Car Tested: 2013 Maruti Suzuki Ritz VDi
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 6,84,300/-
Facelifts are often cheaper ways of keeping the car fresh in the market. Generally, these facelifts offer a slightly tweaked design with minor upgrades in the features as well as price of the car. As for the Maruti Ritz, some people might call it an ugly looking tall boy design with a confused rear, while some will love it for the practicality and good fuel efficiency. We check out the facelifted Ritz and see where it stands.
Maruti Suzuki has finally improved the already successful Ritz with minor changes overall. The carmaker boasts of more than 50 changes in the Ritz, which is impressive considering it’s a facelift, but most of them belong to the new top end ZDi variant introduced with all bells and whistles. Not just that, the changes were initially offered only in the diesel trim as it accounts for more than 70% sales of the Maruti Ritz. However Maruti Suzuki has launched the petrol Ritz with the updates along with an automatic variant as well.
From a distance, the changes are very faint and the only eye catching differences are the front grille and headlights which kind of flows down with the design. The side profile of the Maruti Ritz is identical as before and the company has added body side moulding (not body coloured). On the rear, the spoiler adds to the modern look of the vehicle. Though it shares the tyres with the Swift, the rear wheel arch makes the tyres look slightly bigger. The fit and finish is decently good, but remember, it’s Maruti, so don’t compare it with Volkswagen or Skoda.
The Maruti Ritz was made as a practical alternative to the Swift, hence the seats are extremely supportive and the front has good space too. The rear seat is cramped though and rear legroom is at a premium. The vehicle does offer good head room with a airy feel owning to the larger windows. Increased ride height with huge glass area gives you a very good view of the road, which gives you better visibility to manoeuvre in city traffic. The placement of the gear lever (just below the dashboard) is very convenient. The dashboard is intelligently designed to look big. The quality of plastic is also good but not as premium as Hyundai’s. With the dual tone interiors and built in music system (ZDi), the car feels complete now. The only let downs are the meters and poor rear visibility due to the thick C-pillar. The boot is decent though it’s still small for a car of this size.
The dials have readings marked on paper hence lack the upmarket feel. Not only that, the trip computer provides information but sometimes in a format unfamiliar to Indians, as in the fuel consumption is shown as litres/100 kms. Even the most beautiful cars are rubbish if they under perform. The Ritz is not one of them. Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for the 1.3-litre Multijet diesel engine from FIAT, that powers the tall boy. Having said so, it is needless to say anything about the performance issues, fuel economy issues, vibration issues, etc etc. The engine just powers the Ritz but driving dynamics are governed by several other factors.
The tall boy design attracts a lot of body roll while cornering and somewhat softer suspension doesn’t help. On bad roads though, the ride is pretty well settled but if you really want to see what the Ritz is capable of, unleash the car on a highway. Past 2000 RPM when the turbo pools up, the car glides all the way till the red line. You wouldn’t even realize the speed until you reach 130 km/hr. After that, ride becomes jittery but the electric power steering gives you enough confidence to reach all the way to 160 km/hr. Mind you, the handling is not as sporty as the Swift but the ride quality is not as harsh either.
The company claims an increase in the fuel efficiency of the car by about 10% which accounts to 23 km/litre. During long drives with five people on board and full time AC, the trip computer showed us 5 litres/100 km, which makes Ritz a very frugal choice.
So, let’s summarize. We have got a decent looking car with a frugal and equally responsive engine. It has got decent amount of space and good ride quality. Besides, it’s peppier in the lower revs as compared to the new Swift which has a flat low end. On top of that, it’s a Maruti Suzuki product that comes with reliability and an unmatched network of service. Even if it is not as sporty as the Swift or not as premium as the i20, it has got everything that a practical buyer would want, making it a vehicle worth considering.
* Engine performance
* Ride quality
* Maruti Suzuki service network
What’s Not So Cool
* Rear styling
* Dated dials
* No mechanical updates in facelift