Maruti Vitara Brezza review, road test
2nd Jun 2016 7:00 am
Diesel, compact SUV, Maruti. The ingredients are all there but do they make for the perfect recipe? We find out.
On the Beaufort Scale, a 0 to 12 measurement of wind speed, a breeze which is ranked a gentle 2-6 seems an inappropriate suffix for the Maruti Vitara ‘Brezza’ (breeze in Italian). Given the way the Vitara Brezza is flying out of showrooms, it appears that Maruti’s first sub-four-metre-long, compact SUV is more like a force 10 gale. Within two months of its launch, Maruti has sold over 13,000 units, catapulting it to the top of the SUV sales charts. What’s even more impressive is that the Brezza has achieved this with just one engine and gearbox option – the ubiquitous 1.3 diesel mated to a standard five-speed gearbox. We’ve finally put Maruti’s hot-seller through a thorough road test to see if it warrants all the attention.
As mentioned earlier, the Brezza is currently offered with only one engine and gearbox combination. The familiar, Fiat-sourced DDiS200 engine makes 90hp and 200Nm of torque that has powered a wide range of cars and earned notoriety for its noticeable turbo-lag at low revs. On the Brezza, however, the turbo-lag isn’t as pronounced but you still need to cross 2,000rpm for the engine to properly wake up. Beyond that mark, there is a good surge of power all the way to about 5,000rpm, just shy of the redline of 5,300rpm which is quite high for a diesel. With this, the Brezza is very comfortable cruising on highways and overtaking is quite easy, even with a full load. When it comes to acceleration, the Brezza is quite quick and does the 0 to 100 kph in 12.96 seconds; that’s faster than the 1.5-litre Ford EcoSport diesel which takes 13.67 seconds.
In-gear too, the Brezza is the faster car with a 20-80kph in third gear time of 11.77 seconds but only by the tiniest of margins, with the Ford clocking 11.97 seconds. Extracting performance though does send the drone of the diesel motor right though the cabin but drive in a relaxed manner and the engine, road and wind noise, though present, are at an acceptable level. The overall gearing is on the shorter side and cruising at 100kph in fifth gear, the engine is turning over at a fairly busy 2,500rpm but it’s not that busy as to warrant a sixth gear. The gearbox shifts lack crispness but the clutch is light and with a good progression, making driving in start-stop traffic easy.
The top-spec Brezza comes with Maruti’s familiar SmartPlay and with MirrorLink and Apple CarPlay for smartphone connectivity. Android Auto is slated to come soon. Further connectivity options include Bluetooth for calls and audio, USB, aux-in and SD card. The navigation maps are pre-loaded on an SD card. The reverse camera displays on the touchscreen that also plays movie files when stationary. Controls like power, volume, etc, are touch-enabled, which isn’t ideal for a car, but there are the steering controls and voice commands to use. Overall, the system is very comprehensive and regarding the sound quality, it is pretty decent with the speaker set-up provided.
The Vitara Brezza has been a stunning success for Maruti and it's not hard to understand why. It's a brilliantly conceived product that best suits the tastes of a typical Indian car buyer and is undoubtedly impressive in many areas. However, there are a few things we would have liked better. The design, for instance, lacks flair and it's only the top-end cars with dual-tone paint schemes that liven things up. The Brezza is also not particularly exciting to drive and the build isn't rock solid either with Maruti's built-to-a-cost approach quite evident in many places. However, you can't miss the Maruti strengths either. The Brezza is practical, efficient, value for money and will, no doubt, be reliable too. It may lack the character of some of its rivals but for the price, the Brezza's well-balanced attributes makes this car a one-size-fits-all option that's hard to beat.