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?
This perception change can only happen with upmarket, elegant exterior styling. The good news for Maruti fans is, the Ciaz most certainly looks like an expensive car. The large head lamps, the in-your-face chrome grille and the stylised bumper give the Maruti Ciaz an air of richness. The profile dominated by the strong shoulder line that runs from the front fender all the way into the tail lamp along with those nice looking 16 inch wheels lend the Maruti Ciaz an elegant but youthful stance. The blacked out B-pillar helps, as does the stretched feel for the panels. Check for features & price of Maruti Suzuki Ciaz
At the rear, the tail lamps are clearly inspired by the new Honda City, but the Maruti still manages to look more rounded. The rear bumper, like the one at the front, is well styled and lends the Ciaz a hint of aggression. The chrome strip on the boot lid further enhances the sedan’s appeal.
The interiors of the Ciaz are completely new and different from any other Maruti car. The neatly laid out dashboard has a seven-inch touchscreen system. The higher variants get automatic climate control. The steering is shared with other models but it gets a leather wrap as also the gear knob. The top variant gets leather upholstery also. The Ciaz is comes loaded with features like push button start, keyless entry, bluetooth connectivity, navigation, reverse parking camera and sensors.
The Ciaz is not stingy on spacious too. There is good head room and leg room available. The seats are not the best but provide good comfort. It could have done with some more under thigh support. The boot is large and can fit in quite a lot of luggage with ease. This makes it a very practical sedan that can be used for weekend getaways too. The Ciaz S offers all black interiors and even the centre console has grey chrome finish on it.
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;
While the Ciaz doesn’t get an entirely new motor, it does get a fairly reworked version of Maruti’s own K14 petrol unit found on the Ertiga. The tweaks to the engine focus on improving driveability and maximising fuel economy. To achieve that, Maruti has modified the cylinder head to raise the compression ratio from 10:1 to 11:1 and the revised head design allows for a better tumble of airflow at low speeds. Also, the air inlet track has been lengthened to further improve low-end torque. To counter heating problems and engine-knocking, issues that are typically associated with higher compression motors, long reach spark plugs and a more efficient oil pump have made their way into the motor. Despite all these changes though, peak power and torque figures have pretty much stayed the same.
On the face of it, the petrol version doesn’t come across as enthusiastic since a power output of 91bhp (at 6000rpm) is a pretty ordinary number for a mid-size sedan. However, in-gear timings are good – the Ciaz is pretty responsive and has a nice urgency about town. The engine pulls quite well from
low revs and you don’t have to work the gearbox much; and even when you do, the light clutch and slick shifting ’box (albeit not as nice as the Swift’s) takes away the effort from city driving. But find an open stretch and explore the K14 motor’s powerband, and you soon realise the power delivery is pretty flat. The mid-range isn’t particularly strong; this engine doesn’t like to be spun hard and gets pretty noisy as the tachometer closes in on its modest 6,200rpm redline.
Flat-out performance is fairly decent, with the dash to 100kph taking 12.02 seconds. However, it’s the unenthusiastic way the Ciaz picks up speed that makes you feel that it’s not as quick as the numbers suggest.
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.
DRIVING DYNAMICS ;
Now if you like driving, the Ciaz might not be the car for you. It has a precise steering and you eventually learn how much steering input to dial in but it isn’t great on feedback. It just isn’t in the same league as the Volkswagens and the Skodas. But, if you are looking for a comfortable long distance cruiser, you will like the Ciaz’s easy nature. Good straight line stability and potent braking, is of course an added plus.
The Maruti Ciaz rides well too. It has been setup for comfort over all else and it’s evident in the way the car rides. It’s softly sprung, so at slow speeds and over broken roads, it remains comfortable. However, at higher speeds and particularly over undulating roads and with load, the Maruti Ciaz does tend to wallow.
The Ciaz is backed by the large dealer and service network of Maruti Suzuki, looks good, delivers good efficiency numbers and starts at a price tag of Rs 7.73 lakhs. Has an optional AT variant, petrol engine and a number of variants whose prices go all the way up to Rs 10.5 lakhs (all prices ex-showroom, Delhi).
In our books, Maruti Suzuki has come a long way than being a manufacturer that’s known for being cost efficient and deliver good fuel efficiency. The company still delivers on those promises and so much more.
If you are looking for a sedan in the sub-10 lakh segment, then the Ciaz is definitely worth a shot.