Maruti Ciaz 1.5 Diesel Review
Car Tested: Maruti Ciaz 1.5 Diesel; Road Test No. 1122; Test Location: Mumbai
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 11.70 - 13.56 lakhs
The Maruti Ciaz finally gets the diesel engine it deserves which delivers excellent fuel economy and driveability
The Ciaz has been a hit seller for Maruti. The affordability quotient, great fuel economy, and superb comfort has made the Ciaz the top choice in the segment. However, the chink in the armour was the car's proven but old diesel engine that couldn't match the rivals in terms of modernity. The Fiat-sourced 1.3-litre MultiJet diesel is extremely efficient and performs well but it is showing its age. Besides, the company has exited from the Indian market and the old engine cannot be upgraded to the upcoming BS6 norms. Maruti had predicted this and was busy in developing a new 1.5-litre diesel engine. The new engine has come at a time when diesel engines are losing the grip on the market. Can the new in-house developed engine be good enough for Maruti to make a comeback in the diesel game? We find out.
Motor Quest: Maruti has extensively depended on Fiat's MultiJet diesel engine to power its cars. Maruti extensively localised this engine, giving it the advantage of lower costs. The engine's decent performance, good reliability record, and stellar fuel economy made it a household powerplant with other brands like Tata and GM having relied on it at some point. But it seems that all good things must end. Fiat plugged out of the Indian market this year and the MultiJet is following the same route. The old diesel engine cannot be upgraded to the stringent BS6 norms due to feasibility reasons. For a few years now, Maruti has been developing the 1.5-litre diesel engine. It is not the first attempt for the company as it has made the 800cc diesel for the Celerio. The new engine promises to be refined and economical.
Exteriors - Nothing has been changed on the outside. The Ciaz is a smart-looking sedan with nice details like the premium looking alloy wheels and handsome headlights. The length of the car makes a strong impression, sometimes giving you the feeling, of it being more than what it actually is. We like the simplicity of the design which seems to have aged rather well.
Interiors - Inside is identical as well. The plush leather seats and the light beige theme make the cabin look really premium. We still like the minimalistic, if sometimes plain, design of the dashboard. It aids in making the interior user-friendly. The acres of room at the front and at the rear gets our vote as does the classy instrument cluster. We would've liked a more responsive infotainment system though.
Acres of space in the cabin has always been the Maruti Ciaz's strong point
The Ciaz, with the new engine, is more expensive than before. We feel it was a missed opportunity for Maruti to add in a few features to justify the added cost. The cabin still does without equipment like wireless charging, ventilated front seats and the crucial sunroof.
Performance - The Maruti Ciaz 1.5-litre diesel has been developed in house and thus has taken so long to come. Based largely on the twin-cylinder engine which powered the Celerio diesel and also did duty in the Super Carry LCV, the Japanese automaker took two units and retained the bore on the motor while reducing the stroke to make the oil-burner under 1500cc, thereby complying with tax norms for small cars (the same engine will also do duty in other Maruti cars). On paper, the specs might not be too impressive as far as output goes since 95 HP and 225 Nm is just an increase of 5 HP and 25 Nm, no way class-leading, in spite of being the latest engine to join the fray.
The new 1.5-litre diesel engine is extremely refined and frugal
This new diesel engine will replace the Fiat-sourced powerplant which has done duty on all Maruti cars for more than 12 years now. So in comparison, it certainly feels better in all areas other than lacking the mid-range punch. Turbo lag is better contained in the new 1.5 motor but it still isn't punchy lower down (not in the same league as the Honda City diesel as far as drivability goes) while the mid-range doesn't offer a kick in the pants feel, overall delivery is very linear but this car does have a top-end, redlining above 5000 RPM. Gearing is on the taller side in the interest of fuel economy which again blunts performance, however, ARAI numbers stand out at 28.62 km/l, that too without any SHVS on this powertrain. Real-world economy hovers between 17-22 km/l.
