There’s no other car manufacturer in India which can succeed in every segment. Having a popular product across every price bracket is something Maruti Suzuki excels in and has almost always got it right with new models. It’s no joke to hold on to the largest market share in the country for decades. If there’s one manufacturer which can sell even a half hearted attempt, then it has to be Maruti Suzuki. And only because of the trust they have created with the target audience.
In recent times, the Indian car customer has evolved from ‘low seated’ sedans to ‘high seated’ SUVs. The best example being the D1 & D2 segment which are now non-existent thanks to products like the Mahindra XUV500, Hyundai Creta, Toyota Fortuner, etc. who literally killed the sedan competition in this price range. But it’s not big SUVs which are growing alone, utility vehicles under Rs. 10 lakh have been growing for the past couple of years with increasing acceptance from the audience for such cars. It was the Renault Duster & Ford EcoSport which started this trend of sub 10 lakh SUVs in India which lead to more competition such as Mahindra Quanto, Mahindra TUV300, etc. Compact-SUVs might feel like hatchback on stills, with almost similar cabin space available, but the commanding driving position & tough exterior profile has caught the attention of every new car buyer for the moment.
Called the ‘Vitara Brezza’, this is Maruti Suzuki’s 2nd attempt at an off-road friendly product for India. Not so long back, they launched the S-Cross crossover, which rather failed to attract audiences. But the Vitara Brezza is a proud moment for team Maruti. This product has been conceptualised, designed & built completely in India. Top officials claim that where the Baleno is their way of leading the ‘Make-In-India’ initiative; the Vitara Brezza is their answer to ‘Made-In-India’.
Maruti Suzuki has launched the Vitara Brezza compact-SUV in India priced at Rs. 6.99 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
Price list: (ex-showroom Delhi)
* LDi: Rs. 6.99 lakh
* LDi (O): Rs. 7.12 lakh
* VDi: Rs. 7.62 lakh
* VDi (O): Rs. 7.75 lakh
* ZDi: Rs. 8.55 lakh
* ZDi+: Rs. 9.54 lakh
* ZDi+ (Dual Tone): Rs. 9.68 lakh
Maruti Suzuki is eyeing to capture the maximum market share in the segment in the next 12-24 months and has set a target of dispatching 1 lakh units in the 1st year alone. Quite optimistic, but not too tough considering how strong the brand connect is in India.
So, what is the Vitara Brezza. Does it have what it takes to outnumber competition? We took it out for a drive around Pune for 200 km to find out…
Styled 100% in India, for the Indian customer, the Vitara Brezza is surely a good looking product in the compact-SUV segment. With a proportionate design, and without a tailgate mounted spare wheel, this new kid on the block looks rather styling when compared to competition such as Mahindra Quanto & TUV300.
The Vitara Brezza measures 3,995mm in length, 1,790mm in width, 1,640mm in height and has a wheelbase of 2,500mm. With a kerb weight ranging between 1,170 – 1,195 kg, the Brezza is rather light for its ‘SUV’ image.
When you look at the Brezza from the front, this is clearly the most aggressively styled Maruti Suzuki model currently on sale. In the centre, you have a H-shaped chrome grille with a toothed pattern rear set (Behind the grille). Below, you have a trapezoidal honeycomb mesh grille followed by a silver skid plate at the bottom. The Brezza gets smoked headlamps with projectors and LED DRLs. The turn indicators however have been mounted just above the black fog lamp housing. This really adds character to the front end of the vehicle. The lowest section of the vehicle gets black plastic cladding to keep it going on rough roads without worrying about the paint. The bonnet gets crease lines on either ends.
Come to the side profile and the first thing you notice, especially on the top end trims is the dual tone body colour. The roof gets two options of paint – black or white. Also, the floating roof design stands out very well even on single tone body colours. The D-pillar (Or call it a C-pillar since this is a compact-SUV) gets a small gloss black accent which separates the roof from the lower body. The glass section (for the windows) on the Brezza isn’t too large, hence giving the vehicle body (metal work) a tall look. It does get small silver roof rails, but this is purely cosmetic. Rear view mirror gets LED turn indicator and there are very subtle crease lines on the side. There’s no body mouldings on the side, but you get an extra strip of body cladding on the side. Pull type door handles get a request sensor for keyless entry. What’s unique are the box shaped wheel arches which look decent. We only wish the alloy wheels were a little more funky, Maruti has been playing safe with the alloy design starting from the S-Cross, then Baleno and now the Vitara Brezza. But the company claims that those who need something more styling can choose from the accessory packages.
