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2018 Maruti Suzuki Ciaz – Expert review

2018 Maruti Suzuki Ciaz – Expert review

Snapshot: Maruti spices up the Ciaz with fresh new looks and a lot more. Midsize sedan buyers have never had it so good.

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It’s a tough ask being a midsize sedan. Buyers upgrading from hatchbacks want the best of features, backseat comfort, fuel economy and a whole lot more. Most buy a midsize sedan to keep up with the Jones’s. Maruti knows all this too well and has finally updated the Ciaz, its midsize sedan. From the outside the effects are good. But has the update been too little too late or has Maruti got an ace up its sleeve that will help bring back buyers into its showrooms?

Exteriors

You have to agree that the outgoing car was starting to show its age. Maruti hadn’t updated it since 2014, when it was launched. The new Ciaz gets an all new nose section, which gives it instant chutzpah. The bolder grille with more prominent headlamps along with the heavily sculpted front bumper make it look like an all new car. From some distance and at some angles it is reminiscent of the Tata Tiago/Tigor, bearing a similar smiley face. But there is no denying that the car now looks more posh and upmarket than before.

The side profile is similar too, but Maruti has used bigger alloy wheels on the Ciaz which give it a more imposing stance. The rear lamps get new LED elements in them now and you also get chrome surrounds around the lower ends of the bumper.

Interiors

The cabin is a sea of beige and feels plush. The Ciaz has always been generous on space and it’s no different on the new car. You get the same amount of head and shoulder room at the back like before. It is class leading in the back seat department. The front seats too offer generous support. Equipment wise you get two airbags, ABS as standard across the range. You also get auto headlamps, rear park beeper and electronic stability program (AT only), and hill hold assist (AT only).

The boot at 510-litres is massive as well and easily one of the best when it comes to gobble up weekend luggage or those airport transfers.

Engine, performance and gearbox

The big news is the arrival of an all-new engine. The petrol 1.5-litre engine makes 104bhp and 132Nm of torque. Both these are higher than the last 1.4-litre engine. You also get mild hybrid assist on offer across the range, which means you get enhanced economy. The claimed mileage figure is better at 21.56kpl for the manual and 20.28kpl for the automatic.

If we were in your position then we would simply avoid the four-speed automatic. It feels lazy to respond to throttle inputs and can get annoying sometimes. Also, with only four speeds it runs out of breath rather fast on the highway as speeds increase.  The manual gearbox is nice and easy to operate. The throws are light and the action is positive and sporty. The light clutch also makes it a joy to operate. The best part about the engine is its nice and smooth response. The engine feels muted for the most part and has good power delivery till around 4,500rpm. After this mark though it starts feeling a bit stressed and you will have to use the engine revs and gearbox judiciously to get the best from the motor.

Chances are that you won’t be pushing this car too much thanks to the speed warning system which beeps twice every 60 seconds above 80kph. It becomes even more irritating once you cross 120koh with a continuous beep. Maruti has done this in anticipation of an upcoming government directive that requires all cars to have a mandatory speed warning system.

Ride and handling

The Ciaz was never really an out and out driver’s car and it’s no different with the new one. But that said, it’s not a boring car to drive. The steering has decent communication and the car feels very reassuring when driving on the highway. Even at slower city speeds the Ciaz manages to soak up most of the bumps and potholes with ease. The tyres offer good grip levels and the brakes are good as well.

Summary

The Ciaz has the best seat in this segment. That said, the new engine makes it better rounded than before. But what truly makes the car stand out is the fact that its brilliant value for money undercutting most rivals. If you want a no nonsense midsize car then the Ciaz has a lot going for it.

Photography - Mohd. Nasir

  

 

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