Brian Joss –
If you’re not a snob and don’t care about the badge on the bonnet but want a vehicle that will get you from A to Z in relative comfort, without any hassle, and at a price that suits your pocket, look no further than the Suzuki Ciaz GL 1.4.
The four-door car is bigger than the Honda Ballade, the Toyota Corolla and the Kia Rio (tested), the competition in this market, which the manufacturer describes as the compact sedan sector. The Ciaz is an appealing looking car with a sleek and elegant shape.
But not so compact. It is spacious: three adults can sit at the rear in comfort and on a round trip to Gordon’s Bay, with five up, there were no complaints from the peanut gallery. The boot has a load capacity of 490 litres, about 24 two-litre bottles of soft drink. So there is more than enough space for holiday luggage or school kit.
The Ciaz is powered by Suzuki’s K14B four potter mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. The engine delivers 70kW@6 000 rpm and torque of 130 N.m@4 000 rpm. Suzuki says the Ciaz’s fuel consumption is 5.4 litres/100 km with carbon emissions of 125g/km. That’s not an exaggeration. My figures were just over that: 5.6 litres/100 km in a town and country cycle. And if you have a light foot expect to travel.850 kilometres on a 43 litre fuel tank.
Inside, it is neat and the instrument panel has an uncluttered look. It features a multifunction trip computer, multifunction steering wheel, six speaker audio system with CD player and Bluetooth. You can also get information on fuel consumption, instant and average and how far you can still travel. There are also warning lights that show when the doors are not closed properly, Of course, there’s central locking, electric windows front and back as well as electrically adjustable exterior mirrors. Black and dark grey are the dominant interior colours, with silver accents and cloth upholstery fitted to the GL. There’s storage galore: the ubiquitous cup holders, four, place for bottles in the door and pockets on the backs of the front seats. Incidentally, the seats are extremely comfortable.
I thought the engine would be under-powered. But everyone knows what thought did. Thought thought if you planted a brick a house would grow. So I was pleasantly surprised by the peppy engine which chugged along happily with a full load, at the legal limit. There was also extra power when you needed it. The brakes too proved their worth when some old toppie in a Honda decided to change lanes without signalling.
The ride is smooth but it does get a bit bumpy especially on roads where the tar is uneven, and I felt it especially on the R27, better known as Otto du Plessis, which passes the Milnerton lagoon and which is being rehabilitated. The power steering is responsive and the steering wheel can be tilt adjusted. The Ciaz is not happy taking corners at speed but potential buyers are not boy racers, so it doesn’t come into the equation. The five-speed manual transmission was quite slick, however, a sixth gear would have been useful and possibly help to cut fuel consumption further. There are just two airbags in the front, no Isofix child seat anchors but it does have ABS anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and emergency braking assistance (EBA) as well as childproof rear door locks.
The Suzuki Ciza 1.4 GL has a lot going for it: fuel economy is excellent, it has a zippy engine that does what it’s supposed to without much fuss, it has a good list of standard features and there’s more than ample space for everyone. The attractive, sleek design won’t age too quickly, either. And the price tag of R202 500, even though it has increased from the launch price of R179 000, represents good value for money, and is still less expensive than its rivals in this sector. The Honda Ballade will set you back R223 900 and the Kia Rio R218 995.
The Ciaz GL is worth considering is you’re looking for a new car, so put it on your short list. The price includes a three-year 100 000 km warranty and a three-year 60 000 km service plan.
*What does Ciaz mean? According to the New Delhi newspaper, the Deccan Herald, it is an acronym for Comfort-Intelligence-Attitude-Zeal. However, the Ciaz which was launched by Maruti Suzuki India in November last year, is different to the South African model. It is powered by a 1 300 turbo diesel motor and features a reverse camera, smart key, push-button starting and personal reading lamps.