Suzuki Ciaz: Value for Money
The budget sedan market is booming in South Africa, but what stands out among-st them is Suzuki Ciaz. This car takes all the limelight as it is fuel efficient. The Suzuki Ciaz has been facelifted for 2019 and we were lucky to drive the car to Limpopo for a weekend.
Suzuki has added some more in-car tech to modernise the Ciaz’s infotainment system, transplanted a more powerful petrol motor into its engine bay and topped off the exterior look with LED lights.
The new engine under the Suzuki’s bonnet delivers 7 more kilowatts than before. The 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated (non-turbo) 4-cylinder petrol motor produces outputs of 77 kW and 138 Nm of torque, which are slightly under par compared with those of its rivals, yet the Ciaz doesn’t feel gutless. Aided by a light body and revvy engine, the 1.5 GLX has more than enough zip to scurry along, whether in the confines of the city or on the freeway.Suzuki engines are typically fun to rev eagerly and the 1.5 GLX is no exception. By utilising a lively right foot and the fast-shifting 5-speed manual ‘box you may find yourself venturing towards the motor’s rev limit often – not that it would be of major concern to budget-oriented sedan buyers. The Ciaz may be a gear short of the Corolla Quest, but at freeway speeds the revs are low enough that it doesn’t feel like the ‘box needs a 6th gear.
The claimed fuel efficiency is 5.5 L/100 km, and we can vouch that if you drive the 1.5 GLX conservatively, you can easily achieve that figure. Throughout our 2 000-km test, we averaged a frugal 6.2 L/100 km, much of which was with a car loaded with baggage and filming equipment.
Starting with passenger space, rear legroom is generous – the bench easily seats 3 passengers. Rear head- and shoulder room are satisfactory and the boot measures 480 litres, which is a bit bigger than those of its rivals. The rear seats don’t fold down, which seems like a bit of an oversight, especially because it limits the Ciaz as a family car. You can bet that at some stage you will need to carry something longer than the length of the boot and because the seats don’t fold down, you’d be stuck. As a fleet buyer, it’s not likely to be an issue, but it may be a deal breaker for families.
On the road, the Ciaz is quiet and well insulated from the wind and tyre roar in ways that budget car offerings usually aren’t. It’s pleasant and comfortable with an easy clutch/shift action that won’t be arduous in congested traffic. The ride is geared towards comfort, so the suspension softens out bumps and ruts smoothly. Because it’s light, it still feels nimble in the bends and promotes confident driving. It’s a very easy car to acclimatise to.
Suzuki has updated the Ciaz’s interior by modernising its infotainment system, which brings some welcome digitisation to the Ciaz’s cabin. The infotainment system now features a 7-inch touchscreen that incorporates a feed from a reverse-view camera, the latter of which is a rarity in this segment. The setup is Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatible, but it would be best to check whether your smartphone’s fully compatible with the system during the test drive… we had issues with a few Android smartphones (Suzuki does have a few troubleshooting options if you struggle).
The instrument cluster has gained a central digital screen that displays the trip computer; it’s a simple, but effective, way to improve the ambience of the cluster. Automatic climate control is a nice-to-have, as are the steering wheel-mounted controls for the radio and newly added cruise control.
Suzuki’s major advantage in this segment is the leather upholstery, which is standard on the 1.5 GLX derivative. Having sat on many a dirty cloth-trimmed seat in Uber cars, leather is most welcome on a car in the “UberX segment”.
The driver’s seat, despite being height adjustable doesn’t go low enough for taller drivers (181 cm and above). You have to deal with a very raised driving position and be ever mindful not to knock your head on the door frame every time you exit the vehicle.
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