In and amongst the sea of Toyota Corolla Quests, I occasionally get an Uber driver with a Kia Rio sedan, or a Mazda3 sedan, but fairly often, a Suzuki Ciaz. I recently had the updated Ciaz for review and left the experience rather more impressed than the pre-facelift version.
The Ciaz has been rather comprehensively updated with an all-new front bumper, refreshed grille, LED fog lamps and new headlamps. The side profile remains very much the same besides the new alloy wheel design for the GLX model. At the rear, there are new LED taillights. The design changes, overall, make the Ciaz a far more attractive vehicle than it was before.
Inside, the trim has changed slightly with new faux wood and bits of chrome for certain surfaces. In the display department, there’s a TFT display in the instrument cluster which provides basic driving information, as well as the same seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system first seen on the new Jimny. The system offers USB, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
Under the bonnet
The undoubted highlight of the package for me was the addition of the same 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine also used by the Jimny and the new Ertiga. In this guise, it produces 77 kW and 138 N.m of torque. My week of driving resulted in a consumption figure of 6.6 L/100 km despite the 4.6 L/100 km claim.
The aforementioned motor in combination with a rather sweet five-speed manual gearbox makes for great progress. The standard creature comforts in the GLX variant included cruise control, electric mirrors and windows, leather seats, keyless start, a multifunction steering wheel, air-conditioning as well as driver and passenger airbags.
In terms of practicality, the Ciaz certainly delivers with a massive 495-litre boot and an impressive amount of rear passenger legroom, even if headroom is a bit inadequate for taller passengers. Niceties such as a rear privacy blind and ventilation for rear occupants also makes life easier. The other benefit of that large boot is the fact that the vehicle comes with a full-size spare tyre.
As far as a small, back-to-basics sedan goes, the Ciaz delivers big car space with small car efficiency at a reasonable price. The new Heartect powertrain and updated design now make it a far more appealing product than before. The only problem is that it’s a sedan, and the market for these vehicles shrinks by the day as crossovers and hatchbacks gain popularity.
Service plan and warranty
The Ciaz range comes with a five-year/200 000 km warranty as well as a three-year/60 000 km service plan.
1.5 GL - R214 900
1.5 GL AT - R229 900
1.5 GLX - R244 900
1.5 GLX AT - R259 900