Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza AMT Review: Best-selling subcompact SUV just got better!

Overall rating: 4

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza AMT review: The addition of this gearbox is likely to further propel Maruti Suzuki’s sub-compact sensation to greater heights than ever before. The real question though is how good is the AMT really and is it just another low-cost AMT with drivability compromises or any better.

By: | Updated: July 4, 2018 4:55 PM
The Vitara Brezza AMT still keeps the original boxy charm of the standard Vitara Brezza with a new colour scheme for the body and the rims

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza AMT Review: The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza is the most successful sub-compact SUV in India, running Maruti’s production-lines to maximum capacity month on month. This is despite the fact that the Vitara Brezza has been missing a petrol variant and up until now, an automatic version too. As traffic in urban areas worsens, an automatic gearbox is the need of the hour. The Vitara Brezza AMT, like the Ignis, Swift and Dzire, will make use of a Magneti-Marelli sourced 5-speed AMT gearbox.The addition of this gearbox is likely to further propel Maruti Suzuki’s sub-compact sensation to greater heights than ever before. The real question though is how good is the AMT really and is it just another low-cost AMT with drivability compromises or any better. We recently found out and came back a bit surprised.

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza AMT: Exteriors

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza AMT: The big miss on the Brezza AMT is the removal of crusie control even in top trim!

Visually, the changes on the Vitara Brezza AMT are limited to 16-inch machine cut alloy wheels with a gloss blackout treatment and a new burnt orange colour option; officially called Autumn Orange. Overall, the new rims and the orange colour makes considerable difference allowing the AMT version to stand out from a line of manual Vitara Brezza'. The other change, in-line with Maruti Suzuki’s new design mandates is the fact that the sub-compact SUV now comes with just the Suzuki logo on the tail gate instead of the ‘Maruti Suzuki’ and variant names such as VDI, ZDI, etc.

The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza AMT will continue to be powered by the Fiat-sourced 1.3-litre turbo-charged diesel motor that makes 90 hp and a considerable 200 Nm of torque, mated to the Magneti Marelli 5-speed gearbox that can be found on other stablemates. However, it seemed that the gearbox has been tweaked to improve refinement.

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza AMT: Interiors

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza AMT: Keeps most of its interiors intact, with the addition of ISOFIX seats in the back

On the inside again, the changes have been kept as subtle as needed with the only major change being the fact that ISOFIX Child Seats have been added to the rear seats, a more than welcome addition. A disappointing change is that, the AMT Brezza, even in top-trim misses out on cruise control. This was probably done to keep cost in check but that said, it was one of the features that really set the Brezza apart from the competition.

The remainder keeps in tune with the remaining variants of the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, featuring the SmartPlay touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and navigation on the range topping ZDi+ Variants. That said, one of the strongest points of the Vitara Brezza AMT remains the roomy interiors, liberated by the car’s boxy design language. Another thing we like about the interiors of the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza are the front seats, which offer excellent lumbar support and do a great job in enveloping the occupants, making the Brezza great to be in, both, in city traffic and over long drives. The rest of the interiors also keep in line with the usual Maruti -style focus on practicality with cubbies, bottle holders and cup holders all in well-appropriated spots in the front and back, the 328 litre boot that can be folded in front to liberate even more space.

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza AMT: Driving Performance

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza AMT: The 5-Speed AMT on the Brezza is perhaps the best performing AMT from Maruti stables!

AMT gearboxes are here to stay, they are economical to install, scalable and in our growing cities, they exponentially decrease the strain of driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic. As a result, the AMT gearbox too has evolved over the years. That said, the 2018 Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza gets a more evolved version of the 5-Speed Magneti Marelli Automated Manual Transmission or AMT that we have seen in all Maruti Suzuki cars. Throw the stick in D, lift off the break and the Vitara Brezza AMT pulls cleanly off the line, thanks to the creep function which has been designed to allow the vehicle to move smoothly in between traffic.

This is unlike previous AMTs, which we have seen can be a little jerky off the line. For the most part, keep a steady foot on the throttle and the Vitara Brezza go around smoothly with shifts less noticeable than some other AMT models in the market. Put your foot down to make a quick overtake and there’s considerable lag before the AMT shifts down and hurls the Brezza forward.

The engine on other hand still has its own bit of lag under the 2, 000 rpm mark until the turbo kicks in, meaning that it is best to drive between two and three thousand rpm. However, if you really want the shifts to work seamlessly you could also choose to throw the gearbox in manual mode, which is best for spirited driving. Even downshifts are met with an almost instantaneous blip of the engine as the rpms are matched. We did notice that it’s best to gently lift of the throttle such that shift times are more responsive. On some steep inclines however, we have noticed that the Brezza does struggle to get off the line with a short pause before the power starts flowing through to the front wheels.

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza AMT: Ride And Handling

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza AMT: The New colour and blacked-out rims go a long way in making the Vitara a more attractive offering, visually!

Comfort and ride quality are more or less the same in the Vitara Brezza AMT as is on the standard car, meaning that the balanced ride quality still allows sharp bumps to enter the cabin at low speeds but most other undulations are dealt without bothering the occupants. At triple digit speeds the Brezza stays planted and the steering too is stable and confidence inspiring. However, anywhere beyond 130 kmph is where the Brezza starts to show signs of discomfort as the it starts to become a bit floaty.

Watch our Video Review of the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza AMT:

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza AMT: Verdict

Maruti Suzuki’s Vitara Brezza has been one of the company’s most successful cars in recent times, meeting the country’s need for a practical, compact SUV that was cheap to own and good to drive. With the optional automatic in tow, we expect Maruti will be running their production lines to the ragged edge. The Vitara Brezza AMT range starts at Rs 8.54 lakh for the VDI trim and tops off at Rs 10.49 lakh for the ZDI+ trim. In the interest of perspective, the Tata Nexon Diesel AMT does get the additional driving mode features as well as more power, but we think that the Vitara Brezza will still sell more. The Rs 50,000 premium over the manual Vitara Brezza is easy to justify if your daily drive requires you to cross an ever-increasing ocean of traffic.

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