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Maruti readies its Honda City rival for an early launch

Snapshot: While the new City continues to keep Honda's accounts department happy, Maruti quickly readies its Ciaz sedan for a July launch

Maruti Suzuki had unveiled its Ciaz concept earlier this year at the Auto Expo and the car had received a positive response from the majority of Expo visitors. A near-production version, the Suzuki Alivio, was also showcased recently at the Beijing Motor Show. Now that coupled with the frequent sightings of a camouflaged Ciaz around Manesar and Gurgaon point towards an early launch of the car, possibly around July this year as opposed to the earlier speculation of the car hitting the market in the last quarter of 2014.

The SX4, despite being given a diesel mill by Maruti, continues to occupy space in the company/dealer warehouses/showrooms and we had also reported day before yesterday that the company is now giving a discount of Rs. 91,500 on the soon-to-be phased out model. The Ciaz will replace the SX4 and the new car will be Maruti Suzuki's second attempt of establishing itself in a segment that has been dominated by Honda's City from day one. Maruti had first tried to take on the City when it launched the SX4 in 2007. Though the car did okay initially, it never came even in the vicinity of worrying the Honda.

The new car, however, looks more promising. The Ciaz measures 4545 mm in length, 1475 mm in height, 1730 mm in width, and the wheelbase is 2650 mm long. That means that the car is longer and wider than the Honda City and boasts the best-in-class wheelbase too.  For the record, the new City's wheelbase is 2600 mm long while the overall length of the Honda is 4440 mm. However, the City's height at 1495 mm is 20 mm better than that of both the Ciaz and Hyundai's Verna.

The Ciaz will be come in both petrol and diesel guises, though initially, only the 1.4-litre K-series petrol unit and the Fiat-sourced 1.3-litre multijet diesel unit (that powers the current SX4) are expected to be offered. The possible addition of a 1.6-litre petrol engine and a 1.6-litre multi-jet unit also cannot be ruled out. 

If Maruti is serious about this car then the price across all variants should undercut the Honda City's, while Maruti should be loading it with more features than the Honda too. If it (feature-per-rupee) has worked for the Hyundais; there is no reason why it should not work for the new offering from Maruti Suzuki.

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