Maruti likes to be at the top of their game and has been the King when it comes to the overall sales numbers, and that’s true for almost every segment in which it is present. For the mid-size sedan segment though, it is not True. Company’s Ciaz competes with the City and other cars like the Verna, Vento etc. The City offers futuristic looks combined with unbeatable value that even the market leader Suzuki finds hard to beat and so far trails behind with its Ciaz in the second spot. The Ciaz is the second best-seller in this segment and has caught the pace by beating the earlier closest rival, which was Verna.
The diesel hybrid, aka Ciaz SHVS (Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki) would equip Maruti with what no other manufacturer offers in this segment till now. But will it catapult Maruti into the top spot and more importantly is it good enough? We put together all top diesel cars of this segment and find out the most worthy buy.
Design and Exteriors
The Ciaz looks modern and has an understated, low-key style, followed by Vento which is another car that uses the same design philosophy. The Verna and City are well-sculpted and the interplay between the surfaces is extremely modern looking. Verna may not be to everyone’s taste but is indeed hard to ignore. Designers have done a great job with the City and the latest City is sharp and looks very futuristic. It’s Vento that looks like the best assemblage of the understated and modern design elements.
The Ciaz is the longest (4490mm) and widest (1370mm) car among all and not only that, it has the longest wheel base (2650mm) too; hence the space. The Ciaz wins the battle-of-dimensions without breaking a sweat. The Hybrid is just like the old Ciaz on the outside as well as the inside except the badge 'SHVS' that’s present on the boot.
Engine and Mileage
The SHVS stands for – Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki. This would sure be a game changer since no other manufacturer offers a Hybrid at this price point right now. The Ciaz offers a lower displacement engine as compared to all other rivals but there’s an upside to this – It is the most efficient car in its class and the Hybrid technology makes the diesel even more frugal. Where the old diesel offered 26.21kmpl, the Hybrid will deliver 28.09kmpl. The Ciaz diesel wins the mileage battle squarely which offers 2.29kmpl more than the closest rival - City which offers 25.8kmpl and 7.59kmpl more than the Vento diesel which offers 20.5kmpl. These are all ARAI figures and there would be certaily some drop in real world conditions but Ciaz makes an impressive claim nevertheless.
In the performance department, the Ciaz cannot match any of its competitors. While the power figure (89bhp) of the Ciaz diesel is far less than the most powerful Hyundai Verna which puts an impressive 126bhp, the torque figure of 200Nm is just about okay and is equal to what the City has to offer. That said, you get just about adequate performance from the Ciaz for everyday use.
Hybrid Technology Edge – Ciaz SHVS
The start-stop Hybrid system can be activated by the driver with the press of a button that's present on the dashboard. This Hybrid system is somewhat similar to the one that Mahindra calls ‘Micro-Hybrid’ on the Scorpio and XUV. When the system is active, it shuts the engine (whenever it detects a halt that exceeds 4-5 seconds duration) and restarts the engine as soon as the driver presses the clutch. This saves significant fuel in start-stop traffic.
The Ciaz SHVS also has an energy regenerating function which comes into effect when the system detects that the car is undergoing deceleration. The system recovers the braking energy and feeds it back into the electrical system of the vehicle. The electrical energy that’s recuperated is used by the Power Assist system which assists the engine as a motor while the vehicle is running.
The SHVS diesel comes with all the bell and whistles like projector head-lamps, electrically foldable ORVMs, automatic climate control, rear AC vents, rear parking sensors, keyless entry, alloy wheels, power steering, steering mounted controls, airbags etc. Some of the features are available on the high-end variants only.
While all cars in this category offer these features with the high-end variants, the Honda City offers electric sunroof on the VX trim which others don’t. Verna offers six airbags (side and curtain in addition to driver and front passenger frontal) with the top end variant while all other cars offer only two. Cruise control feature is present on the top variants of City and Vento, while it does not find place even in the top variants of the Verna and Ciaz.
The SHVS Hybrid diesel would replace the old diesel engines and would costs about Rs. 15,000 more than the respective counterparts they would replace, the price is indeed small considering the technology advantage and as a result, improved mileage that it has to offer. The Ciaz has always been the most inexpensive car in this segment and we think, even with the marginal hike, it still offers the best value.
With the Ciaz SHVS Hybrid, Maruti has become even better at the Mileage Game, which has been its forte so far. The car is set to make some dent in the sales number of the City and others alike – This is our prediction. Maruti may not top the leader board just yet but might come very close to the City this time.
Watch comprehensive video review of the Ciaz below