Within no time the concept of a compact SUV gained a lot of traction in the Indian market. That is because one gets the feeling of driving an SUV sitting high up along with its practical size for urban driving conditions and most importantly it doesn’t cost a bomb. We are seeing this segment getting crowded year after year but India’s largest ca rmaker Maruti Suzuki didn’t have anything to offer, until now. The Vitara Brezza has been engineered and developed entirely by the Maruti Suzuki team in India achieving high localisation. Looking at the price positioning and features offered, we are quite sure it’ll sell in big numbers but how does it perform in terms of drivability and practicality? We find out.
DESIGN AND STYLE ;
Like all the other prominent names in the compact SUV segment, the Vitara Brezza too has the muscular and stubby stance which makes it larger than what it actually is. The lifted off frontal stance with a boxy design with clear lines make it look a bit old school, but then, there are some clear details in its design, which makes it an SUV of today’s times. The Vitara Brezza is actually based on the XA-Alpha concept which Maruti Suzuki previewed few years ago at the Delhi Auto Expo, and while it isn’t as flashy as the latter and has got a much toned down design in its production guise, it gets a number of design cues and features, making it a contemporary vehicle.Starting off from the front, the Vitara Brezza gets a lifted off stance with a chunky looking chrome grille, which gets squared off fins within it clearly inspired from the XA-Alpha’s front grille. The headlamps have a simple rounded rectangle like design, but then, they do get funky looking projector bulbs with daytime running LEDs. The front bumper too has a bulgy design, with black claddings and prominent positioning of fog lamps with turn indicators placed above them, which is something other vehicles in its segment are not having.
The side profile of the Vitara Brezza does get a rather clean profile with two sharp creases – one running from the front headlamp and ending up on the rear door, and the other being below of it which starts on the rear door and ending up in the rear tail lamp. The black colored body cladding form the front bumper is extending all the way onto the sides as well, giving it a lofty stance, which is further complemented with its high 200mm ground clearance. The top most variant of ZDI+ gets a dual tone treatment for its roof, which gives it a stance of a floating roof. The doors and mirrors have got very mild design, making the overall side profile appear boxy. However, the 5-spoke alloy wheels have been given a very nice and upmarket design treatment.At the rear, the Vitara Brezza has got a bulky stance, thanks to the wide profile accentuated by two big trapezoidal tail lamps and a big thick chrome bar with the name of the car embodied on it, much like what we have already seen on the Renault Duster. These tail lamps do get the same kind of LED light guides as on the front headlamps.
CABIN AND COMFORT ;
The Brezza isn’t a very tall SUV, but the cabin is set at a comfortable height so getting in and out is easy. The seats are well shaped but the cushioning is a touch too soft and this can be uncomfortable over long distances. Up front, you get a excellent view out thanks to the low-set dashboard that is smart in its own right. The centre portion (that hosts the infotainment system) is nicely framed with a piano black plastic surround, which is a neat styling element. The silver highlights and glossy black plastics on the dash do add some colour, and what’s more, the instrument cluster also gets selectable colours for the backlighting. The dashboard is practical too and comes with twin gloveboxes (the upper one being cooled), and there’s a generous storage area in the console between the seats. Unlike the Baleno, the USB port is quite accessible (though still not lit) for iPhone users to connect to CarPlay.
There are, however, lots of bits shared with other Marutis, like the steering and power window switches from the first-generation Swift (our perennial beef with Maruti). The air con buttons are all new, but aren’t uniformly sized and curiously, the largest button here is that of the Auto AC mode.The overall cabin quality is good, but not great. Some of the plastics are nicely textured, but in the lower areas, the finish could have been better. What lifts the cabin to a good extent is the woven roof lining and plush seat fabrics that deliver an ambience that is more premium than other compact SUVs.
Maruti designers we spoke to revealed balancing adequate boot space and a roomy cabin was a challenge. What’s nice is that space in the back is sufficient enough to seat three, and offers adequate knee room and plenty of headroom. The cabin width too is surprisingly good. Rear seat comfort is good and the inclusion of a fold-out centre armrest also helps here. And there’s a coat hook too.
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;
Maruti Vitara Brezza engine line-up as mentioned in the beginning is confined to a single diesel mill. Maruti has used the regular Fiat sourced 1.3 litre DDiS diesel engine powering most of the diesel models like Maruti like Ertiga, Ciaz etc The diesel engine is tuned to deliver 89bhp of top power along with 200Nm of torque. A five-speed conventional manual transmission is mated to the diesel motor while an AMT may be introduced later
Maruti Vitara Brezza range comprises of six variants namely LDi, LDi (O), VDi, VDi (O) and ZDi (O). The base variants comes with electrically adjustable outside rear view mirrors, power steering, power windows in front, folding rear seat, manual AC and tilt steering. As we go up in the model series, the V variant gets additional features such as rear parking sensors, floating roof treatment, keyless entry, full wheel covers, power windows in front and rear, gear shift indicator and electromagnetic tailgate.
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
To compensate for the tall height and the heavy diesel engine up front, the Brezza gets a stiff suspension setup. This becomes very apparent when you attack the corners, as the compact SUV manages to keep body roll controlled. The downside to this, is a lot of thudding and crashing over potholes – which can get quite taxing on a day to day basis. Highway manners are confidence-inducing as well. The Brezza doesn’t float or feel bouncy as it goes about chugging miles.
The steering is well-weighted, and shouldn’t be a problem inside the city or on the highways. You can have a bit of fun with it around the twisties as well, the wheel does have adeqaute amount of feedback to offer. Yes, there’s a hint of understeer if you push it hard, but it quickly corrects itself the moment you lift off the throttle.
BRAKING AND SAFETY ;
A mere glance at the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza specifications would be enough to make you realize that there is no compromise on the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza Braking and Safety aspect. Each variant of this Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza model has ventilated brakes from the front wheels. At the same time, you have drum brakes for the rear wheels. The driver airbag is a common feature in all the variants with the higher variants having passenger airbags as well. The anti-lock braking system coupled with the electronic brake-force distribution in some of the higher variants makes this vehicle a very safe one. This makes Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza handling quite easy. The parking sensors are an additional attraction in the higher variants.
The Vitara Brezza comes across as a very well-rounded package. It looks attractive, is loaded with equipment, has a spacious cabin and is fairly practical too. Thanks to 98 per cent localisation, Brezza’s killer price of Rs 9.54 lakh(ex-showroom Delhi) is just an icing on the cake. It does lack in some areas like the once benchmark 1.3-litre DDiS diesel engine which has now started to show its age, the typical Japanese light build doesn’t go very well with it being an SUV and the ride could have been more refined too. But for what it is, the Brezza is surely Maruti’s ticket to mega success in the much sought-after compact SUV market.