Published on May 03, 2020 08:00:00 AM
The Maruti Ciaz, when it was first introduced in 2014, gave the impression of a by-thenumbers midsize sedan designed to excel at being sensible but to go no further than that. It wasn’t exciting to look at or to drive, but space, comfort, fuel economy and an affordable price tag? It was the undisputed king of those. Then the facelift came along in 2018 and something strange happened. The Ciaz, subtly but surely, evolved into something far more grown-up and desirable, and this is something that became far more evident in the year that it spent in our long-term fleet.
A lot of that had to do with the updated styling, which brought more cohesion to the car’s appearance and allowed it to truly show off its class-leading length. It didn’t go down the sporty route, but instead revelled in being classy and understated. It looked good. Inside too, you got much more welcoming palette of colours, more equipment and, clichéd as it may sound, I did, on more than one occasion, find my passengers baffled to learn they were in a Maruti. The ride felt plusher, the cabin more refined, and over the months, it became a car I’d happily recommend to more than just my dad.
Speaking of, it also comes with a segment-exclusive engine auto stop-start system, and now that the Ciaz is gone, I’m struggling to adjust to life without it. Apart from being able to deliver upwards of 10kpl in even the worst traffic, carefully allowing the system engage and disengage at the perfect moment at traffic lights was such a satisfying game to play. One that ultimately saved money too.
I rarely ever used the back seat, but plenty of people did and they absolutely loved it. There are a few things that weren’t so easy to love, of course. By the end of the year, the cream interior had picked up so many stains, it looked like desert camouflage; the infotainment system was slow and prone to crashing; and the light steering and soft suspension meant it wasn’t the most reassuring car to drive at highway speeds.
But, odd as this might sound, the Ciaz changed my driving style over the course of the year. We’re obsessed with the idea that faster, exciting cars are better, and while there’s a place for them, there’s also a welcome place for cars like the Ciaz. It encourages you to be slower, more measured, more efficient, more relaxed behind the wheel, and it’s not a bad car for it. It’s smooth, comfortable and soothing to drive, and if, unlike me, you’re chauffeur driven, it’s got an excellent back seat too.
I’m sure the next car I use as a long-termer will have something exciting to offer, but I’m not sure there’s anything on the market right now that offers the unique, laid-back experience the Ciaz does.
|Price when new||Rs 9.98 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)|
|Test economy||10.82kpl (overall)|
|Previous Report||February, May, August, and November 2019|