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Old 21st January 2016, 15:23   #1
Venkatesh.C's Avatar
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Default Moving from SX4 to Ciaz vxi+

After much deliberation, I'm posting this for a few reasons.
1. Expressing thanks to the wealth of information available on this wonderful forum that helped me make a decision that helped balance both the head and the heart.
2. Bring out a few points that will perhaps help others. The ownership threads on Ciaz are mostly lost in the comments section of the main review.

Please excuse me for the lack of many pictures.

I had an SX4 Petrol for eight years. In short I loved it and I still do. The best experience of SX4 is in riding the highways. Its an effortless cruiser. I wanted to change it before it when I had the best memories of the car.

My hunt took me a good 3 months starting September '15. With a budget of max 9 lakhs, the hunt began. The key must haves being
1. Ease of ingress egress for my mother and seating space for 5 adults with 2 kids squeezed in.
2. Best service network
3. Decent boot space
4. Petrol engine - I've concluded that the smoothness of the petrol is worth the price at the gas station.
5. A good bluetooth phone sync option to take those long conference calls without fiddling with the phone.

The vehicles tested
1. Scross 190(I tried this as this had the original Sx4/Sedici roots and harbored a soft spot for this vehicle. ) - I test drove the 320. I must admit, it was a bomb! Refined and smooth! It had adequate space and a so-so looking all black interiors. Sigma was close to my budget, but sucked features-wise, zeta was good feature-wise but was out of budget . In short, I could not see the VFM - Result: Knocked out.

2. Baleno - Loved the looks, it had the panache that no other Maruti has had in a long time. But the backseat ingress egress was a pain for my mother. Head bumped in the door sill and had to disqualify this car though the heart beat for it. Never even test drove this one.

3. Honda Jazz - It ticked all the boxes! Period. Had the space, it had good driveability and the design also had character.

4. Maruti Suzuki Ciaz - One look at the car on the road, I disqualified it as a surefire backseat ingress-egress fail. Wait, I bought it right? Here is what happened.

On a bored rainy day (Chennai , 2015) I took a stroll(yes, the showroom was walking distance) to the nearby Maruti dealer to take a look at the Ciaz. I went straight to the backseat and I was gobsmacked!

Not only was the ingress, egress easy despite its heigh, it had space. Loads of it. I could actually sit cross legged in the backseat! Turns out that the ad was not a joke !

The interiors were a class above the jazz in looks. The beige overload notwithstanding, that is. It was also fairly loaded compared to the jazz which pinched on silly stuff like mudflaps, central locking, spare remote keys etc.,

But at 9.75 lakhs on road, the price was slightly out of my budget. I came a little confused though I like the car. On one hand I had the jazz which met all my parameters but still left me feeling short changed and on the other I had the Ciaz which was just want i liked but its slightly out of my reach. I had not one, but two contenders for my wallet.

My wife and son were edging me towards the Jazz as the size was just right and they did not care for the missing features while they felt that Ciaz was too big and parking it for school runs would be a challenge. My daughter and parents leaned towards the Ciaz as it was more luxurious. I sided with my daughter as my heart and head told me that this is the car I'd like to have.

My SA from whom i had bought my 3 earlier cars asked me to wait for December discounts and promised to sweeten the deal. I reached out to the Honda dealer and told him about the predicament quite frankly. To my surprise he declined any discount whatsoever as the car was new in the market. I must admit he did offer 10k worth accessories.

My mind was vacillating in the interim weeks till December arrived. I was hoping that the discounts would bring it under the max budget if i can give up on the 0 depreciation insurance and 4th year warranty. I was also mentally preparing to 'compromise' if the Ciaz deal fell through! The price of Ciaz Vxi+ is quite close to the Jazz Vx and I was hoping against hope for some favourable winds.

Meanwhile i started researching the cars. This is when I hit the point i had thoroughly overlooked. ASS. My co workers and friends who owned Hondas warned me that the cars were good but the service network wont compare to the Marutis or the Hyundais. They themselves relied on multibrand car service outlets for a decent service. This was it. There was no way I was going to buy the Honda as good ASS is something i regard as extremely important to the ownership experience.

