that and when newer rivals came up it was even more difficult. There are two things that led to the failure and that is lack of diesel upfront and launch of the Dzire. Now Maruti is giving diesel and automatic option straight from the launch and by making the Ciaz premium any competition from the Maruti Dzire is avoided.
Styling wise the game has moved on and the Maruti Ciaz looks quite good though it is watered down from the concept shown at the Auto Expo. Still the 'Mini Kizashi' look will appeal and the Ciaz is also quite big. Though the length of the Ciaz is 4490 mm which less compared to the 4500 mm of the SX4. The SX4 though aggressive looking looked dated especially in front of the new City but now with the Ciaz things will not be like that. The Ciaz is well designed and with details like projector headlamps, 16 inch alloys the Indian car buyer will like it.
Inside the SX4's plus point was the legroom and now in Ciaz it's even better with its 2650mm wheelbase. Legroom is generous and the 510 litre boot means its very practical. The SX4 with its bland interiors and lack of features lost out on buyer interest but the Ciaz comes with well designed interiors. The design is safe and conservative but is loaded with features. You get SmartPlay infotainment system with touchscreen, bluetooth etc along with everything you expect like steering controls, rear ac vents, climate control.
When it comes to engine options the SX4 was launched with a 1.6 petrol and then the popular 1.3 diesel much later. Here Maruti has downsized with a 1.4 petrol with 91 bhp which we think is its biggest weakness as the size demands more power. Though the plus point is that unlike the SX4 the Ciaz is efficient with 20.73kpl mileage. Maruti also went with a 4-speed auto for the petrol and here we were wishing for something better.
Diesels are good news and with 26.3 kmpl mileage the Ciaz diesel is again providing a more efficient option unlike the SX4. Overall we have to say Ciaz is a much better offering than the SX4 being good looking, efficient and loaded with features. However Maruti could have done better with the AT and the engines still unlike the SX4 this one looks to be the midsize king.