The price is right: Ciaz is value for money

The Asian Age.  | Michael Gonsalves

Business, Autos

Interestingly, the car gives out a beep sound whenever you hit a speed of 120 kmph and it cannot be turned off.

Maruti’s usual approach has always been a crowd-pleaser, and this facelift is no exception.

Maruti Suzuki's flagship sedan Ciaz has been carrying forward the battle in the mid-size sedan segment for sales growth quite comfortably since it was first introduced in 2014 under A3 segment. It has been fighting it out with the top two contenders like the Honda City and the Hyundai Verna.

This facelifted Maruti Ciaz, along with updated cosmetics, gets a new larger 1.5-litre K Series petrol engine and for the first time ever on a Maruti petrol, the Smart Hybrid system (SHVS) as seen on select diesel models.

Is the fresher Ciaz now a better car? I took it for a long, long drive to find out how does it feel to own and drive one.
The Exterior
Maruti's familiar approach has been to please everyone and this facelift is no exception. Although it is a mild makeover, it has been crafted well to look more premium and upmarket, and this works well for the Ciaz and to its sheer size.

The front grille now stretches between the two headlights, and the top and bottom edge of the grille are outlined by chrome strips, giving the front a classy look. LEDs now dominate, with the new Ciaz getting LED DRLs, LED headlights and LED fog lights.

 The horizontal slats seen on the earlier grille are now replaced by multi-segmented dashes with the 'S' logo placed at the centre. The lower end of the bumper too has been tweaked, with the intake extending all the way to the redesigned fog light housing which has also been in chrome.

The Interiors
The Ciaz was already available with the SmartPlay infotainment and reversing camera, but what is new is the colour 4.2-inch display between the dials. Apart from showing little dials with real-time power and torque outputs, and efficiency information, it also shows you just how the Smart Hybrid system works. Space is easily the selling point of the Ciaz with large comfortable front seats, and a plush rear bench. Legroom in the back will be most appreciated, though headroom is not the best since the seats seem a little high set. Ergonomically, the front cup holders feel a little too far forward, and Maruti-Suzuki should have offered more than the standard two airbags on the top end variant.

The Drive Experience
The new 1,462 cc K15B petrol engine, with its Smart Hybrid System, using an additional lithium-ion battery for deeper charge/discharge capabilities, results in providing assistance more often due to its ability to charge more quickly. It also gives a good mileage for such a large car. You can also feel the Smart Hybrid regenerative braking at work if you pay real close attention.

The petrol engine itself is very quiet and refined, churning out more power and torque, making 105 hp at 6,000 rpm and 138 Nm of torque at 4,400 rpm.

Driving the updated Ciaz, you discover the engine to be refined and smooth, with power coming in nicely and smoothly. It feels great and responsive around city roads but you will have to work the engine and gearbox to extract performance on the highway.

 The steering feel is nice and light, which is great for parking. The overall ride quality is super and the car handled the potholes and ruts on the drive quite well. Even the speed breakers too were cleared easily as it scraped only once going over quite a few speed breakers on our long drive.

Interestingly, the car gives out a beep sound whenever you hit a speed of 120 kmph and it cannot be turned off. I guess it is a good alert for the speeding driver. In anticipation of an upcoming government directive that requires all cars to have a mandatory speed warning system, Maruti has rolled out the Ciaz with this function, along with a seatbelt reminder for the driver and front passenger too.

Should I buy it?
The top-end Alpha petrol variant is priced at `9.97 lakh and there are other options too for that price. But at that price Ciaz is great value for money and it will definitely make you think twice before you decide your favourite model.