Maruti-Suzuki Ciaz makes its global debut in India

Maruti-Suzuki's most-awaited premium mid-size sedan, the Ciaz, made its global debut in India early this week. Replacing the ageing SX4, the Ciaz would battle it out with the Honda City and Hyundai Verna, two popular cars that have hit jackpot in India. When it was first unveiled last month, we stated that the Ciaz could be Maruti-Suzuki's most ambitious attempt yet in cracking the mid-size segment jinx that it has had for decades now. Post launch, we stick to what we said before.

Based on the Concept Authentics that Suzuki displayed at the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show, the Ciaz flaunts a clean design and near-perfect proportions. The upswept headlights and the rectangular chrome-clad grille are typical Maruti design traits that we have grown familiar with. Despite the familiarity, the Ciaz still manages to look unique, thanks to those projectors and superb detailing inside the headlights. The Ciaz shows off its length when viewed in profile with the prominent shoulder line breaking the monotony. The sleek alloy wheels and the boomerang-shaped character line at the bottom spice things up too. From the rear, the Ciaz bears a very strong resemblance to the City, it's chief competitor. The taillight lenses that extend into the bootlid, the integrated spoiler and the black plastic inserts in the bumper adds a touch of sportiness to the Ciaz.

The best-in-class wheelbase of the Ciaz gives the car an extremely spacious cabin in which leg, head and shoulder room would never be in short supply. The black and biege theme all around along with the wooden inserts and chrome accents lend a contemporary look to the cabin. Maruti-Suzuki has taken a leaf out of Hyundai and Honda and loaded the Ciaz with tons of kit. Apart from the regular goodies that are the norm in this segment, the higher variants of the Ciaz have automatic climate control, leather upholstery, steering-mounted audio and phone controls, push button start, reverse parking camera and sensors, rear air-conditioning vents, rear sunshade, Antilock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and dual airbags. A top-end variant equipped with a touchscreen entertainment system is expected to be launched a few months down the line. 

Powering the Ciaz are the 1.4-liter K14 petrol engine and the 1.3-liter DDiS diesel engine, both of which are currenty powering the Ertiga too. Both the engines are mated to a 5-speed manual transmission though a 4-speed automatic is also offered with the petrol unit. The petrol mill generates 91 bhp at 6000 rpm and 130 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm while the diesel unit generates 89 bhp at 4000 rpm and 200 Nm of torque from as low as 1750 rpm. While the power and torque ratings can be claimed as, at best, modest, the Ciaz has recorded incredible fuel efficiency figures during ARAI testing. While the petrol Ciaz delivers 20.73 km/l, the diesel returns an incredible 26.21 km/l, making it India's most fuel efficient car. This, along with Maruti's unshakable reliability, rock-solid reputation and widespread after-sales service, would bring in hordes of customers for sure.

For now, the Ciaz is available in a range of 6 petrol and 4 diesel variants. Prices for the base VXi manual petrol variant starts at INR 6.99 Lakhs and goes up to INR 8.59 Lakhs for the ZXi(O) variant. The automatic variants are available in two trim levels - VXi+ and ZXi+, priced at INR 8.65 and 9.34 Lakhs respectively. On the other hand, the base VDi diesel variant retails for INR 8.04 Lakhs while the ZDi(O) variant tops out at INR 9.80 Lakhs. All prices are ex-showroom Delhi. That's good pricing by Maruti-Suzuki, undercutting the City and Verna by quite a margin. 

With pre-bookings running into several thousands, we believe Maruti-Suzuki is finally staring at a much-deserved and much-needed success in the mid-size segment. The SX4, Baleno and Kizashi shall rest in peace knowing that the Ciaz has well and truly taken over the mantle.

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