Care for the kids in a Ciaz
BRIAN BASSETT meanders in the Midlands in Suzuki’s larger car made for family trips
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.
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 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.
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.