The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz was introduced in 2014 and this is the model’s first comprehensive upgrade since the launch. Upgrades on the 2018 Ciaz include revised styling, updated interiors, more features and most importantly, the new 1.5-litre petrol engine with Smart Hybrid technology, writes David S. Mukooza.
Suzuki was for many years known for its small SUVs mainly the hatchbacks. However, a look at the Suzuki Ciaz tells a shift to the sedans. It is a very posh-looking car that probably shows addition of hybrid technology to its 1.3-litre diesel engine. And now it gets its first significant update which includes a mild facelift and a new larger petrol engine.
The exterior looks posh with the lower end of the bumper changed, and the intake extending all the way to the redesigned fog light housing that is also wrapped in chrome.
When viewed from the side, the only change is a new design for the 16-inch alloys. The rear, too is not very different except for the addition of new LED segments within the tail-lamps. While the makeover is quite light, it is easily identifiable as a new look and one that goes well with the car’s overall premium character.
The Ciaz is a big car probably the biggest in the segment which, therefore, translates to good room inside. The rear seats have got plenty of legroom and even with the front seats pushed back, there is still enough space for tall people to sit comfortably. However the headroom is tight and this is because the driver’s seat feels a bit too high, even in its lowest setting. It has got height adjustable head restraints for the rear occupants, which according to one driver are placed at a comfortable height and did not protrude into his neck. Taller occupants, however, may find it inconvenient. It also has remarkable luggage space.
Looking at the front, the dash board looks very classy and elegant. The steering feel is nice and light, which is great for parking. In any case, the car is set up more for comfort than handling. The steering wheel also features buttons on the right-hand side for the new cruise control system.
Engine and drive
The older Ciaz offered only a diesel engine, but the new one has a petrol engine too. The systems, however, are different. According to CMC motors.com, an online portal, whereas the diesel has a single battery setup, the petrol has a dual battery arrangement, where the additional lithium-ion battery provides assistance more often thanks to its ability to charge more quickly.
Driving the updated Ciaz, you will find the engine to be refined and smooth, with power coming in nice and low. It feels nice and responsive around town. However, the higher you will have to go, as out on the highway you really have to work the engine and gearbox to extract performance.
According to Siraje Mukiibi, who has driven this car before, the gearboxes for the manual unit requires very little shift effort and the clutch is light as well. There is some relief with the overdrive-off button that prevents you from going into top gear, thus helping when overtaking and even descending where some engine braking is provided.
He says via the lever, you can also use the ‘2’ and ‘L’ position for additional engine braking. In terms of overall performance, though, the auto gearbox is strictly for convenience, it has no controls for manual gear changes.
After the upgrade, the ride quality is super and the Ciaz has no trouble ironing out potholes on the road.
The Ciaz has a seat belt reminder for the driver and front passenger too. The Ciaz facelift also gets additions to its safety list in form of auto headlamps, electronic stability programme and of course not forgetting the air bags for both the front occupants and the passengers that make safety assurance in case of any accident.
With the biggest change being the new petrol engine, the Ciaz gets a boost in power and the unit is pretty refined and smooth. The engine’s hybrid technology is also a great addition. While you cannot really feel the electrical assistance, the technology plays a small part in the Ciaz’s class-leading efficiency.
As for the rest of the car, the facelift has increased the Ciaz’s market appeal. On the whole, however, the design still seems normal but posh possibly because the Suzuki has been known for hatch backs here in Uganda.
If this is your cup of tea, the refreshed Ciaz does make for a sensible buy. The car is big on the outside which is a big plus to the market and the size does translate to good space on the inside. Then, as far as equipment goes, it is not a leader in its class of Sedans but it has what you would expect.
The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz facelift is available in seven colour options: Metallic magma grey, Pearl midnight Black, Nexa Blue, Pearl Sangria Red, Pearl metallic dignity Brown, Metallic premium silver, and Pearl Snow white.