Leaving behind the scarred memories of Baleno and SX4, Maruti is back in the groove with new Ciaz. Initially displayed at 2014 Auto Expo, Maruti has launched Ciaz to take on some of the fiercest rivals around in the town. In fact India is first country to witness launch of Ciaz which will eventually make its way into Chinese market in some time from now. Up against Honda City, Hyundai Verna, VW Vento, Skoda Rapid and Fiat Linea, new Ciaz has to contend with range of adversaries split across different brands and price points. Built on all-new platform, Ciaz not only boasts of comprehensive foot prints but equipped with lengthy list of equipment too. In order to take the game forward, Maruti has lavishly equipped Ciaz and even stretched the wheelbase to spoil the rear seat occupants. So how successful Maruti is in bringing the X-factor in Ciaz that is completely absent in Boleno and SX4; we find out in this road test review.
Style And Design
In order to drive home the point of spacious proposition, Maruti Ciaz has generous footprints that none of its rivals can match. Overall styling is conservative that is sure to go down well with conservative consumers though there is strong possibility of chunk of enthusiasts really get put off by the Ciaz’s plain-Jain design. Low-slung stance of Ciaz is at sharp contrast with tall and macho SX4 it replaces in Indian market.
Up front face is unmistakably Maruti with multi-slated chrome grille flanked by strikingly looking angular projector headlamps. A bit worked up bumper with its fog lamps and air-dam makes quite symmetrical and inoffensive frontage. Clean and subtly streaked hood aids to total maturity of the design. In profile Ciaz continuous less-is-more philosophy with single sleek shoulder line its character. Extended wheelbase and elongated length is clearly visible in side view though these don’t seem to be at odd with any conventional thinker. Swept back silhouette looks nice and it cleanly dives into rear panel.
Now familiarity of Ciaz’s rear with Honda City is apparent even for the untrained eye. Especially the way tail lamps cluster is detailed and spilt into two is more seems to be inspiration rather than coincidence. Rear bumper houses a pair of reflectors in addition to parking sensors for aiding parking manoeuvres. Dimensionally Ciaz is longest with length of 4490mm and its 2650 mm wheelbase is largest too among the adversaries. Another highlight of Ciaz is its exceptionally low weight with petrol and diesel tipping the scale at 1010 kg and 1105 kg respectively. In fact petrol Ciaz weighs lower than many segment-lower diesel sedans and this slim body has indeed contributed heavily towards making Ciaz best-in-class fuel-efficient vehicle in both petrol and diesel category.
Cabin And Interiors
Ciaz comes with smart-key and request sensor that allows the user to get into without actually using key. Ciaz has used two-tone colour theme for its dashboard in addition to using the inserts of silver and faux-wood. Lay-out of the centre console is practical though there could be some more flair in it. In line with the inoffensive external design, cabin theme too follows neutral philosophy. Everything falls in hand quite easily and overall quality is at par with standards. In contrast to Honda City things in Ciaz feel jointed and coherent in their overall appearance. White-lit instrument cluster is typical of Maruti and boasts large easily readable fonts. Steering is adjustable for rake though its reach can’t be altered. Audio controls are at right position i.e. on steering wheel though telephony switches are mounted at the back of wheel making then quite useless while on the drive.
Top model of Ciaz has got 7” touchscreen infotainment system that houses a plethora of information in addition to the usual music and telephony controls. Storage space covered by push-open lid has two cup-holders as well as USB and Aux-in convenience.
Front seats of Ciaz are extremely supportive and have got nice side bolstering too. Driver has got height adjustment though by virtue of the high-setting of front seats most of drivers won’t need to use height-adjustment facility. Front door pockets are very useful as pockets are large and capacious. Slide to rear bench and Maruti Ciaz immediately impresses owing to its large and best-in-class wheelbase. There is ample amount of legroom, knee room and even shoulder room for three fully grown adults is no issue for Ciaz. Further there is rear AC vents with single power outlet and a small storage space is nifty touch especially for the summer season.
