This is the new mid-size sedan from Maruti Suzuki and it is the replacement for the SX4. We first saw it in concept form at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo and now the production version has been revealed. This is an important model for Maruti as it will compete with the likes of the Skoda Rapid, Honda City, VW Vento, Hyundai Verna and others. The Ciaz comes with two engine options and the petrol has an option of an automatic gearbox. In many areas, Maruti has moved the game and the Ciaz is a serious threat to the other mid-sizers out there.
Powertrain & Performance
The diesel is the star of the Ciaz range if you ask us as it suits the car and its character. The engine here is the familiar 1.3 litre diesel with 89 bhp, but do not let that power output fool you as the Ciaz diesel has enough punch. Yes, there is some lag but it is not a major issue and it offers strong performance. On the highway, the Ciaz diesel was a great cruiser and we think this engine offers better performance than other Maruti cars. It is also very efficient with a 26.3 kmpl mileage. The refinement is good and we liked the manual gearbox which offers good shift quality. Moving to the petrol; the 1.4 litre, 91 bhp unit requires a healthy dose of revs to get going and you need to work to extract performance. This is not an enthusiast car and this petrol is not as smooth as the one in the City. Still, for most people, it offers enough performance and it is best to turn it down a notch and drive in a relaxed manner. This way, you will not be disappointed with the Ciaz petrol.
When it comes to ride and handling, the Ciaz offers a very good ride which is important for many. Bad road conditions are well absorbed in the Ciaz and the soft suspension makes travel comfortable. While the ride is good, the Ciaz is not a drivers car for sure. The steering, though light and easy, lacks feel and is not as good as many of its rivals. The same goes for handling and as we have said before, the Ciaz works best as a sensible, comfy mid-sizer and not an enthusiasts car. We found the braking performance to be good and also the high speed stability was satisfactory.
Build & Styling
One look and you will be impressed by what you see as the Ciaz comes across as a handsome sedan. Though not as aggressive as the concept, the Ciaz will please all with its looks. The styling is typical modern day Suzuki with hints of the Kizashi. There are some great details like the projector headlamps, big curvy tail-lamps and 16 inch alloys. Throw in the chrome and the large size means that the Ciaz has good presence. Build quality has improved over the SX4 and it looks premium.
Step inside and you will like the big, airy cabin. The light colours make the cabin spacious while the design is simple but easy to use. While the steering wheel seems to be taken from other Maruti cars, the centre console looks good. Practicality is also well served with enough storage areas and a big 510 litre boot. Space at the rear is excellent and customers who will be driven will appreciate that. The seats are comfy plus seating three at the back is no issue. In features, the main talking point is the SmartPlay infotainment system which has various functions like Bluetooth, aux-in and USB compatibility, a navigation module and hands free calling. Other than that, you have steering controls, rear AC vents, power outlets, push button start etc. In safety terms, you have ABS, EBD, reversing camera and dual airbags.
We think the Ciaz is one of the toughest rivals of the City and Verna as it offers everything one needs from a midsize sedan. It looks good, is spacious, feature loaded and is efficient which is enough and factor in the huge Maruti sales network and the brand loyalty, and then you have a winner. It is not an enthusiast car however that will not stop it to become a big success.