Finally, Maruti gets SUV mantra right

Finally, Maruti gets SUV mantra right

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Finally, Maruti gets SUV mantra right

The Indian car market is abuzz with the SUV rage. With sports utility vehicles becoming more and more accessible, a lot of the auto players have staked large plans to grab a pie of the burgeoning space.

There is one car manufacturer who has attempted to plot a mark on SUV territory in the past, but hadn’t seen success in a big way. Well, Maruti has not bowed down from the fight, and has hit the bulls eye with its latest compact SUV offering.    
Indian car buyers will remember March 8, 2016, as the day when the country’s largest carmaker gifted them one of the finest compact SUVs yet, Vitara Brezza.

It was the most-awaited car by Maruti Suzuki, as the model marks the carmaker’s entry into the popular compact SUV segment in India.

The car was unveiled at the Auto Expo 2016 in New Delhi. It is among the first of a new range of products in which the company’s Indian engineers have played a bigger role in designing and development as parent Suzuki looks to enhance base here.

Maruti Suzuki India Executive Director (R&D) C V Raman led the design and development of the car, the company has invested Rs 860 crore on the development of the vehicle.
The Vitara Brezza is the second of the 15 new models that MSI will launch over five years, as it aims to sell two million units annually by 2020.

The Vitara Brezza is a treat waiting to be unwrapped. The sheer name of it, with the legendary Vitara branding in tow, is reason enough to hold much respect for the car even before one has tasted its many flavours.

All that meets the eye
The Vitara Brezza has been in the customers’ fascination for a long time, and it is quite but natural that the car be driven and experienced.

Accordingly, one morning, we receive the car from Bimal Auto Agency, a noted dealership of Maruti Suzuki cars in Bengaluru, and the car that meets our eyes is one that looks snazzy and promising, while at the same time, it’s understated and elegant.

A segment-first dual colour scheme makes the new Vitara Brezza a home run. The Fiery Yellow body smartly capped by a Pearl Arctic White roof, makes the car seem like a freshly-baked delight, waiting to be savoured.  The dual-colour body scheme is one among many new options that Maruti has been offering, wanting to further win customers’ hearts.

The car’s raised stance and a sporty body kit, coupled with the muscular wheel arches showing off the chisseled alloy wheels, make the Vitara Brezza a head turner. A few other exterior design elements that add character to the car include the floating roof design, and the signature ‘Bull Horn’ LED light guides with energetic projector headlamps, which add a masculine finish to the front end.

Inside innovations
The Vitara Brezza’s nice touches are not restricted to the outside, and flow into the cabin as well.

The contemporary cabin of the ZDI+ that we are driving, come with piano finished accents, rugged grab handles and sporty seats that hug occupants with an assurance of safety.

There is also plenty of space, which is a much sought after premium in India, when talking cars. The comfortable headroom and shoulder-room add to the practicality, which is further enhanced thanks to the tailgate that is wide and extends low, allowing good access to the well-shaped 328-litre boot.

 The boot space can be extended by lifting the rear seat base and folding the 60:40 split seat backs forward to create a completely flat luggage space. There’s a coat hook to pepper in some more style.

Once in the driver seat, and you are welcome into a beautifully crafted dash. The Vitara Brezza comes with a uniquely crafted cockpit-style instrument cluster with mood lights, which can be changed depending on your mood.

Another positive on the top-end is Maruti’s SmartPlay touchscreen infotainment unit, which supports Apple CarPlay.

Besides, the car also sports a parking camera with sensors, the rain sensing wipers, and cruise control, for a secure ride, while the keep cool glove box, front sliding centre armrest, and many intelligent storage spaces are sure to make the ride all the more convenient.

It’s all in the drive
For a curious buyer, it must be mentioned that the vehicle is available only in the diesel fuel option, and is powered by a 1.3-litre engine.

This may be an issue for many new buyers who have taken to petrol cars in the recent past.

Also, the car doesn’t offer Maruti’s popular AMT option, which is a hit especially among women drivers. Nonetheless, with six variants, the Vitara Brezza has garnered much interest.

The car is indeed fun to drive, with amazing throttle response. The steering wheel, and flawless 5-speed manual gearshift, along with a seamless clutchplay, the car runs like air.

We were able to drive the car effortlessly in traffic, even as the road got worse as we reached the countryside. The 5.2-metres turning radius, with a 2,500 mm of wheelbase is impressive.

The Vitara Brezza is a compact SUV, and is apt to take on the unpredictably shrinking roads that one suddenly encounters while driving in India. Its 1,248 cc 4-cylinder engine gives out a max power of 66kW@4,000rpm and a peak torque of 200Nm@1,750rpm. The engine punches out 89bhp and a strong 20.4 kgm. Even at third gear, the car doesn’t stall and makes its way up most steep inclines that come in its way.

In all, the Vitara Brezza sprints to 100 kmph from rest in under 13 seconds. Initially, there is a little lag, however, once turbo kicks in the engine revs up.

You need to cross the 2,000 rpm mark and there is a sudden rush of power which makes it a highway cruiser. The mileage of the Maruti Vitara Brezza is certified by ARAI at 24.3 kmpl and is BS-IV ready. The drive becomes all the more fun, thanks to the wide windshield and large windows.

Even in terms of safety, Maruti Suzuki has offered everything possible on the Vitara Brezza, such as ABS with EBD, dual airbags, and front seat belt with pre-tension load limiter, among other features.

The Maruti Vitara Brezza has a lot riding on it, and the company claims to have hit the jackpot. But there are few features that might have been made better.

The electric outside rear view mirror (ORVM) does not unlock itself, when you start the car, and has to be done manually. Also, Maruti has missed the rear AC, and the Vitara Brezza engine will be a front-wheel drive only, and there is no provision for an all-wheel-drive system.

But all’s well that ends well! The car is competitively priced in the range of Rs 7.17 lakh and Rs 9.95 lakh (ex-showroom Bengaluru), kicking off a price war in the compact SUV space, which has competition mainly with the likes of Ford EcoSport and Mahindra TUV300. The Vitara Brezza yet again writes what Maruti Suzuki can do best, and that is build ‘great’ cars.


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