Care for the kids in a Ciaz

BRIAN BAS­SETT me­an­ders in the Mid­lands in Suzuki’s larger car made for fam­ily trips

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

SUZUKI started car pro­duc­tion in Ja­pan in the early 1950s and is cur­rently one of the 10 largest mo­tor com­pa­nies in the world, with an in­ter­na­tional labour force of around 45 000 and 35 pro­duc­tion plants in 23 coun­tries.

Since 2010 Volk­swa­gen AG has owned around 20% of Suzuki and re­mains the largest share­holder in the com­pany.

The in­tro­duc­tion of the new Ciaz sedan to South Africa in April 2015 al­lows Suzuki to com­pete in the ul­tra-com­pet­i­tive com­pact sedan seg­ment for the first time and ex­tends the South African com­pany’s reach to cus­tomers look­ing for a larger car than the Swift DZire, while still en­joy­ing the fuel econ­omy, safety, qual­ity and af­ford­abil­ity that have be­come syn­ony­mous with the Suzuki brand.

I am grate­ful to Gary Stokes, dealer prin­ci­pal of Suzuki Pi­eter­mar­itzburg, for al­low­ing me a few days to ex­pe­ri­ence the ve­hi­cle.

Styling

The ex­te­rior de­sign of the Ciaz fo­cuses on a smooth, sleek shape with slim A-pil­lars and an ex­pan­sive wind­screen.

There is a strong shoul­der line, while the slim-look­ing flanks and rounded wheel arches add to its vis­ual ap­peal. Un­mis­tak­ably Suzuki the Ciaz is gen­er­ously pro­por­tioned, with wide front and rear tracks con­tribut­ing to the car’s poised, con­fi­dent look.

The front grill, with its thin, hor­i­zon­tal bars is framed by large, ta­pered head­light clus­ters, which in­cor­po­rate both the pro­jec­tortype halo­gen head­light units and the turn in­di­ca­tors.

An in­te­grated bumper with lower air in­takes, flanked by foglamps on ei­ther side adds a touch of ag­gres­sion to the front end. At the rear two large tail light clus­ters at­tract im­me­di­ate at­ten­tion.

A colour-coded rear bumper ap­pears to sup­port the wide boot lid and the boot it­self is cav­ernous of­fer­ing 495 litres of lug­gage space. Quite enough to hold a fam­ily’s lug­gage for a long week­end away. The de­sign is rounded off by the 15-inch steel rims with full wheel cov­ers on the GL.

The In­te­rior

The Suzuki Ciaz al­lows easy en­try and exit for those of all ages and the doors are de­signed to al­low pas­sen­gers to exit the ve­hi­cle in a shop­ping park­ing lot with­out do­ing dam­age to the ve­hi­cle next door. The in­te­rior is roomier than the car’s com­pact ex­te­rior would sug­gest and the cabin of the GL is both prac­ti­cal and well ap­pointed. The seat cov­ers are of a heavy ma­te­rial which will al­low easy clean­ing af­ter your chil­dren have spent a week­end in the car.

The er­gonomics of the dash­board favour the driver and the in­stru­ment bin­na­cle con­tains deep set ana­logue di­als which can be viewed with­out tak­ing your eyes off the road. I par­tic­u­larly liked the white, clear light which il­lu­mi­nates the di­als at night. The in­stru­ment bin­na­cle is framed by an at­trac­tive three-spoke mul­ti­func­tion steer­ing wheel with con­trols for the au­dio sys­tem and Blue­tooth based tele­phony. There are the usual plugs for all of your elec­tronic toys and a use­ful clutch of stor­age places. Lux­ury fea­tures in­clude re­mote cen­tral lock­ing, au­to­matic cli­mate con­trol and a sixs­peaker sound sys­tem.

Safety and Se­cu­rity

The Ciaz has ABS with EBD, driver and pas­sen­ger airbags, seat belts for all four oc­cu­pants, child proof locks, side im­pact beams, brake as­sist and a col­lapsi­ble steer­ing col­umn. A high-mounted rear brake light and se­cu­rity alarm and im­mo­biliser are in­cluded in the pack­age.

Power and Han­dling

The Ciaz is es­sen­tially a town car with ca­pac­ity for long dis­tances and good coun­try­side per­for­mance. Multi-point fuel in­jec­tion and vari­able valve tim­ing makes the 1,4 en­gine lively and ef­fi­cient.

Power out­put is 70kW and 130Nm of torque, with front wheel drive. Power is ex­pressed on road by a five-speed man­ual gear­box which changes easily.

Steer­ing is crisp and park­ing is easy with ex­cel­lent all-round vis­i­bil­ity, although the more ex­pen­sive mod­els do have Park As­sist.

Driv­ing on the N3 is pleas­ant, although, if you re­quire im­me­di­ate ac­cel­er­a­tion, you will have to work the gears.

The head­lights are ex­cel­lent and the car has a sur­pris­ingly high tol­er­ance for poor, gravel roads. Fuel con­sump­tion in the com­bined cy­cle is around 6,5l per 100 km, depend­ing on driv­ing style and ter­rain.

The Ciaz is not a fast car — it is a fam­ily car — so 0 to 100 km/h comes up in over 13 sec­onds. Top speed is in ex­cess of a ton, but chances are you propably will never need it.

Costs and guar­an­tees

There are three mod­els in the Suzuki Ciaz range, all pow­ered by the same 1,4 en­gine.

The en­try model I drove will cost you about R180 000, while the top of the range GLX Auto will set you back about R215 000 — although while stocks last, Suzuki Pi­eter­mar­itzburg of­fers very good trade in as­si­tance.

The car comes with a three-year or 100 000 km man­u­fac­turer’s war­ranty and a thee-year or 60 000 km ser­vice plan.

The Ciaz en­ters the most com­pet­i­tive area of the car mar­ket, so ne­go­ti­ate and look at the Toy­ota Corolla Quest, Hyundai Ac­cent, Honda Bal­lade, Kia Rio Sedan and the Volk­swa­gen Polo Vivo, to men­tion but a few.

PHOTO: SUZUKI

Wide doors, easily cleaned seats and 495 litres lug­gage space and all the plugs the teenager’s elec­tronic toys re­quire add up to make the Ciaz a good fam­ily car.

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