2015 Maruti Ciaz Test Drive Review
2015 Maruti Ciaz – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Maruti Ciaz Review

Car Tested: 2015 Maruti Suzuki Ciaz

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 8.72 – 12.71 lakhs

The Ciaz is a good all-round package for Maruti loyalists, it’s a very practical vehicle

The C-segment sedan space is one of the most competitive so much so that there are eight cars fighting for volumes, the ninth to join is the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz. We recently pitched all the eight C-segment cars against each other and it was amply clear that the top three in the shootout had a lot more to offer. India’s largest car maker is a master in offering more for less as so evident from a majority of its products but can the Ciaz break all moulds to become a success considering Maruti Suzuki’s image as a big car maker isn’t much to talk about. While this Maruti sedan is off to a good start in the Indian market, does the Ciaz have what it takes to rub shoulders with well established rivals and maintain the volumes?

Motor Quest: The Ciaz is the spiritual successor of the Baleno, one of the biggest flops to have come out of Maruti’s factory. The Baleno was succeeded by the SX4 which managed to work initially but eventually faded out completely. The Ciaz is the third generation of Maruti’s upper C-segment car.

The Maruti Ciaz is a very long car and that does give it some presence

Exteriors – Maruti always plays safe with the styling, which can also be seen on the Ciaz. Within a few days of launch, we got used to the neutral design language of the car, which generally doesn’t happen when new cars are launched because the Ciaz has nothing distinctive on its exteriors. The front profile gets the typical chrome slat grille, sharp lines on the bumper and projector headlamps with a bland looking bonnet. It is the longest car in its segment, which is quite evident on the side, where you see a strong shoulder line running across the doors and a swooping crease down below to make it look slim. The 16-spoke alloys look good and add to the presence.

Overdone rear bumper comes across as unnecessary, the wheels are attractive

The rear profile of the Maruti Ciaz is highly controversial because the tail lamp cluster is very similar to those on the Honda City. Apart from that, the rear is kept quite busy with a chrome strip running between the tail lamps, hexagonal number plate housing on the tail gate and a big bumper, which doesn’t look bulky because of the reflector inserts and a prominent lip to cut on the flab. The overall styling is positive, which works for all and offends none. However, the individual character of the car is lacking because the design is a mixed bag of many cars, nothing unique.

Nicely laid out cabin with good quality and plenty of features

Interiors – With all that size on the outside, the cabin too is large and generous, resulting in ample amount of space for both front and rear occupants. But first, the dashboard, it’s a new refreshing unit and looks quite appealing with the use of wood, silver and of course beige. This cabin does use a lot of beige for that airy feeling and it works. The dual tone dash is nice to look at with the only sore point being the the parts which come from cheaper Maruti cars, like the steering wheel and power window controls. Talking about the steering, the placement of Bluetooth controls could be on the right spoke rather than between the first and second spoke for ease of use.

Rear seat is extremely generous when it comes to kneeroom and legroom

The Ciaz has excellent rear seat legroom, among the very best in its class

Quality inside the cabin is good with not much to fault but build quality isn’t as good as its rivals, we could hear some rattling from the dashboard on our test car which had done slightly more than 5000 kms. The seats are comfortable but finding the perfect driving position isn’t as easy as the driver’s seat is quite high, even when you adjust it to the lowest position. Even the rear seats lack on the comfort front, they just don’t have enough cushioning to keep you happy over long journeys. However, when it comes to rear legroom, the Ciaz is simply fantastic and there is so much space that even the tallest of people won’t have any room for complain. Headroom though, is in short supply, specially for tall people. The boot is big although it’s not the best shaped due to the protruding wheel wells. The electromagnetic tail gate opener isn’t the easiest to operate and sometimes you do have to push it twice.

The boot is very large and the cabin has plenty of storage bins too

The Maruti Ciaz has a generous equipment list and the car comes with ABS, dual airbags, climate control system, Bluetooth connectivity, keyless go, push button start, easy to read multi-information display, projector headlights, rear camera, reverse parking sensors, leathers seats and touch-screen infotainment system (gets navigation and MirrorLink) which is offered on the Z+ trim while our test car was a ZXi (O), making do with a non-touch based audio system that has CD, USB, AUX and Bluetooth audio options. This system doesn’t display the song name on the screen which is surprising as that’s a basic feature seen on most head units. Some nice touches include a rear windscreen sunblind and plenty of storage bins including large door pockets. The car gets side lights at the rear, thereby having a cabin light for each occupant but there is no vanity mirror on the sun visor. One thing we did not like about the keyless go is the cheap rubber button the door handle that just feels like it will come off. That said, the Ciaz makes for a fine car to be chauffeur driven in, the AC works well and the rear aircon vents do a good job too.

