Like most relationships, my time with this long-term Maruti Ciaz, thus far, has been spent in phases. And they play out just as you might expect. It starts with curiosity and a little bit of doubt: ‘What are the features like?’ ‘Will it be any fun?’ ‘Surely it can’t be as fuel-efficient as Maruti says it is.’ ‘Those beige carpets look like they’re already turning brown.’
The next phase was acceptance and slow admiration. ‘It’s got pretty much everything I need.’ ‘It’s not a lot of fun but it sure is relaxing.’ ‘Whoa, this is way more efficient than I expected.’ ‘I should probably have those carpets cleaned; they used to be beige once.’
And now, it seems, I’m in the settling down phase. ‘Hey Google, take me to work.’ ‘Ah, come to me, sweet, soft, mushy suspension.’ ‘Still about two weeks to go before fill-up day arrives.’ ‘Meh, brown is the new beige, right?’
BROWN TOWN: Monsoon hasn’t been kind to the carpets.
It’s true; I’ve started to long for this car at the end of every day. Sure, it’s not going to get my pulse racing, but I’m fortunate enough to have access to so many other cars if I want a quick adrenaline fix. And once I’m done, I want nothing more than to sink into my Ciaz’s faux-leather seats and trundle gently home.
I enjoy playing the little game with the fuel computer in the MID display – keeping the green bar above the current fuel economy figure on the screen (it means you’re driving more efficiently than you were before). And though it has been quite stellar in the past, I’ve lately let the Ciaz down, dropping that number into high-single-digit territory.
That’s because I find myself driving it a lot more outside of my commute these days, sometimes just for kicks. Father needs picking up from the airport? I’m on it. Big family brunch? Invite more cousins please! Night out with the friends? Why take a cab? I’ll be the designated driver. Yep, that much.
CHAUFFEUR, SO GOOD: Has a hugely spacious back seat.
The downside of driving it a lot more, I suppose, is that some of the Ciaz’s shortcomings come to the fore more frequently. While the engine is strong enough to hustle just little ol’ me around, when the car is loaded with people, it needs to be worked a fair bit harder – which perhaps wouldn’t have been an issue with the diesel version. It’s also in such a situation that, when weighed down, the soft suspension can sometimes bottom out. And when you’re driving at a more ‘traffic friendly’ time, enjoying yourself takes precedence and fuel economy tends to be less of a consideration; so that double-digit efficiency figure has a smaller chance of survival.
TOUCHY TOPIC: Gen 1 SmartPlay infotainment is sluggish.
But hey, a little friction is part of any relationship, right? Except this relationship has a finite life-span. After 10 months and 6,405km, we’re now in the twilight of our time with the Ciaz, and it won’t be long before it has to ride out into the sunset with one of Maruti’s drivers at the wheel. I’m going to try and make the most of it.
Photography: Omkar Dhas
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