At the Maruti Suzuki pavilion at the Auto Expo—called Transformotion 2.0—three car models stand out: Concept Ignis, Concept Baleno RS and Vitara Brezza.
Concept Ignis is a compact urban car built on a new-generation platform which, the company says, makes vehicles more rigid, safer, light in weight, more fuel-efficient and quieter. Its design, in the concept form, is bold and unconventional. When it is launched sometime during the festive season (September-October 2016), it just might create waves among India’s fast-maturing compact car segment.
Concept Baleno RS is a sporty version of the company’s premium hatchback Baleno. When launched—again in the festive season—it will become the first car from Maruti to be powered by a turbocharged engine. The company claims the 1.0 BoosterJet direct injection petrol motor offers an exhilarating drive feel.
However, over the last three days, it is the Vitara Brezza that has been attracting maximum eyeballs. To be launched next month, this sub-4 metre SUV will be positioned below the S-Cross and will compete with Ford EcoSport, Mahindra TUV300 and the soon-to-be-launched Tata Nexon. Its development was led by Maruti Suzuki executive director (engineering) CV Raman.
The Vitara Brezza will initially come only with a diesel engine option—the 1.3-litre DDiS 200 that powers the smaller version of the S-Cross—mated to a five-speed manual transmission. “The use of pendulum engine mount system—which minimises transfer of vibration from engine to passenger cabin—and effective application of acoustic insulation materials around the cabin and engine compartment ensure low NVH levels,” said Raman.
The design of this SUV comes across as strong and masculine; in fact, it looks even more macho than the bigger Grand Vitara. The front fascia with an unflinching styling and a bold chrome grille, and the signature Bull Horn shaped LED lights with turn indicators in the front bumper lend it distinctness. The side appearance is enhanced by 16-inch wheels, squarish wheel arches, high ground clearance and upright hood. The overhangs—the lengths of a car which extend beyond the wheelbase at the front and the rear—are short, giving it a butch stance. The raised beltline—the line going from the hood which usually follows the bottom edge of the windows and continues to the trunk—too adds to the distinctive look. The roofline slopes down gently towards the rear.
The cabin not only has a futuristic layout, it is functional too. What immediately attracts attention is the cockpit-style instrument cluster with mood lights—one can change cabin lighting colours depending on the mood. In addition, the smart meter cluster, sporty front seats and the versatile flip-folded rear seats stand out. Like the Baleno, the Vitara Brezza will also get the SmartPlay infotainment system.
It meets offset and side impact crash tests that will come into force in India in 2017. Raman added that the Vitara Brezza is the first vehicle in India to be certified by the homologation agency for meeting these future regulations. “Driver airbag is standard, and front passenger airbag and ABS with EBD is offered as an option from the base variant onwards. A stronger, high-tensile steel body not only offers superior ride-handling, but also enhances occupant protection along with Suzuki Total Effective Control Technology (TECT) body structure,” he said.
It is high on personalisation. On offer are theme-based options—called Glamour, Urban, Sporty—and the customer can choose any of these to match her personality. In fact, the dual-colour scheme—the roof and body in different colours—is a category first.
The Vitara Brezza, we have reasons to believe, will give tough competition to both the EcoSport and the TUV300. If priced intelligently across variants, it might just take away some Creta sales too. After all, it promises to offer style, glamour, features and customisation, some of which have never been seen earlier in SUVs in India.