The Ciaz carries the same engines as the Ertiga but offers improved drivability

Performance – Maruti Suzuki has used the same engines on the Ciaz that power the Ertiga, but they have been tweaked for improved performance and efficiency. The 1.4-litre K-Series petrol mill, better known as the K14B, gets an increase in compression ratio, similar to the smaller 1.2-litre K-Series powerplant that does duty in the petrol Swift. With 92 PS of power and 130 Nm of torque, the petrol powered Ciaz doesn’t come across as high on output when compared to most other cars in the C-segment, all of which carry higher numbers. However, the drivability is still very good and there is good low-end response but there isn’t the redline madness that you expect from a Japanese motor. As you exploit the motor to its 6200 RPM, there is a lot of noise which depending on the kind of driver you are, could be either fun or annoying.

Diesel engine’s wide powerband makes it quite fun in spite of low output

Thanks to clever tuning and weight management, the Maruti Ciaz diesel feels spirited to drive

The diesel engine powering the Maruti Ciaz is the humble 1.3-litre Fiat unit that produces 90 PS and 200 Nm. Now this might sound less for a car of this size but Suzuki engineers have smartly kept the weight down which means the power to weight ratio isn’t too bad. For starters, the engine feels a lot like all other diesel powered Marutis, after all, it’s the same motor in a different state of tune with minor differences in hardware. But when you get going, there is no such feeling of being underpowered, there is plenty of grunt, more so in the mid-range which is the strongest point of this oil burner. Low-end performance isn’t great, there is quite a bit of lag and one has to work the gears to ensure the tacho needle is above 2000 RPM.

The Maruti Ciaz is very frugal and performance is more than adequate for most

Slapping on our VBOX and doing multiple runs, we managed a best time of 11.21 seconds for the 0-100 km/hr run which is faster than the more powerful Honda City diesel. This can be attributed to the wider powerband as redline comes in at around 5250 RPM, the ton coming up in third gear itself. Meanwhile, 120 km/hr takes 16.57 seconds, again a time which isn’t bad at all for a car of this output. NVH levels are good but not the best as the motor is audible as you hit the gas hard. Cruising ability is good and doing 100 km/hr in fifth gear keeps the engine spinning at its sweetest spot of 2100 RPM. Both the petrol and diesel models have a light clutch and a smooth shifting 5-speed gearbox (the petrol also gets a 4-speed automatic). Thanks to the lower weight and tuning in the interest of mileage, the Ciaz is very frugal, the petrol returning 14 km/l in the city while the diesel managing 18 km/l!

The steering wheel of the Ciaz lacks feel and the handling is neutral, not exciting

Driving Dynamics – Maruti Suzuki had a very clear agenda when designing the Ciaz, it wanted to woo the family audience with this car. Thus, the vehicle’s set-up is such that most people will like the way it drives, handling is neutral, ride quality is fantastic and the brakes work very well too. The vehicle features a rear anti-roll bar and the chassis in typical Suzuki fashion is stiff, thus the suspension has been kept soft for a terrific ride quality. After driving on almost all kinds of roads, we simply were left praising the car’s ride, it just deals with the imperfections of our roads brilliantly. Even high speed stability is very good.

The phenomenal ride quality of this Maruti makes it apt for Indian roads

The Ciaz rides with a sense of maturity but the handling isn’t inspiring

However, for enthusiasts, there is some disappointment in store. We have been driving Suzuki cars since a long time now and the Swift is one of the best handling cars in its class, the Ciaz doesn’t stay upto that promise. It simply doesn’t handle like a Suzuki car should, there is plenty of body roll and the steering doesn’t have much feel or feedback. At low speeds, the steering is a bit heavy and doesn’t weigh up accurately as you get to triple digit speeds. Grip levels are good thanks to the wider tyres on the Z trims. That said, most buyers would be happy to trade off the handling for the amazing ride quality of the Ciaz. The ground clearance is ample for our roads and we didn’t scrape the underbelly even on the worst of speed-breakers.

