Maruti Suzuki will be launching the Ciaz in mid-October, the car replaces the SX4 in the company’s line-up. First showcased at the 2014 Auto Expo, the Ciaz Concept did generate a lot of interest but with all Suzuki cars, the design highlights go for a toss when it hits production. With the Ciaz though, Maruti has managed to keep the attractiveness of the vehicle intact and it does look good. Maruti is betting big on the Ciaz and has roped in Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh to be the brand ambassador of their flagship product.
Contrary to popular belief, the Maruti Ciaz isn’t the longest car in the C-segment, that honour goes to the Fiat Linea which has a length of 4560 mm, the Maruti being the second longest with a 4490 mm length. The Ciaz does have the biggest wheelbase in its class which at 2650 mm gives it ample rear seat room. The Ciaz has a width of 1730 mm and a height of 1485 mm, it runs on 195 mm tyres (16-inch alloys on the Z+ while Z variants get 15-inch alloys and the rest get steel wheels). Driver side airbag is offered on the V+ variants while the Z trims get dual airbags.
Lot of equipment is loaded in the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz but most of the gizmos are reserved for the top spec trim including 16-inch alloy wheels, climate control AC, 5-inch touch-screen audio system (with Bluetooth, navigation and voice recognition), dual airbags, leather seats, push button start and keyless go. Other features offered include projector headlights, rear AC vents, ABS, parking sensors, steering mounted audio controls and sun blinds for rear seat passengers. New trims have also been introduced, the Maruti Ciaz is offered in a total of 8 variants – VXi, VDi, VXi+, VDI+, ZXi, ZDi, ZXi+ and ZDi+. The car will be offered in seven colours and bookings have commenced (for Rs. 21,000/-) at all Maruti Suzuki showrooms across the country.
The interiors of the Maruti Ciaz share a lot of parts with the Swift (like the power window switches) which isn’t really a good thing. The dashboard layout isn’t the best either with squarish elements, there is some absurdity in the design of the centre console. The seats do look comfortable and the rear has an almost flat floor. Considering the width of the Ciaz, this car should be able to seat five people with ease. The boot is big at 510-litres, in fact it’s the biggest in the C-segment. The petrol Ciaz weighs 1010 kgs while the diesel version tips the scales at 1105 kgs.
The Maruti Ciaz looks promising when it comes to the exteriors and interiors but disappointment starts to kick in once you glance over the engine specifications. The Maruti Ciaz is offered with both petrol and diesel engines which have been tuned for improved drivability, quicker response and better economy. The petrol unit is the least powerful in its class, the 1.4-litre K-Series unit from the Ertiga outputs 95 PS of power and 130 Nm of torque, ARAI mileage being certified at 20.73 km/l.
The diesel engine is the same 1.3-litre DDiS unit, again from the Ertiga which produces 90 PS and 200 Nm, the ARAI fuel economy being 26.21 km/l, making the Ciaz India’s most fuel efficient car. Both the engines are coupled to a 5-speed manual gearbox (a 4-speed auto is an option for the petrol) and are frugal but lack performance in front of rivals which produce a lot more output. Maruti should have plonked in more powerful engines in the Ciaz to compete with the Honda City and Hyundai Verna, the latter being by far the most powerful.
Maruti Suzuki has benchmarked the segment king with the Ciaz and this isn’t the first time India’s largest car manufacturer has tried to lure buyers away from the City, they tried it twice before and failed miserably. With the Ciaz, Maruti is trying its level best to go upmarket and till date the company hasn’t found success in the Rs. 10 lakh plus segment. The Ciaz has a lot riding on it, it will be the most expensive Maruti car in India and is also the top of the line sedan for Suzuki as the Kizashi has been discontinued.
Being a Maruti, pricing will be spot on but is that enough to make it sell. We are sure the Ciaz will sell in good numbers initially but will it sustain those numbers is something only time will tell. Dealers of the company aren’t too focussed on selling cars like the Ciaz as the volumes are low and the competition is high, leading to more efforts. Maruti being considered as a cheap car maker (or rather a car company that makes small vehicles) won’t have it easy to sell a Rs. 10 lakh plus car in a brand conscious market like ours, where people blindly go and buy the City because it’s a Honda.