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Old 9th May 2009, 18:35   #1
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Default Maruti Ritz : Test Drive & Review

What you'll like:

• A practical "Maruti Swift"
• Well-packaged interiors
• Outstanding petrol & diesel engines
• Composed handling for a tall boy
• Maruti’s after-sales service

What you won't:

• Weird rear styling can be a deal breaker
• Ride quality at low speeds is bumpy
• Interior part quality isn't as good as the Hyundais

Reported Fuel Efficiency:

• 1.2 Petrol : 12.0 (City) / 16.5 (Highway)
• 1.3 Diesel : 14.9 (City) / 19.2 (Highway)


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Maruti is on a roll; the Ritz is their 7th new launch in 4 years (after the Swift, Zen Estilo, SX4, Grand Vitara, Swift Dzire and A-star). Maruti doesn’t seem to have a problem with product overlap either : The Ritz is the 7th Maruti hatchback you can buy today, and the 6th in the 3 – 5 lakh rupee range (2.5 lakh 800 excluded).

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The Ritz is built on the same platform as the Swift. Let me simplify this entire review for you. In one line : The Ritz is a practical modern alternative to the Swift. While the Swift pulls the strings to your heart, it is the Ritz that’ll make sense to your head. This car is a genuine i10 competitor (though I expect it to pull a lot of potential Swift customers as well). The i10 has the advantage when it comes to sheer interior quality, but the Ritz has a killer weapon in its arsenal : The 1.3 DDIS diesel engine. The brand new K12M petrol engine is outstanding too, but more on that later.

The Ritz’ front end is mature & looks neat. Suzuki obviously wants to maintain a certain family look; in fact, if you half-shut your eyes, you’d think that the front is that of a Swift. The headlamps, in particular, are eye-catching. The MPV-like raked front windscreen does its part in making the interiors feel airy. The side profile is acceptable, while the pronounced wheel arches (seen on cars from the Indica facelift to the S-Class) are well-integrated.

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It is only the rear that strikes out on our roads (boomerang style lights included). I found the rear end plain ugly. It looks worse on the lower-end variants with their thinner tyres!

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The interiors of this compact hatch are superbly packaged. A high roof and resultant generous headroom give the interiors an airy feeling. The tall stance leads to practical ingress / egress and much better than in the Swift or other low set hatchbacks.

I set the seat according to a 5’10”guy in the front, even then I could sit in the back without squeezing / crouching:
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Rear leg room is just about enough(not generous, but will do the job). The rear seat seemed to be perched higher than the front, thus no Swift claustrophobia in here.

Minimum / Maximum legroom:
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Boot with parcel tray in place:
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Without parcel tray:
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The boot is 236 liters (swift = 232 liters & Hyundai i10 = 225 liters) in size; bigger would have been better but it is on par with the direct competition.

The rear seat splits into a 60:40:
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Interior part quality is overall a step ahead of the Swift. However, some parts feel typically Maruti; hard door panels & beadings are only average (i10 has the edge):
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Due to the higher seating position (typical of tall boys), the driver has a good view of the road ahead. The driver’s seat, as well as the steering column, is height adjustable on the top variants.

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Unlike the Swift's dull black interiors, the Ritz interiors are dual tones (e.g. blue + grey) and add to the liveliness. There are a ton of storage places & cubby holes on the inside.

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There’s a storage spot right above the glove box too, while under the driver’s seat is a nifty drawer (books welcome). Ergonomics are fantastic with all controls (console mounted gearshift included) falling easily to hand.

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Easy to read speedometer

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The revv counter is pod-mounted on the left hand side this time (unlike the right in the A-Star). I love this after-marketish look, but have doubts on its mass appeal. The king-side A-star’ish speedometer is very easy to read. However, I prefer a traditional analog fuel gauge compared to the tiny (eye-straining) digital one in the Ritz. Strangely, there isn’t any climate control on the Ritz, even on the ZXi, despite the Swift offering the same. Also conspicuous by its absence is a dead pedal (boon on long drives).

Big side view mirrors offer good visibility
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The rear windscreen + thick C pillar restrict the rear view to the driver:
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Getting to the meat of the matter : The brand new 1.2 L DOHC 84 BHP (85 PS @ 6,000 rpms) engine is simply fantastic! This motor is way more refined than the 1.3L in the Swift, has good in-town driveability (113 NM of torque) and, one can tell, a couple of generations newer. It was even fun taking her to 6,000 rpms, the motor is fairly revv happy (though progress is slow and noise levels higher after 5000 odd rpms). The engine is very tractable and boasts a flexible nature; it is at home pottering around in the city or stretching her legs on the open road. This engine is so good that I see it makings it way into the Swift as well (soon?). The gearshift quality is smooth & sure-slotting in the petrol. The all-too-familiar 1.3 DDIS was a joy to pilot as well. Enough is said about this popular engine on the forum in terms of the punchy nature & fuel efficiency, so I won’t elaborate further. Also, a Maruti engineer confirmed that the NVH levels are better in the Ritz diesel than in the Swift D. On the highway at 80kph in 5th gear, no one can tell that it’s a diesel.