Then December dawned, the infamous Chennai floods came and went. The 2nd week of December, the SA called withe final price . When he told me the final price, he hit the sweetest spot! He undercut the jazz and met my budget for the vxi+! including 4th year warranty and zero depreciation cover! All for an on road price of 9 Lakhs! I felt that it was immense value for a a Ciaz Vxi+ Compared to the ZXi* I was losing out only on what i consider the frills, like the Alloys, Keyless entry and a bunch of other cosmetics.

I was thrilleed. The pricing sealed it for me. Sorry Honda!

Cut Scene - Loan @ SBH - Part payment allowed, no foreclosure charges. 600 processing fee. Processed in 3 hours. Money in the dealer account in the 4th hour. I must mention the friendly banker who was cool and grounded. No over the top servicing either! He also laid down the terms of each document in simple language and made sure I understood what I signed up for! If nationalized banks provide this kind of service everywhere, i'll happily give up the private banks for them!

Cut-Scene - I now drive a Vxi+. Stock. No additions barring Nomad mats.
Made in august, bought in December. checked for flooding signs. All clear. The SA was transparent with me!
Moving from SX4 to Ciaz vxi+-ciaz0.jpg

I regret having pestered the SA every other day during the course of the week between the loan clearance and the registration. I wish there was a more simpler transparent way of keeping tabs on the progress of the sale through to its delivery. I told Maruti feedback surveyors that they should look at putting up a website where excited buyers like me can track progress without having to nag the SA.

How is the car? here is how it stacks up.
Exteriors : The car looks pleasing to the eye. There are certain flourishes here and there that are interesting about how the car looks, but overall the don't offend anyone seems to be the general theme. It has a few elements that appeal to me like the projector lamps and the famous Honda like tail lamps. Bumpers offer little or no protection from any bumps and it worries me to no end that a biker with weak brakes is all it will take to do some serious damage in the cut and sprint traffic. The side mirrors are solid and its a good thing and a bad thing too? I don't want to find out the hard way. Its well built and sturdy to the extent I worry if it will give in to a rub from a passing vehicle or shatter on impact due to its stiffness. I cannot help miss the front profile similarities with the Baleno original. the same wide, crouching looks with silver slats for the grill.
Moving from SX4 to Ciaz vxi+-ciaz1.jpg
Interiors: The door handles are typical Marutis and functional. Nothing more to write about it. Get in and shut the door gently and you feel like you are swinging a fridge door shut. That soft sound fridge makes when the beading comes in contact with the body and seals it shut. A very similar sound greets you when you swing the door shut. It does not take much effort to click it shut and that's a good thing. It definitely gives and impression of being a featherweight door. It definitely is different from the reassuring thuds you get from heavier cars. They are extremes in fact.
However, opening it is an altogether different story. The doors open in 3 stages and it takes a good effort to shove it beyond the first stage into the second and third from the inside. Kids often struggle to do that from inside as I discover each day when dropping them off at the school gates. The door pockets are adequate to hold a few sundry items like bottle, sunglass, books and other oddments. The door insides including the fabric inserts are largely beige and its going to be a chore to keep it clean.

An aside. Be wary of opening doors when you switch cars. When i switched to my Ritz, I ended up banging the door wide open so fast and scared folks around .

The plastics in the door frames and the center AC duct in the back are all in beige. These get dirty quite fast as they come in contact passengers' footwear as they ingress / egress. Keep an eye out for this.