Where the new Maruti diesel has taken a great stride is in terms of NVH, it might lack the mid-range punch offered by the Hyundai Verna but is on-par as far as fuel NVH goes, being quite smooth and refined. This is indeed a big step for Maruti Suzuki because the engine on which this 4-pot mill is based on, was anything but silent. To achieve refinement, Maruti has integrated a dual-mass flywheel and the motor runs on a lower compression too, it's made of aluminium unlike the cast iron used by the Fiat source motor, thereby being 20 kgs lighter as well. However, the car uses a fixed geometry turbocharger, not a variable one which we believe will be offered on a higher state of tune on bigger cars. The 6-speed gearbox is new as well, it slots in smoothly and offers precise shifts with the clutch being light.
Driving Dynamics - The Maruti Ciaz 1.5 diesel sees no change in dynamics and thus there isn't much to talk about because the suspension is soft, offering a great ride over bad roads. It's only big bumps which catch out the car at high speeds and makes it bouncy. However, high-speed stability is great although insulation isn't the best and you can hear a lot of the road, especially in this diesel as it's quite silent at lower revs. The handling is decent but this isn't a car for enthusiasts as there is quite a lot of body roll on offer but what really dulls the driving experience is the steering wheel which just lacks any sort of feel or feedback, it's also very inconsistent, being heavy at lower speeds in the centre and not weighing up as you reach triple-digit speeds. The brakes do offer good stopping power and the tyres have ample grip with the 1.5 diesel not getting traction control.
Safety - The Ciaz is based on the same platform as the Vitara Brezza which has scored commendable 4-star rating in Global NCAP. The Ciaz does feel more solid than other Marutis but lacks the last degree of solidity offered by some rivals. The safety equipment also seems conservative. Again, a missed opportunity to add 6-airbags. Most of its rivals get more than 2 airbags. The new diesel engine is likely to be as reliable as before.
Verdict - The new 1.5-litre diesel in the Ciaz is a fantastic motor. We are delighted at how refined the engine is and the superb driveability it provides. The new engine has opened up the potential of the Ciaz even more. But we still think the timing could've been better. The engine took too long to come and Maruti is sceptical of upgrading it to the BS6 norms. Till then, there is no denying that this engine truly outclasses the old Fiat motor and promised to be as good as any other in the segment.
* Minimalistic and elegant styling
* Spacious and comfortable interior
* Fuel-efficient and refined diesel engine
* Good ride quality
What's Not So Cool
* Infotainment system could be improved
* Still lacks certain features and safety equipment
* Steering could have offered more feel and feedback
Alternatives: - Hyundai Verna, Honda City, Toyota Yaris, Volkswagen Vento
Maruti Ciaz 1.5 Diesel Specifications
* Engine: 1498cc, 4-Cyl, Diesel
* Power: 95 HP @ 4000 RPM
* Torque: 225 Nm @ 1500-2500 RPM
* Transmission: 6-Speed MT
* Fuel Consumption: 17-22 km/l
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Tyre Size: 195/55/16 (Front & Rear)
* Suspension: McPherson Strut (Front), Torsion Beam (Rear)
* Brakes: Disc (Front), Drum (Rear)
* Safety: 2 Airbags, ABS with EBD
Maruti Ciaz 1.5 Diesel Dimensions
* Overall length x width x height: 4490 mm X 1730 mm X 1485 mm
* Wheelbase: 2650 mm
* Turning Radius: 5.4-metres
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 43-litres
* Kerb Weight: 1590 kgs
Further Reading -
Maruti Ciaz 1.5 Diesel
Maruti Ciaz 1.5 Diesel Review
The Maruti Ciaz now gets a new diesel engine which is way better in terms of refinement, driveability and fuel efficiency. It makes the Ciaz so much better to drive. Yes, Maruti could have added some more vital features with the car, but otherwise the sedan fares well in terms of space and comfort along with having a nice VFM quotient.