Friday, June 23, 2017  
01 October, 2015 at 06:07 AM Other Reviews:
First Look
Suzuki Ciaz SHVS, the hybrid from Maruti
By MRP
Maruti Suzuki Ciaz SHVS
Maruti Suzuki, despite being the undisputed leader of Indian car market for the past three decades, had an Achilles’ heel for quite a sometime. Its dogged efforts to make a mark in the country’s premium car segment failed to bear fruits with models such as SX4 sedan (2007-14) and Baleno (1999-2007) coming a cropper. Apart from these two, Maruti also had Esteem (1994-2008) in its lineup, but that model also could not leave a legible mark in this space. In contrast, rivals such Honda carved a niche for itself in the segment, with its City sedan dominating the flock. Korean carmaker Hyundai too has credible presence in this category in the form of Verna.

Disappointed by the persistent failures, Maruti Suzuki went back to the drawing board, spent close to Rs 600 crore and developed a car what is now known as Ciaz. Launched in October 2014, this sedan has more or less ended Maruti Suzuki’s three-decade long drought in the mid-size sedan space by clocking over 60,000 units in the last 11 months. Now, the automaker is leveraging the sedan’s success by adding a hybrid version called Maruti Suzuki Ciaz SHVS. For uninitiated, a hybrid car is the one that uses more than one power or fuel source. Though petrol and electric power combination is popular globally, hybrid cars also use diesel-electric and other combinations.     
        
The Ciaz hybrid has two distinctive features. It is the country’s first diesel hybrid car. Secondly, it delivers a mileage of 28.09 kmpl, the highest among all the available cars and sports utility vehicles (SUVs) in the country. The mileage is obviously higher than the fuel-economy of 26.21 kmpl offered by the regular Ciaz diesel. To explain in layman’s terms, the Ciaz SHVS consumes 3.6 litres of diesel for every 100 km it travels. That is, of course, as per the tests carried out by the Pune-based ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) which certifies fuel-efficiency of vehicles in the country. In the real world, the mileage will be a bit lower because expertise of those behind the steering wheel, or lack of it, also plays key role in the way a vehicle consumes fuel.     

But how does the Ciaz hybrid work? The model comes fitted with Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki (SHVS) technology which consists of an integrated starter generator (ISG) and a high capacity battery. The ISG, which is connected to the engine, generates energy whenever the brakes are applied, and stores it in the battery. In automotive parlance, this is known as regenerative braking. The hybrid car uses the stored power while negotiating an upward climb. Besides, this energy is also used for the idle engine start/stop function, a feature that allows engine to go off when the car remains idle at a traffic junction or any other place. The engine starts automatically when the clutch pedal is pressed.

The other fuel optimisation feature in the Ciaz hybrid is the gear shift indicator that helps driver to change gears effectively, thereby enhancing fuel-efficiency.   

Under the hood, the Ciaz hybrid comes with 1.3-litre DDiS 200 diesel engine which is equipped with variable geometry turbocharger (VGT). The engine produces 88.5 bhp power and 200 Nm torque that kicks in at 1,750 rpm. Paired with five-speed manual, it goes on a 0-100 kmph sprint in 13.2 seconds. The regular Ciaz is also offered with petrol engine, but the hybrid version has only a diesel power train.  

The hybrid car, which measures 4,490 mm in length and sits on a wheelbase of 2,650 mm, offers generous interior spaces and a decent boot capacity of 510 litres. It has a ground clearance of 170 mm. The exterior contours are characterised by 16-inch alloy wheels, projector headlamps, strong shoulder line, and a stylish chrome grille that sports Suzuki’s signature ‘S’ logo.  Dual tone interiors, wooden garnish, leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear AC vents, and chrome accents spice up the interiors. SmartPlay infotainment system takes care of the entertainment and connectivity needs in the mid-size sedan.       

On safety side, Ciaz Hybrid, like its regular sibling, boasts dual airbags, ABS (anti-lock braking system) with EBD, rear parking sensors and camera, fog lamps and rear defogger. Its body has been built using high-tensile steel extensively for enhanced protection in the event of a collision.    

Interestingly, the model gets incentives under FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles) scheme announced by the Indian government recently because it shows generosity towards the environment with significant reduction in harmful emissions that it produces, and also in the fossil fuel it consumes. Available in seven exterior colours and five trims, the Ciaz SHVS is priced from Rs 8.23 lakh to Rs 10.17 lakh (ex showroom New Delhi).

However, there is a big challenge for this model. Hybrid cars are yet to gain traction in India. Though Toyota has tasted success with its Camry Hybrid, the volumes are miniscule compared to the overall sales. But Ciaz SHVS has a big advantage in the form of the mileage it offers. And that’s a feature which has a potential to change the market dynamics, given the India’s penchant for fuel-efficient cars. Still, it’s going to be a long drawn battle for Maruti Suzuki Ciaz SHVS to gain a foothold in Indian car market. Of course, it can tap the mileage weapon to emerge victorious. If that happens, we will get to see more hybrids on the Indian automotive landscape in the years to come.  

VITALS:
Model: Maruti Suzuki Ciaz SHVS
Engine: 1.3-litre DDiS 200
Transmission: Five-speed manual
Peak Power:  88.5 bhp @ 4,000 rpm
Max. Torque: 200 Nm @1,750 rpm
Mileage: 28.09 kmpl
Acceleration: 0-100 kmph in 13.2 sec
Price: Starts from Rs 8.23 lakh
Total variants: 5



Read More On : Maruti Suzuki , Suzuki , Maruti Suzuki Ciaz , hybrid car
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