For young fam­i­lies

BRIAN BAS­SETT tests the Suzuki Ciaz in and around Mar­itzburg

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

THE Suzuki Ciaz has been around since April 2015 and it has al­lowed Suzuki to com­pete in the ul­tra-com­pet­i­tive com­pact sedan seg­ment for the first time.

It also al­lows the com­pany to ex­tend its reach to buy­ers who want a larger car than the Swift Dezire, while still en­joy­ing the fuel econ­omy and safety of the Suzuki brand. Suzuki has now launched the top-of-the-range Ciaz, which es­sen­tially has ev­ery­thing and man­ages, even in this era of the weak rand, to re­tain a very com­pet­i­tive pric­ing.

My thanks to Gary Stokes of Suzuki Fury Pi­eter­mar­itzburg for al­low­ing me time with the car.

Styling

Ex­ter­nally the Ciaz is the same sleek shape, with slim A-pil­lars and a large wind­screen that looks equally at home on ei­ther for­mal or fam­ily oc­ca­sions. Colour-coded side mir­rors and win­dows are elec­tri­cally op­er­ated and the ex­ter­nal de­sign is fin­ished off by at­trac­tive, 16-inch takkies.

In­te­rior

The strong point of the Ciaz in­te­rior is how easy it is to ac­cess by pas­sen­gers of all ages. The doors also hinge open in stages so that you don’t have to worry about dam­age to the car next to yours in a shop­ping cen­tre park­ing lot.

The cabin of the Ciaz is spa­cious, el­e­gant and roomier than the ex­te­rior would sug­gest.

The in­te­rior fin­ish is a com­bi­na­tion of soft leather and high­qual­ity plas­tics that project an al­most premium im­age and ev­ery time you ap­proach the car you will have the warm glow that comes with know­ing you have re­ceived good value for money.

The dash favours the driver and the in­stru­ment bin­na­cle con­tains deep ana­logue di­als which can be viewed with­out los­ing sight of the road. The in­stru­ment bin­na­cle is framed by a leather­cov­ered, multi-func­tion, fullyad­justable steer­ing wheel with con­trols for the six-speaker au­dio sys­tem, Blue­tooth tele­phony and speed con­trol. The cen­tral stack houses the CD/ra­dio/aux sys­tems and an ef­fec­tive air-con­di­tioner.

The driver’s seat com­fort­ably fits all sizes and gen­er­ally seat­ing both back and front of­fer a high com­fort level for five adults.

Sit­ting in the rear seat be­hind my own long-legged seat­ing po­si­tion pro­vided the level of com­fort suited to a longer jour­ney.

The boot of­fers a huge 495 litres of space and is so big it is a bit of a stretch to re­trieve items in its re­cesses.

Safety and se­cu­rity

The Ciaz of­fers a range of se­cu­rity mea­sures of which the key items in­clude the usual ABS with EBD, driver and pas­sen­ger airbags, Brake As­sist and a col­lapsi­ble steer­ing wheel, child-proof locks, as well as key­less en­try and an im­mo­biliser. There are seat­belts for all and side-im­pact beams to pro­tect against pas­sen­ger dam­age.

Power and han­dling

The Ciaz SLX Auto has a nor­mally-as­pi­rated 1,4-litre, four-cylin­der, 70 kW/130 Nm en­gine and a smooth, four-speed auto box. With a rea­son­able driv­ing style fuel con­sump­tion is around 6,5 l to 100 km. 0-100 km/h comes up in 13 sec­onds and top speed is over a ton, which you hope­fully you won’t need.

I drove out to Wart­burg with the car and found the ride quiet and so­phis­ti­cated, with crisp and re­spon­sive steer­ing. I was also able to eas­ily pass heavy cane trucks and the auto box pro­vides three power lev­els of which I only had to use the con­ven­tional drive mode to do ev­ery­thing nec­es­sary. In town the car is easy to park and a plea­sure to drive.

Costs and the com­pe­ti­tion

The Suzuki GLX Auto of­fers very good value at R235 000 and comes with a three-year man­u­fac­turer’s war­ranty and a three­year/60 000 km ser­vice plan.

This is the most com­pet­i­tive mar­ket sec­tor in SA, so also look at Toy­ota, VW, Honda, Hyundai and Kia, amongst oth­ers.

PHOTO: SUZUKI

A big boot, comfy seats and eco­nom­i­cal en­gine en­sures the Ciaz auto equals good value.

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