Ever since the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza was launched about four years back, it has dominated the sub-compact SUV segment. In present time though, four years for any car without an update is too long and not a good sign. Keeping that in mind, Maruti Suzuki recently launched the updated Vitara Brezza, which has had a complete change of heart, literally. From sporting an all-diesel variant lineup the Brezza will now be powered by a petrol engine only. Will this shift to petrol along with some cosmetic and feature updates be enough to keep the competition at bay? We tried to find out the same in the party capital of India, Goa.
If you see the updated Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza coming towards you the changes at the front are clearly visible. The updated chrome grille along with a headlamp cluster adds a dash of premium flavour to the front. The LED DRLs, which double up as turn indicators are mostly seen on luxury cars and look great in the Brezza. The new bumper also does a good job of adding some rugged appeal to the SUV-ish front.
Move to the side and the only major change is the new 16-inch alloy wheels with an impressive design. At the rear too the easily visible change is the new LED tail lamp, which looks rich and attractive by the way.
While the changes at the front are nice the side and rear should have had more changes after a four-year update. The company’s reasoning is that the original Brezza design is loved by people and hence they didn’t want to mess with it. That said, the new Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza facelift does look more premium than its predecessor but also left me with the feeling that a lot more could have been done with the exterior design.
Changes in the cabin of the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza are even fewer than the ones on the outside. Easily identifiable visual changes include a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a new seat cover pattern. The Smartplay infotainment system continues to be smooth and easy to use with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. New additions include the ability to use your smartphone as a remote for the system and to access vehicular data such as fuel-efficiency remotely. The other noteworthy additions are automatic headlamps and wipers, adding convenience and safety. Cooled glovebox and sliding armrest are the other two good things that have been carried on and add considerably to occupants’ comfort.
Beyond this, things are largely the same and hence there is no change in the space available inside the cabin. That’s a good thing since the Brezza always had good space and is still one of the most spacious vehicles in its segment. With the 60:40 split seats at the rear, the vehicle still continues to offer good storage flexibility. That said, it’s a little hard to understand why popular features such as wireless charging and internet connectivity haven’t been added. Hopefully, they will be soon enough.
Now let’s get down to the biggest change in the Vitara Brezza facelift and that’s the engine. The old 1.3 L diesel engine has been discontinued and the new one is now powered by a 1.5 L K-Series engine, which is BS6 compliant. Power output is rated at 103 hp while torque is 138 Nm @4,400 rpm. Choice of transmissions includes a five-speed manual and the ageing four-speed automatic torque convertor unit. The engine has impressive low-end grunt and hence even at under 2,000 rpm the engine doesn’t display any major lag. Once past 2,500 rpm acceleration is brisk and there’s enough power for an enjoyable drive.
With the petrol engine, one of the biggest changes in the new Brezza is the low NVH, which translates into a refined driving experience and cabin. The manual gearbox has been paired well to the engine and as a result of this one doesn’t need to downshift frequently in traffic. The gearbox also compliments the engine’s power and makes it a joy to drive the new Vitara Brezza. The AT unit, on the other hand, falls short of complimenting the engine’s impressive performance. Having only four ratios, they are quite tall and take away the joy of driving. Shifts are executed at an average speed but the gearbox hesitates to respond to quick kick-downs.
If your usage is going to be primarily within the city then this gearbox should be fine but for spirited or highway driving, it will leave you wanting for more most of the times. Maruti Suzuki needs to get a more modern torque convertor unit at the earliest possible since Brezza’s key rival, the Hyundai Venue already comes with a Dual-Clutch Transmission.
The other key addition is here is the Smart Hybrid Technology, which is the same as seen on other Maruti cars such as the Ciaz and Ertiga. The mild-hybrid system includes idle start/stop and brake energy regeneration with torque assist. This helps in increasing fuel-efficiency and lowering emissions. The only downside, however, is the fact that this technology is available only with the automatic variant for now. Hopefully, Maruti will bring it to the manual versions also soon.
With no key changes to the chassis and suspension of the Brezza, the handling is still the same. The lighter engine at the front does make the steering feel a bit lighter but not to the extent of making it feel nervous at highway speed. Around corners, the Brezza continues to be surprisingly good and despite some body-roll, it can go around bends impressively quick. Brake setup is the same as in the earlier model and the initial bite is sharp and performance is satisfactory. A bit more feedback through the pedals though would have been better.
With the suspension set slightly on the firmer side, the Brezza offers a balanced ride quality. The vehicle manages to iron out most undulations at slow and high speed from the cabin, making it suitable for all sorts of practical uses.
Fortunately, safety is becoming an increasing concern for Indian car buyers these days. The Vitara Brezza had already delivered well on this front in 2018 when it received a four-star crash rating by Global NCAP. With no changes to the structure of the vehicle, the new Brezza should offer similar levels of safety. ABS with EBD and front dual airbags are standard offerings. Hill Hold Assist is also on offer but only on the automatic variants.
The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza facelift is priced between Rs 7.34 to 11.40 lakh and while this is competitive pricing, it isn’t aggressive. The updates to the Vitara Brezza have certainly made it smarter and more premium than earlier and a few new convenience features are a welcome addition as well. The biggest change in the form of a petrol-only lineup too is good every performance aspect seems much better now. However, many people question if the Brezza could see a big decline in sales due to no diesel option being available. It’s a genuine concern but I don’t see this hitting Maruti Suzuki significantly. With just about 17% sales coming from diesel vehicles overall, the company is anyway banking on petrol for the future and the new Vitara Brezza is a step in the right direction.
In a nutshell, the new Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza is significantly better than the earlier version and is well-priced too but it does leave me wanting for more as if something’s missing. This is not what I felt when I drove the first Brezza as it was ahead of the competition at that time but doesn’t set a big new benchmark in its new avatar. That said, if ‘must-have’ features are concerned, this Maruti has it all covered and that’s what makes me believe the Brezza will continue to be one of the top-selling vehicles in its segment if not the top one.
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