Last time when these titans clashed for title, we witnessed intensely bitter and acerbic battle that went down to the wire. Both these stalwarts gave their best performance that made it extremely difficult for us to decide the comparison on either side. Through Ciaz, Maruti has taken quite a leap as its new mid-size sedan has been successful in striking a chord with customers. So much so that for a brief stint, Ciaz overthrew segment king Honda City from its throne. Stunned for a moment, however, Honda City fought back and owing to its superior equipment and features, turned the tide back into its favor. Sensing its weakness on feature front, Maruti has reworked on Ciaz and now brought thoroughly equipped, top of the line Ciaz Z+ variant. Among the list of features on new Ciaz Z+, most notable addition is the new touchscreen infotainment system featuring in-built Navigation support. Further Ciaz’s large 7” display doubles up as monitor for reverse camera once owner engages in reversing maneuver. Only thing that Ciaz falls short on vis-à-vis new City is absence of cruise control and panoramic sun roof though Maruti makes up for this skinflint quickly on pricing front. The pertinent question follows that how well Maruti has equipped Ciaz this time? Whether Honda City has finally got its match in new Ciaz Z+? All this and much more as we settle behind wheels of these two bigwigs to tell you which one should you bet on your hard-earned money.
Honda City is well-equipped machine and being pricier than Ciaz, it has the moral obligation to prove its extra worth. Honda did try hard to do this by sprucing the top-end variant with cruise control and electric sun roof though in lieu of these features, you have to pay an extra mount of more than a lakh. An objective assessment of these features against price feels costly though Honda marque has its own brand equity to compensate for this premium price.
Honda City: Extra convenience of Cruise control
On rest of the features new Ciaz has point by point rebuttal to City and in some areas, it even exceed the standards set by Honda. Ciaz instrumentation boasts of bigger 7” touchscreen smart-play system that has in-build navigation module. In contrast City has smaller 5” monitor that is lacks the navigation facility and feel skimped on features too. Bigger monitor gives Ciaz an advantage while reversing exercise as display angles are wide and view is more comprehensive compared to Honda City.
Maruti Ciaz: Large touchscreen infotainment system
Another ace in Ciaz’s feature pack is voice command function that though has its own limitations in terms of diagnosing and implementing commands, still its presence aids driver’s convenience irrefutably. Music system of Ciaz features 6 speakers while there are only 4 in Honda City though Honda offers iPOD compatibility that Ciaz’t doesn’t.
Bluetooth telephony and iPOD compatibility
On quality front, both these Japanese compatriots are quite alike though City noses slightly ahead owing to its glossy finishing and dark shade interiors. Both cars offer good space with ample cabin room though it is Ciaz that turns out to be winner here. This Maruti features best in class cabin space and even roomy proposition Honda City is forced to abdicate on this front. Both cars offer equal capacity trunk and feature rear air-con vents in their top-spec versions.
New Ciaz ZDi+: 4/5 Honda City VX: 3.5/5
Matter of the Looks
Even casual glance on both cars parked side by side and difference in designing philosophies of Honda and Maruti is quite evident. While Maruti has gone for safe, no-nonsense design, Honda has pulled all the stops to make City vibrant and sassier. Further stretched dimension of Ciaz offers it an air of elegance while City tends to conform to youthful personification.
Dynamic and sassier City
Frontage asymmetries tend to continue in profile view where City sports strong character crease while Ciaz chart same course with milder shoulder line. City’s skinning is taut without even slightest of slack though Ciaz has couple of loose joints. Rear of both the cars has striking similarity and as Ciaz joins the competition later, Maruti has been charged with being copycat here.
A bit bland Maruti Ciaz
It seems Maruti has designed Ciaz with more in mind the current customers its brand who wants to upgrade with safe and predictable brand ingredients of Maruti. Further Maruti seems to believe that there is comparative less risk in conforming to standards than to make your own especially when it comes to design theme.
New Ciaz ZDi+: 3/5 Honda City VX: 4/5
Honda City dwarfs Ciaz on engine capacity with its bigger 1.5-litre i-DTEC heart that pushes out 100 PS of max power along with 200 Nm of max torque. In contrast, Maruti Ciaz develops 90 PS and equal 200 Nm from smaller 1.3-litre DDiS engine. Over and above all, the principal difference in both of these oil burners is level of refinement that leaves City thoroughly embarrassed in front of super-silent Ciaz. In fact we believe that Ciaz has got the best iteration of Fiat owned multi-jet diesel technology in terms of linear power delivery and smooth build-up of momentum.
Super-refined DDiS diesel
Honda is equally good on linearity aspect though its biggest issue is its noise problem that originates largely from the poorly insulated cylinder block. Honda should have added extra insulating layers in order to compensate for this though it didn’t do so. Result is the engine that has good diesel clatter at idle that tends to increase once you start meshing the accelerator.
Poor sound insulation in City
Put your foot down and City leaps forward without a fuss though for checking revs you need not to look at instrument cluster. High sound emanating from the rendering engine in front of you is quite enough to signal you when to back down. In transmission, City feels a bit relaxed as it comes with 6-speed manual gearbox compared to 5-speed on Ciaz. This extra gear helps City to extract extra mileage over Ciaz though its usability would have augmented, had City’s engine been more silent. Shift feel and slickness of City is better than Ciaz as Maruti has still some way to go before it catches up with City.
New Ciaz ZDi+: 4/5 Honda City VX: 3.5/5
In road manners, Ciaz proves more comfortable proposition over City as it is comparatively soft suspension settings that aids slow speed bump absorption. Honda has also improved new City driving manners compared to its previous iterations though there are still signs of conflicts that interfere with ride comfort intermittently.
Larger and chunky wheels in Ciaz
Larger and wider tires on Ciaz enhance its road contact area that in turn provides it superior road grip while Honda, on other hand, seems terribly focused on fuel efficiency as 15” wheels of City looks seriously under adverse effect of malnutrition.
Honda City saves its grace on handling department as it shows better and tighter controls in containing rolling menace. Honda hugs the corner more cunningly and its taut chassis, and tight skinning gives it edge over Ciaz.
Severely under-tyred City
Another factor that aids City’s superior handling is its communicative steering that is quite light to operate in city and weighs up nicely at high driving whacks. Ciaz too, feels nice to steer though it lacks the feel that City comes with. Both cars offer considerable safety equipment that includes dual front airbags, ABS with EBD etc. though only City offers both rack-reach steering adjustment.
New Ciaz ZDi+: 3.5/5 Honda City VX: 3.5/5
Stacking the top-end variants of City and Ciaz against each other and balance starts tilting in favour of Maruti as it comes at far more competitive pricing than City. While Honda demands Rs 11.54 lakh for its City sedan, Maruti is offering top-spec Ciaz in just Rs 10.37 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). In this good price difference of over Rs one lakh, the only extra features you will get on City are electric sunroof and cruise control. Now given both of these aspects is of little significance especially while driving in city, a rational buyer has a lot to give its mind around before biting City. ON other hand Maruti Ciaz offers excellent value for your money as it comes with bigger and better infotainment system with in-built navigation module. Ciaz’s screen size is bigger that offers high practicality during reversing manoeuvres and further backed by India’s largest dealership network, this Maruti Ciaz is bound to find helping hand in almost every nook and corner of India. Comparative performance of Ciaz’s diesel engine is far more superior to City and same is true for riding comfort. So as a comfortable mid-size sedan Maruti Ciaz ticks all the right boxes and its decisive advantage on Value for money makes it winner of this comparative road test review.
New Ciaz ZDi+: 4/5 Honda City VX: 3.5/5