Ciaz shares the best-in-class boot space credential with Honda City as both these sedans have 510 litres of trunk. However Ciaz boot is more usable towards outside and suspensions intrudes a bit into trunk room. Loading lip is too a tad high and not loading-unloading does require some effort.
Engine & Transmission
Endowed with 1.4-litre petrol and 1.3-litre diesel engine, Ciaz have both manual and automatic transmission on offer though auto gearbox is offered in petrol variant only. Our test car is powered by 1.3-litre, 4-cylinder, DDiS multi-jet diesel engine that makes 90 PS of max power and 200 Nm of max torque. In comparison to rivals these figures pale though Ciaz is not as bad to drive on road because of its low kerb-weight.
Engine bay of Ciaz looks cluttered as DDiS has fully occupied the available space. Engine refinement is well above the normal standards and better than most of the rivals save for Hyundai Verna. Starting off the line is smooth affair though urgency level is nowhere close to segment benchmark. Smaller gears are short in nature to mask the turbo lag and indeed this trick works well for 1st and 2nd gear. However 3rd gear throws in the real picture as Ciaz starts suffering from lag as soon as revolutions drop. Progress becomes a bit lethargic and shooting through the gap requires you to downshift. However cross 2000 mark on rpm meter and Ciaz once again rumbles back to lifer. Turbo spools up quickly and the punch starts to pour in giving the required shove to Ciaz. Mid-range of Ciaz is progressive and invites the user to further step-up the gas. DDiS revs freely and refinement level too is quite commendable. Overall similar to neutral design philosophy, Ciaz in driving too chart the same course neither disappoints nor delight the user with its performance.
Mated with 5-speed manual gearbox, Ciaz is front-wheel drive vehicle as transmission channelizes the whole power quotient to front wheels of the car. Clutch is light and foot-well is well-spaces too though dead pedal is missed sorely. Gear lever is short, crisp and action is equally delightful. Expect the 5th gear slotting that require some directional shove, all other gears slot in a perfect manner. Retardation is via disc up front and drums at rear with overall result quite satisfactory in nature. Steering is light and well-tuned to serve the city driving however loses its sheen on highway.
Ride quality of Ciaz is very absorbent and is a pleasant surprise over the bit harsh and stiffer SX4. Especially slow-speed ride is quite soaking that will invite accolades from owners. Soft suspension of Ciaz does absorb most of what out typical roads has on to offer. Even on highway ride is stable but it is not as flat as of Linea or Vento. The soft dampening of the Ciaz gives way to the vertical moment that result in some nose diving and pitching on the high speed. However on the normal whack that climbs up without any hasty move Ciaz won’t lose its composure.
Finesse in Ciaz’s ride quality has come as compromised is inflicted on handling front. Ciaz is just an average handler and throwing it around the corners is not at all a wise move. There is enough body roll that ready to pounce on Ciaz as soon as you hurl it around the corners. So sedate driving without any unintentional lane changes is what Ciaz expect from its owners. Steering wheel as already discussed is devoid of much feedback at high speeds though in comparison to Hyundai Verna, it still feels better in its response ability.
Maruti Ciaz comes with very competitive pricing with retailing in range of Rs 6.99 lakh and Rs 9.80 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). On value for money it handsomely beats its rivals and is sure to attract budget buyers from every corner and nook of the segment. With its substantial road presence and sheer size Maruti Ciaz does impress. Voluminous cabin and large boot space further enhance its appeal. Time-tested and reliable petrol and diesel engines offers class leading mileage is another plus in this Maruti offer. Even on ride front, Ciaz pass with flying colours though it could have better handling manners. Nonetheless as a sensible and inoffensive family sedan, Maruti Ciaz ticks all the right boxes. It may not get your heart racing with its looks and performance but it sure to give you maximum bang for your buck.
Style & Substance 3.5/5 Ride & Handling 3.5/5
Interiors & Ergonomics: 3.5/5 Safety & Equipment 3.5/5
Power-Plant & Transmission 3.5/5 Fuel Efficiency 4/5
Value for Money 4/5