On the Beaufort Scale, a 0 to 12 measurement of wind speed, a breeze which is ranked a gentle 2-6 seems an inappropriate suffix for the Maruti Vitara ‘Brezza’ (breeze in Italian). Given the way the Vitara Brezza is flying out of showrooms, it appears that Maruti’s first sub-four-metre-long, compact SUV is more like a force 10 gale. Within two months of its launch, Maruti has sold over 13,000 units, catapulting it to the top of the SUV sales charts. What’s even more impressive is that the Brezza has achieved this with just one engine and gearbox option – the ubiquitous 1.3 diesel mated to a standard five-speed gearbox. We’ve finally put Maruti’s hot-seller through a thorough road test to see if it warrants all the attention.
As mentioned earlier, the Brezza is currently offered with only one engine and gearbox combination. The familiar, Fiat-sourced DDiS200 engine makes 90hp and 200Nm of torque that has powered a wide range of cars and earned notoriety for its noticeable turbo-lag at low revs. On the Brezza, however, the turbo-lag isn’t as pronounced but you still need to cross 2,000rpm for the engine to properly wake up. Beyond that mark, there is a good surge of power all the way to about 5,000rpm, just shy of the redline of 5,300rpm which is quite high for a diesel. With this, the Brezza is very comfortable cruising on highways and overtaking is quite easy, even with a full load. When it comes to acceleration, the Brezza is quite quick and does the 0 to 100 kph in 12.96 seconds; that’s faster than the 1.5-litre Ford EcoSport diesel which takes 13.67 seconds.
In-gear too, the Brezza is the faster car with a 20-80kph in third gear time of 11.77 seconds but only by the tiniest of margins, with the Ford clocking 11.97 seconds. Extracting performance though does send the drone of the diesel motor right though the cabin but drive in a relaxed manner and the engine, road and wind noise, though present, are at an acceptable level. The overall gearing is on the shorter side and cruising at 100kph in fifth gear, the engine is turning over at a fairly busy 2,500rpm but it’s not that busy as to warrant a sixth gear. The gearbox shifts lack crispness but the clutch is light and with a good progression, making driving in start-stop traffic easy.