This is a tale of two journeys. One of them is about escaping the city to slow down for a day or so, and then getting back into the race, rejuvenated. The other is the story of a special automobile that has won over 4,50,000 hearts since its launch in 2016. Our destination is the Rajmachi Fort, located in the soothingly green Western Ghats. The road up there is a mix of the good, the bad and the downright nasty – but the car that is taking us to the fort is used to exactly this kind of diversity that constitutes motoring in our country. In fact, it has successfully conquered it, and become a legend in its own right. We thumb the push-button starter of the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, and point its elegant nose towards the hills.
The sky is overcast but the sun peeks out every now and then as we cut through the early morning traffic in Mumbai. Rajmachi Fort is over 500 years old, and was one of the several forts taken over and strengthened by Shivaji Maharaj. The fort is located at a distance of about 100km from Mumbai; but if you are an astute driver, a quick drive is all it will take to understand the stupendous success of the Brezza. When it was launched, the Vitara Brezza was the first-ever Maruti Suzuki to be designed and developed entirely in India, with localisation levels as high as 98 percent. Which means the Brezza, built on Suzuki’s global C platform, is as Indian as one can get, and – as its sales figures have proved time and again – to be world-class too. The Brezza announced itself as a game-changer right from the word go. It achieved its first 1,00,000-unit sales in 12 months; 1,50,000 came up in 17; it crossed 2,00,000 in 20 months; and 4,00,000 units in 35. In fact, it created a record by breaching the 4 lakh-unit sales mark in less than three years since its launch. Not surprisingly, it also swept every major automotive award in 2017 – 28 to be precise!
But if you’ve been a Brezza owner for sometime, those numbers would not come across as surprising – and that’s because, as far as automotive packages go, Maruti Suzuki’s SUV totally nails it – from the way it looks to the mechanicals.
It’s got the look
Half-way through our drive, we stop at a roadside dhaba and, as we sip our tea, our eyes trace the contours of the Vitara Brezza. The Brezza is as handsome as they come, in a very masculine, square-jawed sort of way. It’s got a bold, upright stance, clean lines, and those short overhangs, squared-out wheel arches and mildly raked tail accentuate its good looks. We also particularly like the high-set chrome grille, and the use of blacked-out fog-lamp enclosures and that bumper with the split air dam, all of which add visual heft to the Brezza.
It has gained many fans who go ape over its floating roof design, in which the A-, B- and C-pillars come finished in black, while the roof and D-pillar are painted in the body colour and are also available in a contrasting shade of black or white. The floating roof is among the many things that set the Brezza apart.
The Brezza’s spacious cabin exudes quality and caters to both, individuals and families.
It checks nearly every box you can think of inside as well. Its spacious cabin features elements that cater to both, the individual and the family, and the space exudes quality. Silver highlights and glossy-black plastics are used tastefully, and storage spaces abound. The Brezza is also available with Maruti Suzuki’s intuitive SmartPlay touchscreen infotainment unit that supports both, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as reverse camera, cruise control, auto headlights and rain-sensing wipers, among others. Maruti Suzuki’s engineers have worked intelligently, as far as space goes: the roominess of the cabin has not had an impact on boot space one bit. The 328-litre boot space can be extended by lifting the rear-seat base and folding the 60:40-split seats forward to create a larger, completely flat luggage space.
SmartPlay touchscreen infotainment unit is highly intuitive.
Where the road takes you
The engine that powers the Brezza – the DDiS 200 – is a tried and trusted performer. The 1.3-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel motor produces 90hp and a robust 200Nm of torque. So you get the brawny mid-range the engine is famous for, which also allows it to be surprisingly quick – more so than many of its rivals.
Auto Gear Shift delivers advantages of both, manual and automatic transmissions.
The Brezza handles all kinds of driving environments – from bumper-to-bumper urban chaos to highways – with aplomb, thanks to the mid-range and strong top-end. This car’s engine was mated to Maruti Suzuki’s uncomplicated, highly effective Auto Gear Shift (AGS), which delivers the advantages of both manual and automatic transmissions. AGS transmissions feature an Intelligent Shift Control Actuator – an electro-hydraulic unit that takes charge of clutch and shift operations. It combines the actuator and controller and directly mounts them in the transmission to unify the working components. This helps achieve optimum and synchronised control over the clutch, shifting and the engine, translating into smooth gear changes.
All of this comes into play as the Brezza encounters rutted roads on the way to Rajmachi Fort, as does its suspension and its impressive ground clearance of 198mm. The Brezza dismisses every kind of surface undulation with ease, and the suspension does a great job of keeping its passengers comfortable, regardless of how bad the road surface is. Earlier this year, Maruti Suzuki made the Brezza even more tempting by offering it with a free 5-year/1,00,000km warranty. The new warranty plan covers a host of components and their replacement, including the high-pressure pump, compressor, Electronic Control Module, turbocharger assembly, critical engine and transmission parts, among others. The steering assembly and suspension struts are also covered by the plan.
Maruti Suzuki’s citadel
As the Rajmachi Fort looms into view, we park the car and walk up towards it. It is a surprisingly cool afternoon, and the Brezza looks fetching in the clear light. It also makes us think about how Maruti Suzuki’s doughty SUV has a lot in common with the fort. Like the fort, the Brezza has proved to be near-impregnable in its segment, regardless of what the competition throws at it. Thanks to a fantastic and well-thought-out combination of factors, it continues to have immense recall each time the topic of a compact SUV comes up. As it surely will, now that the festive season has begun.
Just so you know, buying a Brezza has just become more tempting and sweet, with the car available with a bunch of offers. In short, if you’ve been thinking of buying it, there would be no better time than now to get one.