Coming to the rear, the Vitara Brezza continues with India’s love for chrome with a chunky strip as the number plate garnish. This chrome plate gets the ‘Vitara Brezza’ branding engraved on it. The tail lamp also features L-shaped LEDs. The tail lamp makes good use of the available space, and had it been smaller, the rear would have looked incomplete. On top, you have a rear spoiler with LED stop lamp, which is in contrast paint for the dual tone models (similar to the roof colour). Below, the rear bumper is done almost half in black plastic cladding with a silver skid plate in the centre. You also get two reflectors on the bumper, which almost every new Maruti Suzuki comes slapped with. Other features seen a the back include a rear camera, reverse sensor and rear wash + wipe.
It is very rarely said that a Maruti Suzuki product is good looking. But with the brand evolving out of just a budget car manufacturer image, we must say, that the Vitara Brezza is indeed good looking. With a healthy dose of form & function, this will surely click with the masses, especially with the young buyers.
The Vitara Brezza is a compact-SUV, and given by the segment standards, it had to be competitively priced. Why do we start the interior explanation with this? It’s because the plastic quality on the inside is just about average. Let’s keep the comparison relative to Maruti Suzuki at the moment, and the Brezza does feel a little inferior in comparison to the Baleno or Ciaz. Compared to competition from Mahindra & Ford though, nobody would complaint about this.
Step inside and you’re greeted with all-black interiors trying to maintain a sporty look. The first thing we would like to talk about at the square shaped instrument cluster dials. These units get multiple colour options such as red, white, blue, etc. In between the dials you have a MID screen displaying data such as DTE, trip meter, odometer, fuel gauge, gear shift indicator, etc. Steering wheel is a direct lift from the Ciaz, but you will see the addition of cruise control which is a segment first. Other segment first features include the rain sensing wipers and automatic headlamps. You also get a start / stop button for true keyless experience. Centre console and AC vents get gloss black surround, which can be opted in other colours in the accessory packages. Maruti Suzuki offers the Smartplay infotainment system on the Brezza which we’ve seen in cars like the Ciaz & Baleno. However, the flat black plastic cluster around the infotainment system looks very bland, and sort of incomplete. Audio quality is very good by OEM standards, and you wouldn’t feel like upgrading unless you need that extra bass. We’re sure the entry level stereo will fill up this space much better. Below, you have the automatic climate control which is very good to use & touch & feel. AC performance was good, and the blower speed kept us happy on a hot summer morning. The gear stick is similar to the current crop of Maruti Suzuki’s being launched. You get a 2nd storage spot on the dashboard, above the glovebox which is a cooled unit for your beverages.
The Vitara Brezza gets black fabric seats which are built of good quality materials. The fit & finish is visibly better compared to the Mahindra’s. Seats are comfortable and offer decent support. You get height adjustment for the driver seat to offer a good viewing range while on the go. We only wish that the seats were a little wider as those on the heavier side will find the bolstering a little uncomfortable. The Brezza is clearly styled looking at the younger (fitter) audience. The drive also gets a dead pedal to rest his left foot while cruising on the highways. The driver also gets a leather wrapped arm rest which doubles as a storage bin too.
The back seat in the Vitara Brezza is flat. Yes, there is bolstering on the sides, but the seat bench is just flat. This will surely welcome 3 occupants inside. Seat compound is decent, and comfortable for long journeys. The seat back angle however is upright. Not as upright as the Mahindra TUV300, but not as reclined and comfortable as the Ford EcoSport either. Not to forget, Ford offers additional recline option on the EcoSport. We’re surprised Maruti missed this. Being seated behind my own position (Height 5’8”), I had almost an inch of clearance for my knees. So legroom is in decent quantity for an average Indian height. Rear passengers also get a centre arm rest with cup holders. Headroom is available in decent amount, but those who are taller, around 6 feet in height might feel a little tight at the back. Also, the small rear window might make things a little claustrophobic.