Seats.The seats are nice and comfy. I'm yet to travel long and cannot comment on their comfort over long distances. I'm sure the official review has gotten it right. The driver side has seat height adjustment and the vertical travel is quite adequate and at 5' 10" I did not bump into the roof at its max height. The travel is adequate and was able to find a comfortable driving position in minutes. Buckle up, else the car will start beeping madly once you hit 20kph. Good job Maruti. The arm rest is an oddball. I realized that its positioned so oddly that not even the elbow can rest on it. Maybe Maruti gave priority to hand brake access over this? The storage inside the hand rest also is a bit odd. I'm yet to figure out what it can hold. My phones wont fit. No one carries CDs in the car these days. So, go figure.
Moving from SX4 to Ciaz vxi+-ciazdash.jpg
Take a glance around and you'll feel happy about the looks. It looks more executive than sporty and I like it that way. There is a good blend of beige and black and it seems to work well. The silver accents on the door handles , air con vents, steering boss also work well. In short, it is a classy cabin. The faux wood panel is also nice and serves to separate the blacks and beiges well. The center console of the VXi+ looks just right. The buttons are intuitive and does not take more than a minute to get it right.

Space Maruti engineers deserve a round of applause for liberating so much cabin space in this vehicle. The back seat space is to be seen to be believed. One can seat cross legged. Even elders find it easy to swing their legs out given the acres of space and the non intruding B-pillar. This is a major plus for the car.

Ergonomics wise almost everything is spot on. I say almost because the horn is not accessible at all. not only is it placed bang on the steering boss and is not accessible from the 10 and 2 positions, its also hard. You cannot extend your thumbs and press it. You have to take your hands off the wheel to press it. I honk sparingly and only in an emergency. As a result, I end up banging the horn with my fists when there is such a need.

The wiper stalks look a little cheap. They also miss the variable speed function that I miss from the SX4.
Moving from SX4 to Ciaz vxi+-ciazwiperstalk.jpg

The Bluetooth telephony buttons under the steering are also fine. Some folks prefer it on the right and I did not find it to be such a big bother that it was on the left. Features wise the car has it all that you will need. More on the ICE and telephony later.

The key fob looks oddball and cheap. It beats me as to why Maruti cannot offer a foldable key on a similar unit as the Z* series key fob. On a positive note, the spare key also is a fully functional unit unlike some competitors (Honda Jazz, am looking at you). The other neat feature of this car is that you can configure your car to unlock only the driver door on pressing the remote unlock button.
Edit: The key fob has a plastic cover that just popped out and would not go back in! Obviously i got a lemon or they are just made that badly. Got to check if it can be replaced under warranty
Moving from SX4 to Ciaz vxi+-ciazkeys1.jpeg

Note the gap in the keys on the left side were it keeps popping out. The twisting motion caused when using the ignition switch is causing it to pop right back out
Moving from SX4 to Ciaz vxi+-ciazkeys2.jpeg

Starting the Engine Insert the key into the lit key ring and twist. You are greeted by the mildest of shudders and then the engine settles into an almost silent purr. This is my first experience with a K series vvt engine. Boy, this is a revelation to me! I wonder if engines can be so refined! The engine spools at slightly over 1,200 rpm for about 45 seconds post which it settles into a whisper quiet idle at 800ish rpms.
Moving from SX4 to Ciaz vxi+-ciazvvt.jpg
Driving the Ciaz
Slot the gear into the first and you'll immediately notice two things.
1. That the gear shift is a bit notchy. I feel that my SX4 had a better feel with the shift.
2. The clutch is super light. Its lighter than the SX4 at least. So much so that I started feeling that my Ritz Diesel's clutch was heavier and my brother in laws Duster had a pumping iron for its clutch. I'm sure I'll be able to operate the clutch with my hands if need be. Its that light!

Ease the clutch and the vehicle moves with the lightest of shudders. The way the engine purrs, you get this feeling as if you are slinking through the traffic and must not make any noise lest you disturb the occupants. You tend to shift early and the car just keeps purring . The gears are all matched well for the city driving and the car is happy puttering about in the second and third even at almost idling rpms. The bottom end torque is just right.
Press the gas pedal a little harder and you can feel the car trying to gather speed and even then its trying to do it gracefully. I've cruised in the 70s for short bursts the city suburbs allow me to. I'll say this. Its quiet even in 70s. I have not had the heart to thrash such a refined and well mannered engine !
Moving from SX4 to Ciaz vxi+-ciazmrf.jpg
Suspension: Given that I've been driving only in the city, i'll restrict my experience to that. The suspension is well damped and is neither hard, nor too soft to be bouncy. Its well cushioned. Where a softly sprung car wallows and bounces, you can feel the dampers easing the cabin down hard bumps. It does not jolt you like the SX4 does. Drive softly and the vehicle rewards you immensely with its soft ride. I have not had a chance to throw it around corners and I'm yet to discover its high speed riding manners. I'm sure it will have its limitations out there on the highway unlike the SX4 which is in its elements out on the highway.

