Ritz was launched keeping in mind Maruti’s philosophy of offering cars with minimal price difference between competing models from their own stable. Ritz was supposed to offer a choice to customer not wanting to buy a Swift thus preventing them from moving to cars from other manufacturers stable. However ground realities are quite different, whilst the Swift is continuing its growth trajectory quite effortlessly, Ritz on the other is still finding the going difficult.
Swift and Ritz are as different as a chalk and cheese, even though they are competing in the same segment and are from the same car manufacturer, thanks to an underlying philosophy difference between the two cars. Swift whilst is edgy and stylish, Ritz on the other hand is more about practicality and versatility. High seating position, tall boy profile along with soothing interiors and boomerang shaped back makes the Ritz a very user friendly car especially for city.
We drove the petrol version of Ritz powered by K-series engine and came back quite enamoured by the response of this tall boy machine from Maruti Suzuki.
STYLE & SUBSTANCE
Ritz takes the baton of tall boy design from the Wagon R and uses the upward space to maximize the roominess aspect of a car. Front fascia is typically Japanese with grill being inspired from Audi’s design. Headlamps are free flowing and curvy; integrating themselves quite well with the overall tall stance of the car.
Ritz’s side profiles being aerodynamically efficient also adds to the car’s style quotient. Backward slopping roof line ensure low co-efficient of drag and facilitates car’s fuel efficiency and also adds value to Ritz’s stylishness.
Vauxhall hatchback inspired boomerang shaped rear is where Maruti has taken the biggest challenge with the Ritz. A car buyer will either fall in love with it or hate it, but will never be able to ignore it. Ritz’s rear could probably be the reason for the car’s slow growth. Rear lamps though are the pretty neat and good looking.
INTERIORS, ROOM & ERGONOMICS
Interiors of Ritz are like; Fresh Air. A welcome deviation from the symphony of beige colour which we generally encounter in most of the small cars. Light blue trim enhances the cars spaciousness and is also quite soothing. Waterfall design for the centre console looks elegant with integrated gear lever saving space in front. Basic AC controls are very intuitive and are within easy reach.
Instrument cluster contain speedometer resembling a large polo mint which is again very intuitive and readable. Pop-up rpm meter in the top-end variant reeks of class and adds a degree of sportiness to Ritz’s interiors.
Front seats are large, nicely supported and have plenty of space; especially head room, though contouring could have been better. The ease with which one can stretch one’s legs in the front clearly brings alive the fact, that small cars are not small on space any more. Rear bench; also have plenty of space. It is placed high and well supported too. Ease of ingress-egress enhances Ritz’s utility. Adequate legroom and knee room are the cars other strength. However 3 abreast is still a problem and like all hatchbacks Ritz keeps 4 inside the car quite happy.
POWER-PLANT & TRANSMISSION
Ritz comes with two power plant options: 1.2 L, All-Aluminium, K12M series petrol engine and 1.3 L, DDIS, Multi-Jet Diesel Engine.
We drove the petrol motor which delivers 85 Ps of power and 113 Nm of torque. In fact Ritz was the first car model from the Maruti’s stable which complied with Euro-IV norms since inception. The All Aluminium engines manages to impress one with its on-the-tap performance with an equally impressive ARAI Mileage of 17.94 km/l.
Idle of the engine is impressively silent. Floor the pedal and you will get an equally eager response from the engine. However the drive-ability of this rev happy engine is not very encouraging in the lower RPM band. It seeks and requests down shift quite regularly. One cannot take liberty of high gear, slow speed in the Ritz like one could do with many of its competitors. However, once the gears are slotted correct, the K12 is eager to thrill its master.
Mid and top end rev range is where Ritz’s is quite happy. The 4-cylinder motor is quite eager to please its master in these rev bands and the Ritz moves with brisk confidence right up to the red line.
Ritz’s engine is mated with a competent 5-speed manual transmission. The throws are short and clutch is extremely light thus making city drive quite effortless. Use of detent pin technology, short gear lever mounted on centre console makes gear shifting a pleasant experience.
McPherson struts with coil spring in the front and torsion beam on the rear are on job in the Ritz’s suspension department. Ritz rides on 14” wheels and is shrouded with 180 mm of wide rubber bearing an aspect ratio of 80.
Being positioned for those seeking sensible practical car, Ritz's devoid of all sporty pretensions of the Swift. The focus is more on ride quality than on handling. Suspension is sprung softly and is skewed in favour of compliance.
Expect a comfortable and absorbing ride as most of the undulations are taken quietly by the Ritz’s suspension. Potholes still need to be approached with care, though good ground clearance will come to one’s rescue most of the times. Ride becomes more stable as the speed increases though it is far from the composure many other cars in category boasts of.
Handling is mediocre, as Ritz display quite a roll and it does not like to be cornered hard. Tall boy design with soft set-up could be the culprit. The enthusiast may be disappointed, but family man who wants a comfortable spacious family car would be quite happy. Ritz is a practical and versatility car sans all sportiness or adventurous streak.
Ritz with a starting price of 4.16 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) is a city car with high seating position. It offers loads of roominess and excellent head room. City commuters can go ahead and buy one without any second thoughts. But if you are more adventurous, looking to stretch your limits with spirited driving, then perhaps Swift will be a better match for you.
Style & Substance : 3/5 Ride & Handling : 3/5
Interiors & Space : 4/5 Safety & Equipments : 3/5
Power Plant & Transmission : 4/5 Mileage : 4/5
Value for Money : 4/5