Suzuki Ciaz review

Suzuki Ciaz at Rickety Bridge winery.

It must be the most under-the-radar car in the history of South African motoring. Have you heard about it?

The Ciaz is the biggest sedan car Suzuki offers in South Africa. Its about the size of the earlier Honda Ballade and previous era Corolla. I think it competes heads on with the VW Polo sedan, although it is possibly marginally bigger.

Ciaz is a no-nonsense proper traditional family car with all the little luxuries and safety equipment you can expect from a car.

Surely a recipe for sales success.

Suzuki Ciaz

But no.

In the first place the fashion for cars at the moment is for station wagons dressed up as SUVs or crossovers and secondly it seems people just don’t know about the Suzuki Ciaz – the big little family sedan of the fastest growing car brand in the country (Suzuki sold 1 632 vehicles in January). More is the pity. The advantages of a sedan include the more secure boot, lower operating costs (everything from fuel, insurance, to the price of tyres), ease of use in town and lower acquisition costs.

There is quite a lot of competition in this dwindling but still important segment though.
The Corolla Quest (998 sales per month) and Polo Sedan (503) dominate the sales of small to medium family sedans with the Honda Ballade and Suzuki Ciaz trailing by quite a margin, even though the Ciaz in GLX guise is arguably much better value as it comes well equipped. The Hyundai Accent and Fiat Tipo are also in the mix.

I drove the Ciaz recently and was impressed by the size of the boot (424 litres), the rear leg room (806 mm), the general feeling of space in the very neat cabin and the pleasant handling. A great family car, at a very good price. Big enough for a family of four to go on holiday with but small enough to easily park. It will make a good car for a sales rep too.

The interior of the Ciaz is understated but apparently well screwed together and uses fairly smart materials and finishes which seem to be hard wearing. The instrumentation includes classic analogue speedometer and rev counter dials with an informative selectable digital display between them. Suzuki’s Smartphone Linkage Display Audio (SLDA) system includes a 7” touch display with Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity via a USB cable. The Bluetooth car phone system is easy to use and the sound is crystal clear. I liked the multi-function steering wheel and the steering position in general even though it is not highly adjustable. The seats are comfortable and supportive and allow good legroom for the rear seat passengers. There is a sprinkling of storage bins and bottle holders dotted all over the cabin.

The Ciaz GLX has cruise control as standard as well as automatic climate control, electrically folding side mirrors, leather upholstery, integrated lighting in the foot wells, individual rear reading lights and a retractable rear sunshade. Almost all the bells and whistles as standard.

I found the road manners of the Ciaz, on a number of mountain passes and on the highway, to be above par. In town it’s a gem. The steering stiffens up at speed, something which I liked but sporty orientated divers may consider a little vague.

Acceleration is fine and one can pass quite effortlessly and quickly. In short, a well handling sedan with adequate power (77 KW @ 6000 and torque of 138 Nm @ 4400) and good fuel consumption at or around 6L/100 km in combined city and highway use and much better on the open road.

The range starts with the 1.5 GL MT at R223 400 and tops off with the 1.5 GLX AT for R269 900; the car we drove is the GLX manual at R254 900 which includes a solid 5 year or 200 000km warranty and a 3 year or 60 000km service plan.

 

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