Engine bay is very compact, either engine is a perfect fit:
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Maruti’s new age hatches are fun to drive. The Swift & A-star proof of this. This car may have a tall stance, but it also has a firm long travel suspension. As a result, the handling is composed for a tall-boy. The body roll is well controlled, surprisingly, it doesn’t lean into corners uncomfortably. This is a thoroughly modern hatchback, even at a 100 kph it feels planted (well, as well as a hatchback can be). The Ritz is not as chuckable as the Swift, but a pretty balanced drive nevertheless. Impressive that it doesn’t feel like a tall boy (massive step ahead of a WagonR for instance).

Ride quality stays consistently good at the front, with a firm side to it. However, on the back seat, it was damn bouncy (city speeds of 30 – 50 kph) on typically Indian roads. As the speedometer climbed, it flattened out to an extent, but don’t expect a comfortable ride within the city over uneven road patches. The electric power steering is well-weighted and direct (but gives no feedback to the enthusiasts amongst us). 170 mm of ground clearance (raised from Euro spec 140 mm) with a firm suspension setup didn’t see the Ritz bottoming out anywhere (with 3 on board). The controls are extremely light, and this combined with peppy engines, makes the Ritz a fantastic drive within the city. The turning circle is tight as well. Nothing to write about the brakes. Standard fare. Brakes are reassuring and have decent feel. ABS available (and highly recommended) as an option on the Vxi / Vdi.

• Launch on the 15th of May.

• The Ritz is better suited for 4 rather than 5 passengers.

• The air-con was very effective, even in the hot Vizag summer. Didn’t need to go over position 2.

• I posed a question to Maruti as to why there isn’t an automatic gearbox offered on the Ritz (when chief competitor i10 does). Answer : Automatic market is too miniscule to focus on at the moment. However, I still believe that an auto Ritz would have given it a positive image & would bring / retain many a customer within the Maruti family.

• No airbags on the top-end diesel

• Maruti has skimped on an internal boot release.

• Logical upgrade from a WagonR. I’d presume a lot of WagonR owners would move on to the i10. Maruti has a product for them to stay within the family now. This car takes the fight to the i10 head on.

• I see people opting for the Ritz (over the Swift) not only because of enhanced practicality, but also for something different. The Swift sells 9000 cars a month and is pretty much a common sight on our roads. The Ritz is fresh off the block.

• FE should be decent in the city due to the engines low end torque.

• 8 colours : Red, Chocolate, blue, silver, green, grey, black and white.

• Maruti wanted to name this car the Splash (as is worldwide). However, Ford has the rights to that name in India.

• Rear is nowhere as claustrophobic as the Swift. But then, neither does it have the personality of the Swift.

• Lousy JK tyres give up way before the chassis does. 165mm / 14 on all but the ZXi which is shod with 185 / 14.

• Weight : LXi = 1005 kgs, LDi = 1100 kgs.

• Wind & tyre noise on the higher side at 100 kph, especially when seated at the back.

• Same family of engine as the A-star, but what a difference one cylinder can make. Way more refined.

• Swift diesel : petrol sales are 65:35. Will the Ritz be the same? Note that the petrol Ritz is more competitive than the petrol Swift.

• The international 1242cc K12 engine is not the one you see in the Indian Ritz. This one is tailor-cut to our sub-1.2 L tax benefits (1197 cc).

• Base versions (165mm) look horribly under-tyred.

• International versions have a hidden tray in the boot for storage. Not so on the Indian Ritz.

• Some parts like the console, rpm meter etc. exude quality

• Price isn’t disclosed yet, with mixed rumours of it being either slightly above the Swift or below. Either ways, I predict a market success.

In a nutshell, the young unmarried dude will probably still buy a Swift. But for someone with kids / family, the Ritz makes immensely more sense.

Disclaimer : Maruti dropped an invite to Team-BHP for the Ritz test-drive. They covered all the expenses for this trip.

