The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz was originally launched in 2014 and since then the Ciaz sedan has been a strong performer in its segment and has been the sales leader too, consistently beating the Honda City and previous Hyundai Verna. Recently though, the Honda City got a facelift and the new Hyundai Verna too was introduced. Even Toyota entered this segment in India with the Yaris sedan, making it critical for Maruti Suzuki to give the Ciaz an update. Finally, after weeks of speculation, the company has launched the 2018 Ciaz facelift and we drove it around Bengaluru to find out if the updates are going to be enough to keep the competition at bay or not.
Most of the visual changes in the new Ciaz have been made at the front and the car looks sharper and more upmarket now. The headlamps gets a smoked treatment with a new cluster and a sleek design. The addition of a single streak LED DRL gives the Ciaz a more modern and premium appeal and the tastefully done chrome on the grille and fog lamp bezels adds some freshness. On the side, the only but striking change is the new smoked machine-cut alloy wheel design, which compliments the Ciaz’s elegant character.
Changes at the rear are limited to new LED tail lamps and chrome inserts in the bumper. However, the LED bars in the tail lamp look exceptionally good in dark surroundings, making the rear noticeably different from the previous Ciaz.
Overall, design changes in the new Maruti Suzuki Ciaz facelift are subtle yet evident and effective in uplifting the premium appeal of the car. However, I personally think that for a mid-cycle facelift the car should have had a few more changes, especially on the sides and rear to make it look more different than the older version.
Similar to the exterior, changes in the cabin too are subtle and pleasant. The dashboard now gets a faux wood finish that adds richness to the cabin. The instrument cluster gets a new multi-information display that is energetically colourful. This is the same unit found in the Baleno but being flanked by redesigned circular speedo and tacho pods gives the cluster a modern touch. Another new inclusion is the cruise control, which should prove helpful on highways.
Apart from this, the cabin remains largely similar to the previous version and that isn’t bad since the Ciaz retains strong points such as great rear legroom, good seats and practical and convenient features including the same touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, Aux-in and navigation options.
This is the area, which has witnessed a transformation in the new Ciaz and the changes are quite nice. The old 1.4 litre petrol engine has been replaced by the new K15B 1.5 litre engine, which is not only more powerful but offer higher fuel-efficiency too. The previous engine was adequate at best for the Ciaz but always left one wanting for a bit more. With a power output of 103 hp and 138 Nm of torque the new engine resolves that issue and does a good job of moving the Ciaz with more ease now.
The engine is smooth and is happy to rev to about 6,000 rpm and offers linear acceleration. Achieving triple digit speeds is easier now and overtaking on the highway is also quicker. The other big addition is the SHVS technology across all variants. Unlike the previous system’s larger lead-acid battery, the new system gets a lead-acid and lithium-ion battery. The system not only provides assist during acceleration but also has brake energy recovery and start/ stop. As a result of this, the new Ciaz despite being heavier than the older one by about 30 kg offers higher fuel-efficiency of 21.56 kmpl (claimed).
Gearbox options include a five-speed manual with reworked ratios, especially the 2nd gear, which is shorter now to improve drivability. The unit works well and changes are smooth and the throws are quite short, which coupled with a light clutch makes driving very easy. The automatic option includes a four-speed torque-convertor, which is well-suited for urban environments but fails to hide its limitations of ratios on highways, past 120 kmph. That said, the unit works well in traffic, giving no reasons to complain. The good thing about the 4-speed AT is that it now comes with ESP and Hill-Hold Assist, which improves the safety quotient of the Ciaz along with front dual airbags and ABS.
As a result of all these changes, the new Ciaz is a much better car to drive and is more refined too, which will be appreciated by potential buyers.
While the suspension setup on the new Ciaz is the same as the old one it has been tuned for more comfort. The change is quite evident and the Ciaz now pretty much glides over small surface undulations. Larger potholes are dealt with in a much better manner and the overall ride quality feels more cushioned too. The improved ride quality along with the impressive rear seat comfort makes the Ciaz a great option for people looking to be chauffeur-driven.
However, one thing that felt amiss was the steering, which feels strangely heavy while operating when not in motion. The feedback too felt lesser than that offered in the previous Ciaz. A company spokesperson confirmed that no changes have been made to the steering unit and the additional weight of the steering wheel could be due to the additional weight of the car upfront as the engine alone is about 20 kg heavier than the older unit.
The new 2018 Maruti Suzuki Ciaz facelift is a better car in multiple areas, especially the engine and safety ones. The car, which has always been positioned as a comfortable, practical and elegant car now builds further on its strengths. However, the car isn’t short of drawbacks that have been discussed earlier in this article. This brings us to the price and this is where Maruti Suzuki claws back lost ground with a starting selling tag of Rs 8.19 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi with the top petrol AT and diesel variants costing Rs 10.97 lakh. For its price, the new Ciaz offers exceptional value-for-money and I won’t be surprised if the new Ciaz becomes the best-selling sedan in its segment in the months to come.
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