Ciaz has already made its mark and is giving tough fight to Honda City that occupies the top rung in mid-size sedan categoryof market. Maruti has recently added Z+ variant in Ciaz’s model list that comes with host of additional and luxurious features.
Through this inclusion, company is hoping to neutralize the slight edge that Honda City seems to enjoy over Ciaz on equipment front. New Ciaz Z+ variant replaces the Z (O) trim that reigned as top model in car list till now. Launched in both petrol and diesel guises,Z+ trim is priced at Rs 9.08 lakh for petrol variant VXi+ and Rs 10.37 lakh for diesel variant ZDi+. Another triggering behind this launch can be seen through the aspect of renewing competition as Hyundai is all set to release in its updated Verna in market in near future. Hyundai’s track record suggests that company has always gone overboard while loading its propositions with features and gizmos. Expectedly new Verna will also follow this tradition and feature loads of creature comfort to outdo competitors on creature comfort. Anticipating this looming threat proactively, Maruti, by launching Ciaz Z+ variant,has now made sure that Ciaz will hold on its own against contemporary competing offers. We get behind the wheels of diesel version of new Ciaz to find out whether this Maruti has got it what it takes to successfully rival present as well as impending future adversaries.
What is new on Z+ Trim?
Principal addition in this new Z+ trim is new 7” touchscreen infotainment system that comes with host of features. It has in-built navigation system, can play variety of multi-media formats, and can be operated through voice command. Other goodies like Bluetooth, USB, Aux-in keep intact in the system as featured in outgoing Z (O) trim. The screen doubles up as reversing guide system to help the manoeuvrability while parking the car and this comes quite handy especially for long car like Ciaz. One can integrate smart phone with the system though this integration is quite limited in nature.
Upholstery is in leather and so is wrapping around steering wheel. There are added controls on steering though we wish Maruti had changed the Telephony switches from behind the wheel to on the wheel. Literally these are useless as one can’t access them while driving as their position is thoroughly flawed.
Cabin is spacious and rear space can be easily counted among the segment benchmarks. There is plenty of leg space, knee room and head room is in abundance as well. Ciaz has got a spacious trunk of 510 litres of space that is large enough to hold luggage for even a week. There are intrusions from suspension deep inside though there influenced decreases towards the outside.
On outside, the only addition materializes in form of new chunky 16” alloy wheels that look quite stunning in their design. Not only these add to aesthetics of the car but also help the Ciaz in attaining right posture and stance. Wing mirrors with integrated blinkers are nice though indicator strip seems quite subliminal.
High ground clearance of 170 mm is also a practical feature that makes Ciaz less vulnerable to belly scratches; something that is quite common on Indian roads. In comparison, Ciaz’s rivals Honda City and Hyundai Verna features 165 mm of ground clearance i.e. 5 mm less than Ciaz.
What stays on Z+ Trim?
Engine, transmission and mechanical package remains same on Z+ trim as Maruti has made no hardware changes. This means that 1.3-litre multi-jet diesel engine rumbles under the hood though one would be hard-pressed to notice it. Refinement level is ridiculously good and starkly contrasted with noisy oil burner of Honda City. Maruti’s tuning has made wonders to this Fiat-owned diesel engine as the whole nature of power plant gets tectonic shift the moment it slips under Suzuki badge.
That said, the mountings don’t feel very rigid and lack the endurance quality. Various flowing channels and covering feels to be made up of tacky quality and we are apprehensive that driving on rough roads for long will take a toll on these components. Ciaz feels quite comfortable in both city and out on highway with its 90 PS and 204 Nm of torque. The engine responses are much linear in nature than we have witnessed in first-generation of Swift and Dzire. Maruti has toned down the response of turbo and tuned it for requirement of city driving. There is now sudden surge of torque as Ciaz tends to move on with progressive and linear manner.
Driven-by-wire, 5-speed gearbox is smooth, short-throw and slick in nature. Clogging is fine, inspiring though it still a notch below the benchmark of Vento. VW gearshift is still at the top, followed by Honda and though in isolation this transmission is fit for the job, it lacks some of the slickness shown by rivals. That said, clutch operation is quite light, progressive and relaxing as even a full-day traffic driving won’t result in exhaustion of your left foot.
Dynamically Ciaz strikes a cordial balance between ride and balancing. Now with bigger tyres, ride quality has improved and stability is bound to get a boost. Slow speed ride though still is bit jittery and nervous. Ciaz wobble at slow speed though tends to regain footing as whack increases. Throw Ciaz around and body roll creeps in quite quickly. This can be attributed to long wheelbase and a bit stout rear end of sedan though it is quite acceptable by standards of sedan. As long as you remember that it is mid-size sedan, it won’t bother you but if you expect DNA of Swift, then you are bound to get disappointed.
Ciaz Z+ edition is priced very sensible and still represents best value for money offer in mid-size sedan category. In contrast to both Honda City and Hyundai Verna, Ciaz is far better priced and now equipped in similar manner. It can stands up to rivals on luxuries and Z+ model will get Ciaz right on same platform with adversaries. Ciaz makes a wonderful choice for most of Maruti owners who are looking to upgrade from hatchback or compact sedan to proper sedan. Backed by brand name of Maruti, largest and reliable service network and exceptional value for money, Ciaz ticks all the right boxes as sensible and effective choice.
Style & Substance 3.5/5 Ride & Handling 3/5
Interiors & Ergonomics: 3.5/5 Safety & Equipment 4/5
Power-Plant & Transmission 4/5 Fuel Efficiency 4/5
Value for Money 4/5