It was only in August 2018 that Maruti Suzuki launched a facelift of its popular mid-size sedan, the Ciaz, with some cosmetic changes and a brand new, 1.5-litre, K15B petrol motor. The Honda City and Hyundai Verna rival received another update in March this year that saw the introduction of an in-house developed, 1.5-litre, DDiS 225 diesel engine.
With the stringent BS6 norms kicking in from April 2020, Maruti has begun road-testing the BS6-compliant Ciaz on Indian roads. The vehicle spotted notably wears the ‘Smart Hybrid’ badging on its boot lid, indicating it will continue with a mild-hybrid setup that consists of an integrated starter generator and a dual-battery setup, just like the current BS4-compliant K15B version on sale.
In its current avatar, the 1.5-litre petrol motor makes 105hp and 138Nm of torque. The hybrid system enables brake energy recuperation, torque assist and an idle start-stop function, the last of which results in a decent fuel economy of 21.56kpl (ARAI-rated). Power is channelled to the front-wheels via a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic gearbox. It remains to be seen whether these performance figures and transmission options continue unchanged on the BS6 version.
Maruti Suzuki has accelerated the introduction of cleaner petrol engines in the market, with two of its most popular hatchbacks – the Alto and the Baleno – already meet the tighter emission norms. The Japanese carmaker is soon expected to use the upcoming BS6 1.5-litre petrol powertrain from the Ciaz to future-proof other models in its range, like the Ertiga, S-Cross and the Vitara Brezza.
Photo credit : Chirag Harit