The Maruti Ciaz SHVS is the latest champion of the prestigious million-rupee sedan segment and the new blockbuster from the Indo-Japanese automobile giant. The car has finally given Maruti its first hit in the premium sedan market and thus Indian automobile website MotorBeam.com decided to induct the car into their long term fleet to see how well it does as a member of the family.
One of the main reasons for the Ciaz' success is the sheer size of the car. It is among the longest and widest cars in its segment with the flowing lines, swept back stance, tastefully used chrome, multi-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels and the trendy Hofmeister kink in the window line further increasing the visual appeal.
A huge 500-litre boot and projector headlamps complete the package. Some grouses are there like some panel gaps and the paint quality, which though is really good with respect to Maruti standards, but still some faint amount of orange-peel effect can be seen if observed closely.
Just like the exteriors, the interior is also a vast expanse of high quality plastic and leather which feels extremely airy due to all the beige on the doors and centre console. The switches are a straight lift from lower Marutis and even have the same amount of play in them.
The panel fitment and plastic feel is of good quality, but at the same time it is not as well put-together as say a Hyundai Verna. The Bluetooth is easy to connect but the set-up itself is very cumbersome and needs too many inputs. The sound quality and visibility is great but a foot-rest is sorely missed.
The rear seat is where the real magic happens as there is simply acres of legroom in the back. The seat-back angle is just right and the rear armrest is also positioned adequately.
There is also a pull up type rear sun-shade and ample space to put knick-knacks. The rear air-con vents have a nice throw but the adjuster is a little flimsy and loose. And yes, the rear windows do go all the way down.
Press the chrome-ringed start-stop button and you will hear the familiar sound of the national engine of India coming to life. The diesel clatter is a bit louder on the outside but close the door and you will be impressed by the cabin insulation levels.
The 1.3-litre DDIS MultiJet diesel engine is running a higher state of tune producing 90 PS of power, which does sound a bit less on paper for a big C-segment sedan, but the Maruti surprisingly weighs just over 1100 kgs only. This results in acceptable levels of performance.
The on-road dynamics of the car harkens back to the days of the first generation Maruti Swift diesel, which had a shallow low-end but a horse-kick of a push when the turbo starts spooling up around 2000 RPM. The mid-range is strong and the motor will pull to 5300 RPM which is quite impressive for a diesel powerplant.
The USP of the vehicle is the SHVS mild-hybrid system, which results in an ARAI rated fuel efficiency figure of a whopping 28.09 km/l. But in real world and in a congested city, one can easily achieve 18-19 km/l, with users even reporting more than 26 km/l with highway use.
The MID shows average fuel efficiency number which we found to be fairly accurate after comparing it with the traditional tankful method.
In terms of handling, the car is set more towards comfort. The ride quality is great and you will forget that something like a small speed-breaker or a flyover expansion joint exist. At the same time, the Maruti Ciaz leans a fair bit when taking a corner at high speed.
The steering is numb and doesn’t weigh up as much as one would expect at highway speeds. Overall, the car is at its best when driven sedately.
The Maruti Ciaz is a C-segment sedan which will pull the heart-strings of those who like to be driven around in utmost comfort and style. The SHVS equipped vehicle provides additional benefits to its owners in the form of great fuel efficiency and benefits in some places like Delhi, where it doesn't have to be part of the odd-even rule.