Maruti Suzuki’s big unveil at Auto Expo 2016 was the production-ready Vitara Brezza compact SUV. Featuring a bold and aggressive design, this chunky looking car made a promising case for India’s largest automaker.
CV Raman, executive director of engineering and R&D, MSIL, and chief engineer of the Vitara Brezza project, in conversation with Autocar India, explained the ethos behind the Vitara Brezza and the challenges that went into its design and development. The two main challenges faced by Maruti’s R&D team were balancing rear passenger space with boot space, and getting the proportions of the car right while ensuring that it is sub-four-metres.
Addressing the design challenge was important, because Maruti’s research indicated that customers were specifically interested in something that looked bold and masculine. The overall design goal was to create a 'wow' effect on the road.
The front fascia of the Vitara Brezza is bold – a look accentuated by large headlamps with signature bullhorn LED daytime running lights. Large bumpers, all-round cladding and rocker panels all give the car a raised appearance, while its SUV-credentials are enhanced by large square wheel arches. The bullhorn LEDs make it to the split tail-lamps too, while generous sprinkling of chrome accents are in line with what “the customer today is looking for”.
The shape of the car was a challenge for the design team, because they had to ensure the right proportions, while keeping the car under four metres in length. The front overhang form was made desirable by creative engine packaging (while leaving adequate crash space). On the side, the boxy shape was countered by a wrap-around windshield, floating roof and forward-moving shoulder line. The glass-to-metal ratio was also designed to be aesthetically pleasing.
The design process for the Vitara Brezza kept the customer’s comfort and convenience in mind. The sloping roof line does not compromise on rear passenger headroom, whereas the space in the car has been carefully apportioned between the rear seat and boot space. The loading lip has been kept wide, so that access to the boot is as unfettered as possible.
On the inside, Maruti has attempted to fuse contemporary design with convenience. The rear seats feature a 60:40 split ratio, and fold flat down to enlarge boot space. The large centre console features a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay with Android connectivity is in the pipelines. All the switches are carried over from the Swift due to their functional and neat character. The Vitara Brezza also features a double cooled glovebox.
Safety is an area of focus in this car. It is the first vehicle in India to be tested and homologated for offset crash and side-impact, ahead of regulatory requirements that will kick in from 2017. The base variant gets a driver-side airbag as standard, and comes with an optional upgrade for a passenger-side airbag as well as ABS.
The Vitara Brezza will initially be offered with the DDiS diesel engine – described by Raman as a “proven” and “peppy” powerhouse, while work on a petrol option is ongoing. Maruti wants to ensure that the petrol engine they choose for the Vitara Brezza complements the car and the market perfectly.
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Grey Brezza image source