Maruti Suzuki will soon introduce a new, more modern automatic gearbox to some of the larger cars in its line-up, namely the Ertiga, XL6 and Brezza for starters. The new 6-speed torque converter automatic, likely to be borrowed from the Suzuki Vitara SUV sold overseas, will replace the ageing 4-speed automatic currently in use in these cars.
- Ertiga, XL6 and Brezza to get new gearbox with facelifts
- New auto will likely help meet April 2022 CAFE 2 norms
- Expect a small bump in price for these new auto variants
New Maruti 6-speed auto to help meet new CAFE norms
The four-speed torque converter automatic has been pressed into duty in Maruti’s larger-engined petrol models since the V6-powered Grand Vitara XL7 of 2003. While seemingly dated by its number of gears and the lack of a sport mode or manual shifting, in real-world use, there’s no doubt that this is one of the smoothest gearboxes for the money.
Apart from offering the option to shift manually and a sport mode, the added ratios and more modern tech of the new 6-speed auto should help performance with improved shift times and quicker responses, but it will likely also be more expensive and result in a slight price bump for these models.
Moreover, it should contribute to improving fuel economy and emissions – apart from giving buyers more kilometres to the litre in their petrol Maruti vehicles, it will also help future-proof them, and this is likely what prompted the change. The upcoming Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE 2) rules will come into effect in April 2022, and to comply with them, carmakers will have to lower the average CO2 level of their entire model line-up from the current 130g/km to 113g/km, which this gearbox should help do.
Ertiga, Brezza and XL6 facelifts
Currently, Maruti offers three auto gearboxes in India. The Baleno uses a CVT, while the rest of the hatchback range and the Dzire compact sedan use a 5-speed AMT – all of these with 1.0 or 1.2-litre petrol engines. Models that use the larger 1.5-litre petrol – the Ciaz, S-cross, Vitara Brezza, Ertiga and XL6 – currently use the 4-speed auto.
The Ertiga is due for a facelift in March this year, and is likely to be the first Maruti to get this new gearbox, mated to the same 1.5-litre K15 petrol engine. As with the old automatic, a mild hybrid system will likely be offered on automatic variants, though the 5-speed manual will still be available.
Next in line is the heavily updated Brezza, but changes to Maruti’s successful compact SUV will be far more comprehensive than to the Ertiga. We expect substantial changes to the exterior and interior, including new infotainment and lots more equipment, and even the possibility of a CNG variant. As for the 6AT, it could be offered with paddle shifters in the Brezza.
A facelift of the Ertiga’s more premium Nexa sibling, the XL6, will then follow in May or June. This, too, will be a minor facelift, although larger alloy wheels are expected to help make it feel more upmarket.
That only leaves the Ciaz and S-cross, for which Maruti doesn’t seem to have any updates planned. However, if they are to be on sale for a few more years, Maruti could update them with only the new 6-speed auto gearbox and no other changes. The brand has done something similar in the past, replacing the Ciaz’s 1.3-litre Multijet diesel engine with the short-lived 1.5 DDiS with no other changes to the vehicle.
Over and above this, Maruti Suzuki has a number of new models lined up this year. The heavily updated Baleno is slated to launch next month, which will be followed by the aforementioned updates to the Ertiga, Brezza and XL6, and later in the year, there will be an all-new Alto as well. The biggest news, however, is the new mid-size SUV developed by Toyota that will be launched during the festive season.
Is the new 6-speed AT a welcome step up for Maruti? Let us know what you think in the comments section.