Maruti Suzuki is often criticised for its poor performance in GNCAP’s crash tests, and with some of its newer cars like the airbag-equipped S-Presso receiving 0 stars, it’s not surprising why. One model, however, stands out with a good performance – the Brezza.
Maruti Suzuki Brezza: balancing safety and cost
Back in 2018, the compact SUV received a 4-star rating for adult occupant protection and a 2-star rating for child occupant protection (due to a mandated rear child seat). And recently, the Toyota Urban Cruiser – a badge-engineered Brezza – also received a 4-star rating for adult protection and a better 3-star rating for child protection, essentially due to a rear-facing child seat used this time around.
Importantly, beyond the star rating though, GNCAP also rated both cars’ bodyshells as stable and said they were capable of withstanding further loads. Built on the Global C platform that was developed together with Fiat, it thus looks quite feasible for the SUV to be upgraded to achieve a 5-star rating. In an interview to Autocar India, GNCAP secretary general, Alejandro Furas, confirmed this by saying, “The car [Brezza/Urban Cruiser] is not far away from a 5 star, there’s not much they need to do to achieved this.”
An encouraging statement, no doubt, but would a company that’s known to keep a keen eye on costs go ahead and try to achieve this? In the case of the Brezza, it’s quite possible and there’s good reason for this. For one, with a repeat of the 4-star rating with the Urban Cruiser, it’s evident that Maruti Suzuki has not cut corners on steel quality, materials, number of welds or even on other sub-structures related to safety, and this is something many companies actually do over the course of time. Furas, too, said they have seen this globally, where manufacturers make changes over time to make the cars “more economical to make” and add the needed features to keep pace with the market.
This was also one of the reasons GNCAP tested the Urban Cruiser despite having tested the Brezza already. “We wanted to know if there were any changes implemented in the car since our first test [of the Brezza] and we’re gladly surprised to see the car is the same as we tested with the Brezza.” Though Furas added that he hoped there would have been a centre, three-point seat belt added by now.
The other reason the Brezza could be Maruti Suzuki’s first 5-star rated car is the upcoming major facelift. Having clearly not cut corners till now, the company could easily use the redesigning as an opportunity to engineer the few technical changes and achieve the 5-star rating. With safety getting increasingly important with Indian buyers, this would only further help the Brezza stand out in a crowded compact SUV segment.
Can the Brezza cope with GNCAP’s upcoming enhanced protocol?
This July, GNCAP is also all set to debut its enhanced protocol, which will include side-impact tests and the requirement of ESC. We already know that Maruti will equip its new Brezza with ESC and six airbags to meet the upcoming mandate in India, and this could simply further its score in the crash assessments. Thus, as things stand, it’s clear Maruti Suzuki could easily take the required few steps and have a 5-star crash rated car, but will a company known to be aggressive with costs walk that path? We’ll just have to wait and see.