The last few days were pretty grim for the Indian auto industry. The country’s premier automaker, Maruti Suzuki, announced that they will no longer be selling diesel vehicles from April 2020. There were many questions that auto enthusiasts as well as journalists were asking. However, MSIL hasn’t answered any of them. Two questions that were pertinent; why the introduction of the all-new 1.5-litre diesel as well as if the ban was only on the 1.3-litre DDiS. While we don’t know answers to either, we got a chance to sample Maruti’s new engine. In the process, we have the road test of the new Maruti Suzuki Ciaz 1.5 diesel ready for you as well.
Traditionally, Maruti has shied away from diesel engines. At least developing them. Earlier it used a Peugeot-sourced engine and for the longest time and still used is the Fiat motor. The first, all-new in-house developed engine was the one used in the Celerio. However, poor sales and NVH lead to the demise of that engine in the Celerio. Maruti still uses it in the Super Carry LCV. This new 1.5-litre motor is said to be derived from the same engine, however, there are a lot of changes and hence the motor can be called “all-new”.
We wouldn’t want to bore you with all the technical gaff and instead concentrate more on the drive experience of the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz 1.5 diesel.
Is the new 1.5-litre diesel engine as noisy as the Celerio’s?
Contrary to this, the diesel engine is quiet. Okay, the Hyundai Verna has the refinement division tightly clasped in its hands. However, the Ciaz will definitely be the second. At start, the typical clatter can be heard however it is muted in the cabin. Way better than the 1.3-litre diesel motor. Vibrations are not present at regular 2-5krpm. However, anything above it and you do feel a hint from the pedals.
Better to drive than the DDiS 190?
Ohh yes. The new diesel engine has 25Nm more torque and because of the larger capacity, it is tuned with a lower compression ratio. The power too has increased by 5PS in the process. This being said, you can drive the Ciaz 1.5 over speedbreakers without shifting to first gear. Second gear and sometimes third is more than enough to deal with traffic conditions. The clutch is light and has a nice progressive action. Maruti does gearboxes extremely well and this new 6-speed unit has been developed in-house.
What’s not a surprise is that this engine is rev happy. Even the puny 800cc unit in the Celerio liked revs. Not only this, the new Maruti Ciaz 1.5 diesel also demands lesser gearshifts in traffic conditions. This was one bug bear with the smaller 1.3. In terms of fuel efficiency, the Ciaz diesel delivered around 14.3kmpl in city driving and 21.1kmpl on the highway. The taller 6th gear helps it cruise at 100kmph in just under 2,000rpm, thereby making for a relaxed driving experience.
Anything else I need to know?
There is no SHVS tech offered with this car. If you happen to spot this car in traffic, there are no badges, apart from the DDiS on the sides. Of course, with the facelift, Maruti has started putting SHVS badges on the boot lid for both petrol and diesel Ciaz vehicles. There are no other additions or deletions on the variant line up as well.
Let’s talk about the handling and ride quality now. The Ciaz is softly sprung. This shows in the way it absorbs bumps at low speeds. While the ride quality is pliant, we believe the underbody insulation could have been better. One can clearly hear the thuds in the cabin. On the handling front, the Ciaz is not really an enthusiast’s machine. It sits a notch above the Verna in this aspect but still trails the Honda City as well as the Skoda Rapid.
There still is ample amount of space in the cabin and that’s the USP of the Ciaz. It is the biggest car in its segment and it shows in the interior space.
A vehicle just can’t be perfect
The Ciaz isn’t perfect either. Maruti could have introduced the BS-VI version with this update. Moreover, there are certain things which could have been fixed too. Given that the City as well as Verna, the two main Ciaz competitors, offer factory-fitted sunroofs, Maruti too could have. The auto headlights, don’t get a separate on function. So, if the headlight sensor conks off, you won’t be able to drive in the dark.
If you were updating the vehicle with a new engine, the much better infotainment offered in the cars like WagonR and Baleno could be added here too. The SmartPlay infotainment system, while being easy to use, becomes laggy with use.
Final words on the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz 1.5 diesel
The Ciaz 1.5 diesel is offered in the top three trims. As far as the Maruti Ciaz 1.5 diesel price in India is concerned, it is Rs 17,000 to 30,000 more than the 1.3. At the price hike, you get a more powerful, less stressed diesel engine that will (likely) be BS-VI compliant in the future. We feel that the premium is justified and the Ciaz which recently celebrated its hold over the C-segment will likely carry the mantle for another few years.
Things we like about the Maruti Ciaz 1.5 diesel
Torquey engine, better NVH, ride quality
Things we didn’t like about the Maruti Ciaz 1.5 diesel
Still not an enthusiast’s car, could have got more features, dated console and interface