Maruti Suzuki’s Ciaz sedan has emerged as one of the best-selling models in the A3 segment of the Indian automotive market, garnering a 34 % market share in 2017-18. The Ciaz in its previous avatar offered consumers a decent amount of features and abundant seating space. The stalwart brand has now introduced a midlife facelift of the Ciaz, which not only offers a new design and more features but also brings in a brand new 1.5 l petrol engine. We take a closer look at the design, technology and engineering updates introduced on the new Ciaz.
Maruti Suzuki has been relentless when it comes to updating and improving its offerings in India. The company carried out the same with its popular Ciaz sedan that has sold over 2.2 lakh units ever since its launch back in 2014. While carrying forward all the attitude and zeal of the previous model, Maruti Suzuki has lent a new level of charm and sophistication on the Ciaz. This includes technological updates and the larger 1.5 l petrol mill that puts power figures past the 100 hp mark. The new petrol mill is also being offered with Maruti’s SHVS (Smart Hybrid Vehicle System) that features a brand new lithium-ion battery and a smaller lead acid unit.
EXTERIOR DESIGN, STYLING & FEATURES
The midlife facelift of the new Maruti Suzuki Ciaz features some bold changes that are quite prominent and noticeable to a layman. Eyes are easily drawn to the façade that is now busier than before. Leading the way in the front are projector headlamps and new LED DRLs, but this is not an ordinary set-up. The headlamp cluster’s design has been reworked and appears swanky. The set-up features an all-LED illumination and includes the new LED fog lamps as well. The headlamps have also been redesigned to look sharper, giving the front an edgy new look. They also get an auto-on and auto levelling function.
Another prominent change in the front is the ‘multi-pixel’ grille in piano black with a chrome upper and lower lip, housing the bold Suzuki logo. The new Ciaz gets a healthy dose of chrome all around; the front bumper has also been nipped and tucked to look smarter. It features chrome inserts around the fog lamps that compliments the overall sharp look of the new Ciaz.
The new LED projector headlamp and DRL set-up is not being offered as standard fitment. It is only available on the Zeta and Alpha variants. Same is the case with the LED rear combination lamps that are available on the top two variants. The Sigma and Delta variants are being offered with Halogen projector headlamps but do not get the LED DRLs. The LED rear combination lamps look quite unique and spruce up the appeal in the rear. The top spec Alpha variant of the Ciaz also gets a chrome garnish on the boot lid. Another feature one can easily miss is the glass antenna that has been incorporated as standard.
The sides don’t see much change, except for the new 16-inch precision cut alloys with a dual tone metallic pebble grey finish. Apart from the new set of alloy wheels, the new Ciaz comes with the same body coloured ORVMs with turn indicators and chrome door handles offered on the Zeta and Alpha variants. Maruti Suzuki’s keyless entry system continues to be used on the new Ciaz with a button on the front door handles and the boot. The new Ciaz is available in seven new colour options, including the Nexa Blue variant that we were driving. The new facelift essentially retains all the classy design elements of the outgoing model, but also adds a sporty new character to this popular sedan from the stables of Maruti Suzuki.
INTERIOR FEATURES & DESIGN UPDATES
Step into the cabin of the new Ciaz and you are greeted with warm and earthy interiors. These have been bolstered with birch blonde wood finish on the dash and door trims of the new Ciaz. Maruti Suzuki is also offering satin chrome accents, adoring the spaces of the cabin, giving the sedan a new premium appeal. The space being offered inside this sedan is unparalleled in this segment. Seating is quite comfortable and the cabin exudes a roomy feeling. The leather seat upholstery gives a plush feel to the occupants and broad seats ensure adequate seating space. The rear bench is more or less flat with a non-intrusive floor tunnel.
In terms of features, the company has added cruise control on speeds above 40 km/h on the new Ciaz. The addition of automatic headlamps with auto levelling also aid convenience and bolster the safety outlook of this car. On the safety front, Maruti Suzuki is offering reverse parking sensors as standard on the new Ciaz with reverse parking camera being offered on the Zeta and Alpha variants. The petrol options with the automatic transmission will also get ESP (Electronic Stability Program) with a hill hold function as standard.
Other safety tech includes seat belt reminders for the driver & passenger, speed alert system, ISOFIX child seat mounts, ABS with EBD and dual airbags as standard. Maruti Suzuki has incorporated a new 4.2 inch TFT colour display that is available only on the petrol variants of the Ciaz. The Multi Information Display (MID) also comes with a green illumination that depicts economical
NEW 1.5 L PETROL MOTOR
The new 1,462 cc four-cylinder petrol engine (K15B) that Maruti Suzuki is offering on the Ciaz has been brought on board to provide a better consumer perception of the sedan’s performance capabilities. This new motor is 13 % more powerful than the outgoing K14B engine and churns out a neat six per cent more torque. Power figures are rated at 103.25 hp at 6,000 rpm, while max torque stands at 138 Nm at 4,400 rpm. The new K15B engine features updates made to the bore & stroke, crank shaft, connecting rods, cylinder block and intake system. Not only is the new motor more powerful it is also more efficient – rated nearly seven to eight per cent more than the previous motor.
This improved efficiency is primarily due to a new set-up that Maruti Suzuki has incorporated on the Smart Hybrid Vehicle System (SHVS). As opposed to the previous SHVS design, the one incorporated on the new Ciaz features a dual battery set-up – a combination of a lead acid unit and one lithium-ion unit. The lead acid battery is smaller than the one used on the previous model, while the characteristics of the lithium-ion are to charge and discharge quickly. The ability of the lithium-ion battery to provide boost as well as start/stop is governed by regeneration of power through braking and deceleration. Thus in city driving, this set-up can provide higher efficiency, whereas the same cannot be attributed to highway driving. A 2.5 kW motor assists in boost depending on driver input, but comes with the limitation of only being able to provide this function when headlamps are off, as primary importance is given to headlamp and tail lamp illumination. The lithium-ion battery provides a longer life span than that of the three to four years life of a lead acid battery, thus reducing the replacement cost.
The characteristics of the new engine remain similar to the previous model. Peak power is achieved high up in the rev band and the climb up in terms of acceleration is very linear. The 1.5 l petrol motor feels more peppy and fun to drive. On highways overtaking feels easier with the sedan gathering momentum with ease. A new 4-speed torque converter automatic transmission has been mated to the new engine. It is smooth and pleasurable to drive in the city as well as on highways. The creep function on the auto is decent but may catch you off guard. Maruti Suzuki continues to offer the 5-speed manual transmission on the new Ciaz. While the automatic caters to a smoother and more relaxed drive experience, the manual version feels a lot livelier to drive.
Despite being a facelift, Maruti Suzuki has ensured the Ciaz gets just the right amount of features and design elements to ensure its rejuvenation in the minds of the Indian consumer. As a value proposition, the Ciaz now has a lot more than before at a remarkably reasonable price. The top specification Alpha automatic variant that we were driving has been offered for ` 10.97 lakh (ex-showroom). The Ciaz wears a contemporary look and continues to be spacious. Combine all this with the best fuel average figures in the segment and Maruti Suzuki appears to have ticked all the boxes with the new Ciaz.
TEXT & PHOTO: Joshua David Luther