The SHVS(Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki) is Maruti’s smart attempt to bring a relatively inexpensive technology to its strong selling midsize car and enhance its appeal even further. How? By simply appealing to the hearts of economy conscious car buyers. With this new tech, the Ciaz diesel will deliver an economy of 28.09kpl, making it the best car for fuel efficiency in India. Interested? Read on
The Ciaz has always been a good looking car and looks even better in this RS version. The RS version gets a complement of body skirts as well as boot lid spoiler to add more visual appeal. The large wheelbase also helps give the car a balanced look. The front end is dominated by the Suzuki grille which gets plenty of chrome, while the rear is dominated by the shapely lamps. Yes, these lamps do look similar to the ones on the Honda City but overall the Ciaz looks like a classy design.
The RS version of the car comes with an all-black interior which gives it a sporty look. The Ciaz shares some components like the steering wheel and power window buttons and control stalks for head lamps with the Swift. That said, quality levels are very high and clearly ahead of all rivals except the VW Vento. The front seats offer excellent all round support as well. The rear seats are supreme of legroom and there is lots of space to keep your feet at just under the front seats. There is generous width at the back which means you can sit three abreast over long journeys. What’s more the 500-litre boot is also amongst the biggest in this segment, making the Ciaz a good highway car.
Engine, performance and gearbox
The Ciaz diesel retains its 1.3-litre diesel motor. This engine develops 90bhp of power. Refinement is excellent, both at idle as well as when you rev the motor hard. But what isn’t impressive is the lazy response to throttle inputs below 2,000rpm. This makes it a bit laborious to drive in choc-a-bloc city traffic. You will have to constantly shift gears to keep the car in the right power band. But that’s not such a bad thing since the gearbox is a joy to operate. Its smooth, slick and effortless to operate as well. The hybrid system works when you are at standstill(like a signal) and release the clutch. It shuts off the engine and the car’s AC will work on battery power for a while. Depress the clutch again and the engine will come back to life in under a second. It’s a system that can be turned off at the touch of a button.
Performance is adequate for the most part and you won’t really feel the need for any extra power. Acceleration is brisk as well.
Ride and handling
That long wheelbase helps the Ciaz to absorb bumps without any fuss. The car manages to handle most bad road surfaces with complete aplomb. At higher speeds the car is stable as well. The steering feels light for day to day city travel but not overtly so that you feel nervous when you go out on the highway. Though it’s not an all-out sporty saloon but still there is some fun to be had for the keen driver, with the responsive steering and relatively dynamic chassis. Overall, it’s a good mix between sporty handling as well as comfortable ride.
Safety and equipment
It gets dual airbags and ABS as standard. You also get, start/stop button, rear AC vents as well as steering mounted audio controls along with Bluetooth connectivity as standard. The top-end version comes with a touch screen infotainment unit, which is just like an iPad device. It’s easy to operate. However, unlike some rivals which get cruise control as standard in the Ciaz it doesn’t come even as an option.
The Ciaz diesel had already established itself as the best diesel midsize saloon in India and with the arrival of the new SHVS hybrid, Maruti has managed to take the game further away from its rivals. With its roomy cabin, refined and fuel efficient engine as well as long list of features the Ciaz is now an even better all-round package than before.