Last edited by GTO : 20th December 2010 at 16:21.
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Old 9th May 2009, 18:37   #2
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Features exclusive to the VXi / VDi:

- 165/80/14 tyres (as with the LXi)
- Central locking
- Fog lights
- ABS / EBD / Brake assist (available options)
- Body coloured mirrors + door handles (only VDi)
- Wheel caps
- Fabric on door trim
- Power windows
- Tachometer
- Alerts for seat belts, door closure, light off etc.
- Front seat undertray
- Rear head restraints

Features exclusive to the ZXi (no ZDi variant):

All features of VXi plus the following
- 185/70/14 tyres
- Driver + Passenger airbag
- Height adjustable belts + pretensioner
- ABS / EBD / Brake assist
- Alloy wheels
- Rear defogger
- Rear wiper + washer
- Tiltable steering wheel
- Steering wheel audio controls
- Keyless entry
- Integrated audio system
- Parcel tray
- Drivers seat height adjustment
- Cigar lighter

Last edited by GTO : 10th May 2009 at 15:32.
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Old 9th May 2009, 19:36   #3
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Rear 3 quarter:
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Handbrake area:
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Height adjustable seatbelts:
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Tornados:
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Anti-rattle rubber
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Last edited by GTO : 9th May 2009 at 19:38.
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Old 9th May 2009, 19:53   #4
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Well written, covered everything!

I really thought the rear was designed to give more space but doesn't seem so.

Looks too much like the swift from the front for me(headlights headlights headlights), but as you said, swift for fun, ritz for family

I heard from Vitesse it is priced below swift
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Old 9th May 2009, 19:55   #5
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That's a very comprehensive review GTO. Thanks
I like car but save for the rear end design. If the rear end had a slight bulge to match the bulbous front end it would've looked far better in profile and from the rear. But like you said it makes great sense for the head but the heart aint accepting it's rear!
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Old 9th May 2009, 19:57   #6
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i am not very impressed with the car.
reason:too many better options in the same price range also can take a chance of increasing a lakh & buy a better car.

Last edited by Rehaan : 11th May 2009 at 02:26. Reason: vry = very. Please type in full words and not SMS language as per the Team-BHP rules.
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Old 9th May 2009, 19:59   #7
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Nice!!! Another TBHP first i suppose! Getting an invite for the TD and that TBHP no. plate on the car makes it even better!

Does this come with that touchscreen HU which is seen in the pics??

Last edited by karthik247 : 9th May 2009 at 20:02.
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Old 9th May 2009, 20:00   #8
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Quite a funny back side, not very attractive but with the 1.3 DDiS very practical. Looks like the rear suddenly decided to abruptly end itself. Interiors are quite basic i10 in my opinion is more classy (beige and all). This space is getting too crowded with so many brands and models packed in, Ritz will make the process of decision making quite confusing.

Team-Bhp got an invite for the test drive, the Indian auto industry is starting to take us quite seriously.
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Old 9th May 2009, 20:06   #9
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Looks good only from the front and the grille looks aggressive and nice. Apart from that the interiors look ok. Needless to say that the rear end and the 'rubber band spec tyres' make it look horrible from the rear.

The diesel engine may be the factor to take sales from other hatch versions present today BUT will maruti be able to satisfy the diesel engine demand -- considering that swift/dzire diesel have long waiting periods??.

Overall a good practical option for small families from the maruti stable. They have enough & more choices for people to choose one atleast.
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Old 9th May 2009, 20:07   #10
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As rightly pointed out, this is a logical change for someone replacing a Wagon R.
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Old 9th May 2009, 20:10   #11
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donot like the design of the rear end looks like somebody chopped off the rear end of a sedan. even the design of rear door is trapezoid sort off .the placement of tacho is not ideal. a very ugly duckling
nothing to rave about .in short it will sell very well
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Old 9th May 2009, 20:12   #12
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Fantastic review, GTO. Fact that T-bhp got an invite shows that manufacturers are really taking us seriously. Kudos to Maruti.

The car looks good and has 2 amazing engine options. Pricing is going to be tricky. If they price it more than the Swift it will be very very close to the Dzire. Sedan and Hatch from Maruti with same pricing means one of them will take a hit.

Going by the lesser features in the ZXi/ZDi compared to the Swift ZXi/ZDi looks to be that the pricing will be little lesser than Swift.
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Old 9th May 2009, 20:12   #13
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why do all these new maruti suzukis have such horrible rear visiblity !
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Old 9th May 2009, 20:14   #14
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Is that big screen HU a feature of zxi \ vdi ??

Sad that they dont give Airbags in the high end diesel..

Suddenly,the recent swift buyers (including me ) seems to be in a ditch.

Since this is a more practical alternative with better interior space and same monster of a diesel engine
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Old 9th May 2009, 20:17   #15
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As everyone has said, the rear seems to have spoilt this package but we are now starting to see the new petrol engine making its way into the Maruti line up which is good. The interiors don't look plain jane but its definately not upto the i10 level.

One more hatch into the already crowded market, this car is probably going to cannibalize the sales of other hatches in the maruti stable. We already have a waiting period for the DDIS models and maruti has thrown in one more car into the mix, so unless they somehow increase the production rate of this engine, the waiting lists are going to get longer for Swift and DZire.


Mods: Is this the first time a manufacturer has asked Team-Bhp to test a car? I guess its a recognition that the opinions shared by people in this forum makes a difference. Way to go

GTO - Was it just you who did the test drive or were the others from the forum who accompanied you?
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