Brakes: Not the car's best attribute. The brakes lack bite. Period. After driving for 1000 odd kilometers I'm not sure if the brakes need more time. Combine that with a little nosedive when braked hard, it does alter your confidence and induces you to drive on the safer side. ABS, Airbags not withstanding.

Turning Radius : The car seems to have a slightly larger turning radius than the SX4. When i saw the specs it looks like Ciaz has a turning radius of 5.4 m whereas the SX4 has a turning radius of 5.3 meters. The difference though small it is, makes a good difference when i have to reverse the car into my garage. It takes an additional point to reverse it where the SX4 would back into the garage in one swell turn. The difference is stark when there are other vehicles on the road.
Also, the steering has an annoying behavior of not returning to the center when making small / wide turns. You get used to it and start to dial some reverse turns in. But if you switch between cars be prepared to be caught off guard now and then!

Fuel efficiency : I never thought there will be a day when I'll write this. The MID gives me an average of 14.3 kpl in 100% city drives with 4th gear rarely used. I believe my accidental over inflating of tyres to 33psi(which i chose to retain) against the recommended 28? psi might have had a good influence on this. Nevertheless, this is what it is. Couldn't be happier.

ICE : Ciaz has one of the nicest sounding stock ICE I've ever experienced. The tweeters and the door mounted speakers do a pretty decent job of bringing out those sharp and base notes. Again, could not be happier.
The USB and aux ports tucked away inside a closed console is a genius design feature that hides ugly cables and prevents the USB drive from sticking out like a swollen thumb. Stick the USB and the phone in charge inside the orange lit cubby hole and close the softly sprung lid, they go out of your eyesight keeping the cabin clean. Mind you, this will also make you forget your phone as you leave your vehicle. Just a point to get used to. But I digress.
The Radio, media options are all functional and work without a fuss or delay. A couple of usability glitches do exist. Such as Bluetooth music restarting the playing track when we restart the car at a traffic light. Also, I miss a pause button especially when playing on bluetooth. While mute is enough to silence the sound, when one wants to pause a track (podcast or a lecture) to say pay a toll or to chat with a co passenger , the absence of a pause button hits you. The only option is to silence the track or switch of the sound system to have it play from the beginning or fiddle with your phone's media player's pause button. Good luck if your phone goes into lock mode when on standby. Not exactly a pleasant proposition to fumble with your phone's touch screen on the go.
Otherwise the Bluetooth works excellently and the sound system , I repeat is fabulous for normal folks Remember to up your phone media volume when playing the soundtrack over Bluetooth , it has an impact on the ICE's volume setting as well.

The Bluetooth telephony works flawlessly. The mic placed above the cabin lights is sensitive and picks up even softly spoken words and the person on the other end of the line does not even realize that am speaking on the car phone until they hear a passerby honk .
The mute button serves to mute the mic as well when on a call. This is a boon when attending those conference calls while on the go. You can unmute to chip in and go back into mute . This is a key feature that makes a whole world of value add to having a Bluetooth telephony kit.
There a few minor shortfalls. One has to do a bunch of things to access speed dial. Click the call button on the steering , dial the tuning knob on ICE to speed dial, then click the number button to indicate which speed dial to choose, god forbid you click the wrong number. You need to do more turns on the tuning knob to go back to the speed dial menu and double click to call the person on speed dial! So much for speedy dialing!
Edit: the ICE unit's bluetooth gets bamboozled if you have more than one phone and you want to swap the device along the way. At times it refuses to connect to either device. The best way it works is when it detects a paired device when you start the car. After this its smooth sailing.

