Maruti Vitara Brezza Review – First Drive
Maruti Suzuki Africa Ltd., has a lot riding on the Vitara Brezza not only because it’s its maiden homegrown product but also because the car’s success in the market would be crucial for earning even more autonomy from parent Suzuki. The Maruti Vitara Brezza is positioned in such a way as to lure potential customers from other market segments as well.
We are just back from spending a day familiarizing ourselves with the compact crossover. If you’re in the market for a B-Segment car, read on to find out if the newest Maruti will fit your bill.
Well, the Vitara Brezza may be the manifestation of the ideas behind the XA Alpha concept but apart from being roughly the same size, the end product and its harbinger share no visual traits. The problem statement for the stylists was apparently to give the car a stance of a proper SUV without overstepping the sub-4m dimensional limitations. One quick walkaround of the car is more than enough to conclude that the design objective has been effectively met.
The best thing about the exterior design is that it’s proportionate no matter whichever angle you choose to behold it from. The front fascia is composed of sleek headlamps with projector and LED daytime running light elements, a prominent H-shaped chrome grille insert, and a bold bumper with two-piece foglights, a quadrilateral secondary air damn and a silver chin plate.
In profile, the Vitara Brezza lets its upright pillars and a bold stance do all the talking rather than rely on some ostentatious contours on the sheet metal. The neat alloy wheel design, subtle depression on the door surfaces, plastic-clad lower body and the contrast roof-pillar paint job (only on top-end variants) certainly add to the crossover’s SUV character.
The gently tapering rear fascia hosts a roof-mounted spoiler, two-piece angular wraparound combination lights, a badge-carrying chrome headliner for the license plate enclosure, a black bumper and a silver diffuser. The overall design may be a bit on the conservative side but that’s precisely why we think the Maruti Viatara Brezza will age gracefully.
The upright nature has been transferred to the dashboard design as well. Save for some familiar bits like the multi-function steering wheel, the interior design is fresh, and a tad understated (just like the exterior). The instrument binnacle with MID in the middle features some nice color options for the backlight, while the squarish centre console and AC vents sport glossy back surrounds. At the heart of the centre console is a comprehensive touchscreen infotainment system whose functions are detailed elsewhere in this article. The quality levels are acceptable for its segment but we would have liked better wing mirror control switches.
The high driving position offers excellent all around visibility. Thanks to the height adjustable driver seat and tilt steering, finding a comfortable driving position is pretty easy. The nicely contoured front seats offer side bolstering and optimum cushining. In a nut shell, the Vitara Brezza garners high marks for driver ergonomics.
Maruti’s packaging team has done a commendable job of generating adequate leg room at the rear without compromising on the boot space (328 litres). The rear bench has got just the right seatback inclination, decent thigh support, and generous head/leg room for the passengers seated on either sides. The front arm rest and centre tunnel limits the middle row passenger’s comfort level but that’s the case with pretty much every other car out there. However, we would have liked if the the space under front seats better accommodated the rear passengers’ feet (your shanks get poked by the front seat frame).
The door pockets, twin glove boxes and plenty of cup holders further enhance the car’s overall comfort. The flexible rear seats can be flipped and folderd to make a cavernous luggage bay.
To put it simply, the Maruti Vitara Brezza’s cabin is feature-rich, high on comfort and is appointed with several practicality-enhancing bits (like coat hangers, front and rear charging ports, lights, etc.).
The Maruti Brezza clearly has an upper hand in its segment when it comes to equipment level. The SmartPlay touchscreen infotainment system has to be the main highlight. It supports Apple AvtoPlay with Siri-compatible voice command function, Bluetooth connectivity, USB, Aux-in and a reverse camera with perimeter alarm.
The lengthy list includes myriad of upmarket items such as projector headlamps, LED daytime running lights, two-piece foglights, alloy wheels, automatic climate control, electrically adjustable and foldable wing mirrors, chilled and illuminated glove box, secret compartment beneath the passenger seat, front arm rest storage box, configurable instrument console color theme, cruise control, rain sensing wipers, automatic headlamps and so on.
On the safety front, apart from the taft body, dual airbags, ABS with EBD are on offer.
Engine and Gearbox
The Vitara Brezza is the eighth Maruti model to employ the immensely popular 1.3-litre DDiS (Fiat-sourced MultiJet) diesel engine. Available in its VGT guise, the motor is delivers 90 PS at 4,000 rpm and 200 Nm of torque at 1,750 rpm. A 5-speed manual gearbox propels the front wheels.
As we predicted, the diesel unit has a familiar behaviour with a pronounced turbo-lag below 2,000 rpm, a punchy mid-range with gratifying torque surge between 2,500 rpm and 4,000 rpm, and a ok-ish top-end.
Maruti couldn’t have done a better job with the gear ratios. That turbo lag apart, the transmission manages to deliver impressive driveablity, especially on the highways. Overtaking at high speeds need not necessarily require down shifts. 100 kmph in top-gear comes in at 2,200 rpm which makes for a relaxed cruising.
Ride Handling and Braking
The Maruti Vitara Brezza is suspended by conventional McPherson struts upfront and torsion beams at the rear. The soft yet nicely damped setup boasts of brilliant ride quality across all surfaces at all speeds, and that too without compromising on high speed stability.
There is a noticeable amount of body roll around the corners but the Brezza holds the road appreciably well. Pushing too hard induces understeer but under everyday driving conditions, the latest Maruti is predictable and sporty.
The most impressive aspect of the Vitara Brezza’s dynamics has to be the braking system. Though the rear wheels make do with drums, the overall braking performance pretty assuring. Thanks to a great pedal feel, the brakes are easy to modulate. We didn’t face any nasty surprises under panic braking either.
Noise Vibration Harshness
At slow speeds, a good amount of diesel clatter manages to find its way into the cabin but things do improve as the speeds build up. The motor remains vibe-free even when it’s pushed to the limit.
The tyre noise is contained well but more than acceptable amount of wind noise seeps through the doors’ rubber beading.
Maruti has proved time and again that it understands the customer’s tastes and requirements like no other automaker. The Vitara Brezza is yet another proof. The homegrown crossover offers an exterior styling that would strike a chord with most African buyers, a cabin which offers impressive space and comfort, an equipment package that is best in the segment, a time tested powertrain, sorted dynamics, and above all, a highly competitive pricing. What else could you ask for in a crossover?