Boot space rater at 328 litres is good enough to pack your weekend trips. It can easily accommodate 4 medium sized bags and some oddities on the rear parcel tray. Every door gets a bottle holder with two cup holders each for the front and rear passengers. Both seat backs get pockets to store stuff along with a luggage hook behind the driver seat.
The interiors on the Vitara Brezza although look economical, but are very thoughtful. The equipment list even outnumbers the more expensive siblings such as Ciaz & S-Cross, which is commendable. Clearly, Maruti Suzuki wants to attract lot of customers with this product.
Engine, performance & handling:
Diesel is synonymous to an SUV, and Maruti Suzuki has made good note of this. Look at Renault, they offer the Duster in a petrol avatar as well, but how many people buy it? Barely anyone even thinks of a petrol SUV. Hence, Maruti Suzuki has initially focussed on introducing only a diesel power for the Vitara Brezza. Not that the company is discounting the shift in the industry towards gasoline motors. If the Brezza has to get a petrol motor, it might get the superior BoosterJet turbo petrol unit.
Currently, powering the Vitara Brezza is the tried & tested, very successful and very popular Fiat-sourced, 1.3L, 4-cylinder, Multijet (DDiS) diesel motor producing 89 BHP of power @ 4,000 RPM and 200 Nm of torque @ 1,750 RPM matched to a 5-speed gearbox. The Brezza does not get SHVS hybrid tech like the Ciaz. Maruti Suzuki claims that smaller & budget friendly cars do not need this feature at the moment.
With lakhs of cars sold with this motor, obviously, Maruti Suzuki has got it right in the NVH department. Fire up the engine and it is clearly one of the best diesel motors to drive around. Well controlled cabin noise and almost no vibrations felt inside make the Brezza a competent product in the segment. Within the city, the Brezza drives just like any other hatchback. Consider the Swift for example. Although an SUV, it is very easy to live with the Brezza. Light EPS steering wheel, precise gear gates and a light clutch make it a very easy to drive car. Power is delivered in linear fashion & this motor is known for its punchy mid-range and this continues even on the Brezza. In-gear acceleration is good and you can keep the engine on the boil without it sounding too coarse. However, turbo lag below 2,000 RPM is noticeable and you need to downshift to gain momentum quickly. With a tall claim of 24.3 kmpl by SUV standards, we’re sure many are looking at the Vitara Brezza as their daily drive and not just a weekend getaway vehicle.
Revving easily above 5,000 RPM, the Brezza is decent on highway performance as well. The light weight makes it sprint from 0-100 kmph in 13.3 seconds. Cruising at 80 kmph is under 2,000 RPM while the 100 kmph mark is seen at ~2,100 RPM. Wind noise, and engine noise on high speeds is well controlled. What makes the Brezza a good highway companion is the ‘Cruise Control’ function. Set it to the desired speed and you can then slow down or more faster just with the touch of a button. Not only does this add to the convenience, but will also result in better fuel economy.
Typical of Maruti Suzuki, the Vitara Brezza scores average in the driving dynamics department. The EPS steering wheel is light, but there is little feedback when on the highway. It also lacks centre-back action. If you compare it to the EcoSport, the Brezza is clearly a step behind in driver engagement. Suspension quality is stiffer than the Ciaz, but it suits the SUV styling. The Brezza remains composed over bumps and uneven patches maintaining a balanced ride. Although potholes are taken good care of, you do hear the suspension thuds inside the cabin. But compared to the Mahindra rivals, the Vitara Brezza is much sharper to drive around. Braking performance is good, and it comes equipped with ABS across all variants. Overall, it is a 7/10 package when it comes to dynamics.
So, should you buy one? Well, if you’re looking for a well priced, well proportioned compact-SUV, then this is it. Backed by Maruti Suzuki’s stellar after sales & service support, there is no doubting complete peace of mind. With customizing options available, one can add some spice to their daily drive. While the Mahindra’s feel too utilitarian and Ford still being expensive (even after the price cut), the Vitara Brezza falls in the sweet spot in the market. Also, it is the most well equipped compact-sedan in the market. Ticking all the boxes even for a hatchback or a sedan buyer, Maruti Suzuki is sure to find buyers for this one. And yes, we would like to repeat, that there’s finally good looking designs coming out from the Maruti Suzuki stable. Until Hyundai launches the HND-14 (Carlino), the Vitara Brezza is surely going to rule the segment.