Headlights with a projector lamp setup, you expect a daylight like experience, prepare to be disappointed. The lighting is just ordinary. I'm happy that its at least not as bad as the sx4 which had sub par head light beam.

Reversing . The view through the rear windscreen, while not poor, is still minimal. The reverse sensors give out the traditional chirps to indicate any obstructions when reversing, but it does not give you any visual indication as to where the obstruction is. An indicator is a useful when reversing near shrubbery where even a small plant can cause your sensors to go nuts. The indicator would help you check the direction and confirm that if its just a small plant and decide on reversing further or course correcting. In the absence of the visual indicator, one has to take every alert seriously and get out of the vehicle to inspect if its not visible from within the vehicle.
I asked about fitting an aftermarket camera, the accessories store did not have an MGA one with night vision. I decided to give it up than having a handicapped one instead.
The other thing about reversing is that there is no buzzer to alert passers by about the reversing vehicle. This is important when we are trying to reverse out of a roadside parking lot where there is a lot of foot traffic.I do miss this sorely and there seems to be no solution to this.
At night, the two reverse lights help light up the rear well enough for visual assistance. Thankfully Maruti did not paisa pinch here with just one light.

AirconThe aircon is effective and it manages to cool the cabin fairly fast. The real test comes in Chennai summer during May-June this year. I have a feeling that Ciaz should do just fine. The AC does not make a racket when the fan speeds are turned up. This is a good thing. The AC vent in the rear is basic and functional. Since it lacks its own blower, it relies on the pressure from the main blower to generate the throw in the rear. It works though the throw does appear to be inadequate.

Boot The bootlid is electromagnetic and is wired to the central locking. You cannot also unlock it when the car is in motion. I know because I've tried to open it as I slowed to a stop at the office building entrance for the mandatory boot check. The boot is huge. Period. It can gobble up a transatlantic air passenger baggage and leave room to spare.
I seem to have a problem closing the boot lid. I have to bang it hard to get the latch catch! Unlike a spring loaded mechanical latch, I'm unable to gently press the bootlid to click the lock in.
After several tries, i have now figured out a way to close with medium effort. By palming the number plate as the place of exerting pressure when we close the boot shut. It seems to engage the electromechanical lock properly without too much effort.

So, that's Ciaz for you.

Last edited by Venkatesh.C : 23rd February 2016 at 10:31. Reason: Almost there, Mods, please LMK if this is good for signoff
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Old 4th March 2016, 11:37   #2
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Default Re: Moving from SX4 to Ciaz vxi+

Thread moved from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 4th March 2016, 12:20   #3
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Default Re: Moving from SX4 to Ciaz vxi+

Congrats on the purchase and wish you all the best.

Bit concerned about the '5 adults and squeezing 2 kids in' part. . is this a regular situation? if so may be you could have looked at a proper 7 seater like the Ertiga. Would have met all your requirements.
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Old 4th March 2016, 21:44   #4
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Default Re: Moving from SX4 to Ciaz vxi+

Originally Posted by Rajeevraj View Post
Congrats on the purchase and wish you all the best.

Bit concerned about the '5 adults and squeezing 2 kids in' part. . is this a regular situation? if so may be you could have looked at a proper 7 seater like the Ertiga. Would have met all your requirements.
Should have been two separate points. Seating space for 5 adults or 4 adults + 2 kids. My bad. Will correct it pronto
update : um.. looks like the edit button is gone.

Last edited by Venkatesh.C : 4th March 2016 at 21:49.
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Old 4th March 2016, 22:04   #5
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Default Re: Moving from SX4 to Ciaz vxi+

Congrats on your new acquisition. Wish you happy times with your steed

Nowadays I believe most of the cars have this function to Mute the ICE but it wont pause the music being played. Found the same thing happening in a Hyundai Grand i10 as well.
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