The Ciaz hasn’t been tested by NCAP yet and there are no side airbags even as option

Safety and After Sales Service – Maruti doesn’t offer airbags and ABS as standard on the base V variant of the Ciaz but the other three variants are equipped with these safety features. It is the least equipped car when compared to its immediate rivals, the Hyundai Verna and Honda City in terms of safety. The Verna gets ABS standard across all variants while its range topping variant gets 6 airbags. The City comes with both ABS and airbags as standard on all its variants. The Ciaz hasn’t been crash tested yet by the Global NCAP but considering the low weight of the car (despite being the biggest car in segment) compared to the rivals, we believe the structural strength might not be up to the mark. When it comes to after sales service, Maruti is second to none and has the biggest dealership network in the country by a mile.

The Maruti Ciaz is aimed squarely at the Honda City, the long time king of the C-segment

Verdict – The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz was launched with high hopes and it manages to live up to it. This car doesn’t try to be everything, it is aimed at comfort and delivers that in good measure. Yes, it’s not a handler and the looks aren’t going to make you stop and take notice either. However, for most buyers in this segment who want a well specced car with acres of room, fantastic ride quality and frugal engines, the Maruti Ciaz is difficult to beat. When you factor in the pricing, which is a good Rs. 1 lakh plus cheaper for certain variants over the segment leader Honda City, you realise that the tradeoff in brand image might be worth the money saved for some. The Maruti Ciaz doesn’t come across as exciting but is certainly a very practical choice in the overcrowded C-segment.

The Maruti Ciaz ticks the important boxes for most C-segment car buyers. It’s not a car which will put a smile on your face when you get behind the wheel but it will certainly take you efficiently from point A to point B in comfort. Maruti’s massive dealership network being the icing on the cake here.

The Ciaz did beat the City in sales for a few months but the Honda has taken its lead

What’s Cool

* Generous features list, the Ciaz has a lot of equipment on offer
* Interior space and cabin storage spaces, this car is made with the occupants in mind
* Frugal engines, both petrol and diesel are misers when it comes to sipping fuel
* Fantastic ride quality, this Maruti absorbs bumps with supreme confidence
* Value for money pricing, the Ciaz undercuts all its main rivals

What’s Not So Cool

* Doesn’t look exciting, styling is a bit bland and the car doesn’t stand out
* Handling is neutral at best, the Suzuki magic is missing and the steering lacks feel
* Both petrol and diesel engines are among the least powerful in the segment

Alternatives: Honda City, Hyundai Verna, Volkswagen Vento

The Maruti badge doesn’t have the same snob value as Honda, limiting sales of the Ciaz

Maruti Suzuki Ciaz Specifications

* Engine: 1373cc, VVT, DOHC, 4-cylinder K14B (P); 1248cc, VGT, DOHC, 4-cylinder, DDiS200 (D)
* Power: 92 PS @ 6000 RPM (P); 90 PS @ 4000 RPM (D)
* Torque: 130 Nm @ 4000 RPM (P); 200 Nm @ 1750 RPM (D)
* Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic (P); 5-speed manual (D)
* 0-100 km/hr: 12.1 seconds (P); 11.2 seconds (D)
* Fuel Consumption: 14 km/l (Petrol), 18 km/l (Diesel)
* Fuel Type: Petrol; Diesel
* Suspension: McPherson Struts (Front), Coupled Torsion Beam (Rear)
* Tyres: 185/65/15 Steel (L, V) 195/55/16 Alloy (Z)
* Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front), Drum (Rear), ABS
* Safety: ABS, Dual Front Airbags, Reverse Camera, Rear Parking Sensors

Maruti Suzuki Ciaz Dimensions

* Overall length x width x height: 4490 mm X 1730 mm X 1485 mm
* Wheelbase: 2650 mm
* Turning Radius: 5.4 metres
* Ground clearance: 170 mm
* Boot Volume: 510 liters
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 43 litres
* Kerb Weight: 1010 kgs (P); 1105 kgs (D)

Further Reading –

Maruti Ciaz vs Honda City
Maruti Ciaz vs Honda City – Video

Picture Editing – Sri Manikanta Achanta