Maruti Ciaz 1.5 DDiS Review

Maruti Ciaz 1.5 DDiS Review: Maruti have always found lovers in India, more now than ever. The brand currently has half the market to itself. Even so, Maruti is not immune to failure – the 2015 Celerio diesel was their most recent fiasco. The problem with that car was a two-cylinder engine which was all but 800cc, and neither refined nor rev-happy. Both these issues plague, to some degree, all diesel engines. It wasn’t about two cylinders or a small capacity – petrol heads love buzzy little twins. But the Celerio was a disappointment and an attempt unworthy of appreciation.

Maruti or Suzuki isn’t big on making diesel, which is why they had been using Fiat’s 1.3-litre Multijet engine. This engine was a revelation when it was first launched, but being a diesel is tough in 2019, tougher still in India. The vagueness of policy and abruptness of bans that our government is notorious for have already caused a slump in our domestic market. That’s why diesel has to be clean and efficient. But for consumers, they also have to be economical, reliable, and refined. The new Bharat Stage 6 norms will be enforced in April next year.

Was this the best time for Maruti to create their own brand-new diesel engine? Look at the sales numbers for that. Diesel fuel is subsidized in our country, so running a diesel car is much cheaper. Sure, a CNG car is cheaper still. But you have to queue up for fuel and you get no boot space. On the other hand is the fact that diesel is much, much more powerful in our country. Not necessarily faster if you compare 0-100kph times, but with the advantage of higher torque outputs, the diesel feels much quicker.

Research and development budgets for diesel are also higher – most of them are turbocharged with direct-injection. Even for the Celerio Maruti had to shell out 900 crores. Can you imagine them coming up with a turbo-two-cylinder petrol engine? Up until recently, there was so much money to be made selling diesel that 30% of all of Maruti’s sales were oil-burners. And remember – they only had the one engine which they hadn’t built. India’s love for diesel is now choking our own throats, and it is time to pull up our sleeves and clean up. That’s why Maruti’s new E15A engine is clean enough for BS-4 and ready to meet BS-6 standards.

Performance and Efficiency

Maruti took two Celerio engines and put them together to make one four-cylinder. Sounds easy?

That comes up to a total of nearly 1600cc, but our government taxes diesels bigger than 1500cc higher. So it had to be no more than 1500cc.

For that, they had to reduce either bore or stroke. They had already spent a lot of money on developing compact heads and intake systems, which bore reduction would mess up. So Maruti decided to reduce the stroke by 5mm per cylinder.

The challenge now was a reduced compression ratio. That ratio is the magic of diesel efficiency – the more air you compress, the more work is done by the engine, and the more efficient and powerful it is. The way Maruti used this to their benefit was this – lower compression also meant that the ignition temperatures were now cooler, and hence the NOx emissions for this engine were lower.

Exterior

The facelifted Ciaz was a big hit and gathered a bigger crowd than its predecessor. The changes were subtle, but they made an already coherent-looking car even better. The execution of the E15A DDiS motor is commendable. It is very quiet, very refined, and smooth no matter what you do to it. There is turbo lag but your patience is rewarded with a 225 Nm shove in the back. One thing we loved about the older Fiat-sourced engine was the rapid rev climb. This one is just the same – a free-revving small diesel engine.

Interior

On the inside, the interiors look familiar and boring. It is hard to find an exquisitely designed or nice-to-touch trim piece in here. The plastic is hard – you can tell that just by looking at it. The big screen that’s in all the new Marutis is here too, albeit a little bit too low. There is no denying that it is impossible to operate a touchscreen without looking at it.

Verdict

Can this be a game-changer for Maruti? It isn’t engaging to drive, but why should it be? Maruti knows that buyers of this million-rupee car were going to be older people who could afford a chauffeur. All they needed was rear AC vents and a couch to sit in. But even when you have to drive it, the Ciaz is still comfortable – the clutch is light, the gear lever is accurate, the steering is very light with zero feedback, and the engine just makes everything easier still. Maruti is asking for a mere Rs 17,000 premium for the new engine. Prices range from 9.20 lakhs for the Sigma base model, to 11.38 lakhs for the Alpha variant.

Maximum power (hp) 94
Maximum torque (Nm) 225
Fuel capacity (L) 43
Length (mm) 4490
Width (mm) 1730
Height (mm) 1485
Wheel base (mm) 2650
Boot capacity (L) 510
Front suspension McPherson struts
Rear suspension Torsion beam
Tire size 195/55 R16
Front brakes Disc
Rear brakes Drum
Fuel economy (kmpl) 23

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