Maruti has been lately trying its hand at new segments or even giving its take on the segment- whether it be a crossover like S-cross or the new Baleno. But the company has taken on a different challenge with the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz SHVS – creating a hybrid for Indian roads. The Ciaz has created a space of itself in the Indian market by offering a comfortable drive enclosed in a large yet smooth sedan frame.
The Ciaz has created space in the C2 sedan segment and the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz SHVS is an attempt at boosting its status as a competitor to the Honda Amaze and Honda City. This is Maruti’s attempt at de-seating the Honda City from the top of the charts.
Maruti is generally known for its value-for-money vehicles rather than comfort. Keeping in mind, India’s commitment to the Climate Change goals, the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz SHVS is an attempt to provide something that suits Indian roads, the lack of electric charging stations, pricing and simply, the Indian consumer’s lack of comfort with electric vehicles. It is a halfway-there hybrid specially engineered for the Indian roads. It is supported by the government’s FAME scheme and is simply the old Ciaz with new Engine technology.
This is Maruti’s attempt at restoring its image in the urban sedan segment, after attempts such as the SX4.
The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz SHVS doesn’t look any different from the earlier version of the car. Maruti has played it safe by retaining the original Ciaz frame, which has been appreciated for its looks and design.
The Ciaz SHVS exudes brilliant road presence with its huge chrome grille and large swept back headlamps. The shape of the car is streamlined the curves on this one are great as the top transitions smoothly to the boot. The rear has been kept sharp and smooth.
The side profile of the Ciaz SHVS gives it class and makes it seem longer than an average sedan. At 4490 mm it is not too long, but just about the right length to create a street presence that differentiates it from any run-of-the-mill sedan.
The Ciaz design altogether looks like something that you want to drive along city streets as it offers the right amount off space on the road. It is not too short, nor too long for navigation. A neat shoulder line across the car works well.
The rear of the car looks stylish. The boot is stylishly smooth with the design lines across the rear spoiler. You will either like it or you want. But, sufficient to say, it does compliment the rest of the car. The plastic air vents at the bottom are just for show and do not really give the car a sporty look. Rather they seem misplaced.
The SHVS logo is the only difference in terms of design, between the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz SHVS and the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz.
Overall, the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz SHVS has a smooth look and feel to it. It doesn’t really make you pick it up and start racing, but rather it is something you would take out on a date, wearing a tux.
The interior of the Ciaz is a far cry from the regular Maruti deal. The leather seats are plush and the black and beige color scheme for the interior definitely gives it a classy feel. Maruti has played it safe with the interior, yet it has kept a special focus on comfort.
The top dash has been kept black while the lower dash has been kept beige. These soft tones make the Ciaz easy to look at and more importantly, sit and drive in.
In terms of controls, it offers leather interiors and an integrated touch-screen music system with navigation and parking assist. There are air vents in the front and back in striking black with a touch of chrome. The Steering wheel of the Ciaz SHVS is leather and chrome themed – it is wrapped in leather with a chrome logo, which gives it a premium feel. It gives you voice controls for phone connectivity below the steering and for stereo atop the steering wheel itself.
The dials are interesting as well, you will know when the engine is taking power from the battery as a teal ‘SHVS’ logo lights up every time it does so. There is also gear shift indicator that will continuously let you know the optimum gear for maximizing fuel efficiency. The leg space is wide and makes the car pretty comfortable to sit in and drive. Both rear and front legroom are spacious. Along with that, Maruti has put in various cubby holes, which you can use to keep your stuff. The Ciaz has a cozy ambiance on the inside.
The top-of-the-line variant that we had for review offered us additional features such as The top of the line Z+ trims get features like auto aircon with rear vents, leather upholstery, park assist, AVN, keyless entry and an engine start/stop button.
The cabin of the Ciaz is comfortable and makes you feel right at home with accommodating looks, wide legroom and easy feel all around the car.
We had the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz ZDi+ SHVS (diesel for review) powered by Maruti’s trusted DDIS engine technology. It comes with an integrator starter generator with a 1.3-litre diesel motor. As far as the fuel efficiency is concerned, we generally had a great time with the car. You don’t need to worry much about fuel efficiency since this one is not a fuel guzzler. But the important point to note is that it is not a full hybrid either. You don’t need to charge the battery like you would on an electric car, which is great given the general electricity situation in India. Not keeping the Maruti Suzui Ciaz SVHS is a conscious decision and a good one, considering the Indian auto environment.
|How does the SHVS engine work? And why in the world do they still call it a ‘Hybrid’?|
|Well, it is a simple concept actually. A petrol/diesel Ciaz SHVS is supplemented by the electric battery that actually helps the engine by supplementing it with an alternative source of energy and helps save fuel by supplementing the engine here and there.|
|How does the Ciaz SHVS match up to a regular hybrid?|
|Well, it doesn’t and neither is that the intention behind the car. Simply, this is an engine technology designed keeping in mind the Indian consumer and the Indian environment. Full hybrids will not be of any use in protecting the environment since 60 percent of our electricity is still derived from coal. So, the whole logic of an electric car is not suited to the current Indian environment.
The model we had for review came with an integrator starter generator with a 1.3-litre diesel motor. As far as the fuel efficiency is concerned, we generally were more than satisfied. It produces 88.5 BHP of power and 200 nm of Torque – which seems like, truly an underreach for a car such the Ciaz.
But the car has been intelligently designed which is something you will realize once you take it out for a drive. The car is wide, yet light, which gives it a linear torque delivery and makes the engine seem optimum for powering the car, even at high speeds of 140 Km/hr.
It clocked speeds of 100 Km/hr easily, although the clutch kind of stiffened at high speeds.
The Petrol version of the Ciaz comes with a 1.4-litre, four cylinder engine, producing a power of 94 BHP and torque of 130 nm. It comes with 5-speed manual transmission.
Ride and handling
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Maruti has put an out and out focus on the ride part in the Ciaz. Comfort has been the key with the Ciaz. The suspension is soft and works well. Even on tough roads, it does not make you feel the potholes and speed bumps. The turning radius is good for this sedan and the Ciaz can even cut through sharp corners easily. The steering is soft but still leaves you with ample control.
The braking system on the Ciaz though is something we really found brilliant. Even when braking on high speeds, the ventilated disk brakes and ABS responded quick and well.
The Ciaz does seek to compete in the C2 segment but doesn’t lose its identity, while doing so. It is not much of a muscle car, but a comfort car that wants you to be snug in its cabin.
In all round performance, the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz SHVS does well. It is a wide car that kind gives you the feeling that you would want in any sedan, of gliding through roads. The SHVS engine offers to extend the fuel economy on this model which should appeal on anyone interested in this car.
A special word here for the ride quality and road handling, which we found to be great. Despite coming with an SHVS engine, the Ciaz is better priced than the competition. Maruti has definitely delivered a micro-hybrid at an economy price, which is unique in itself and the USP of this car.
If it is comfort you are looking for, get out and drive the Ciaz SHVS. You won’t be disappointed.