Rewind back to 2013, when Ford introduced the EcoSport in India and the country just went berserk with the concept of compact SUVs. The fact that such cars offered a big SUV-like feel but came with the convenience to maneuver around city traffic and park in tight spots, thanks to their car-like dimensions, helped the compact SUV segment to grow exponentially. The EcoSport wasn’t the first compact SUV to be launched in India. However, it was the one that came with the most butch looks, the best value for money package and an extremely lucrative price tag. In the following couple of years, various companies jumped into the compact SUV segment, but the game really changed only with the car that we are reviewing – the Maruti Vitara Brezza.
Maruti Suzuki is generally not a manufacturer that is late in delivering to market response. However, when the compact SUV craze suddenly popped, the company just wasn’t ready for it. Suzuki assigned complete research and development tasks to its Indian arm, in order to fast-track the process. As a result, the Vitara Brezza became the first Maruti Suzuki car, priced above the Rs 5 lakh mark, to be completely made in India.
Launched in 2016, the Vitara Brezza has been an important product for Maruti Suzuki. The company currently sells more than 10,000 units of the Brezza every month. Additionally, there is said to be an order book of around 30,000 units, which are yet to be delivered. As a result, the Vitara Brezza has finally managed to deliver the much-awaited breakthrough for Maruti Suzuki in the UV segment, something that the company didn’t manage to achieve with the Grand Vitara.
But what makes the Vitara Brezza such a popular car that it has made Maruti Suzuki the largest manufacturer in the UV segment, in terms of sales. Well, we got hold of a silver Maruti Vitara Brezza ZDi and decided to frame a detailed review of the same for you!
We drove the Maruti Vitara Brezza ZDi in New Delhi. All below observations have been made after spending a couple of days with the car and driving it in city as well as highway conditions.
Maruti Vitara Brezza ZDi – Exterior Design and looks
The Vitara Brezza is a smart looking SUV. While the EcoSport gets some aggressive looks, especially at the front, Maruti designers have tried to keep the overall design of the Vitara Brezza as clean and neutral as possible. This was deliberately done to ensure that the SUV has a wide enough appeal in order to attract buyers from various age groups.
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At the front, the Vitara Brezza ZDi get projector headlamps with bull horn shaped LED light guides. The centre area accommodates a prominent chrome grille with U-shaped piano black inserts on the upper area. This particular design element manages to add some premium-ness and toughness to the Vitara Brezza’s face. The lower bumper area houses a large air dam, blacked out housing for the circular fog lamps, and independent indicators above the fogs. The overall front fascia of the Vitara Brezza looks smart and very SUV-like.
Moving to the side, the fact that it is essentially a sub 4-metre car becomes apparent. Though Maruti designers a commendable job in keeping the profile proportionate, the silhouette of the Vitara Brezza clearly reveals that the car has been designed while keeping the 4-metre length limit in mind. However, thanks to the squared wheel arches, the higher ground clearance and the significant use of black plastic cladding, the Vitara Brezza manages to pull of the SUV look and doesn’t appear to be a raised hatchback. Some interesting styling elements here include a blacked out area on the C-pillar which lends a floating roof effect to the car, while the gunmetal finish five twin-spoke 16-inch alloys too look nice.
At the rear, the Vitara Brezza adorns a neutral looking profile. There aren’t many design elements stuffed into the car’s derriere, and thus the rear end looks basic, yet tastefully finished. We believe that a tailgate mounted spare-wheel, similar to what is seen on the Ford EcoSport, would have surely enhanced the Vitara Brezza’s appeals and SUV-ish character.
Maruti Vitara Brezza ZDi – Interior design and fit & finish
The Maruti Vitara Brezza is a tall car, especially in comparison to regular hatchbacks and sedans, thanks to the higher ground clearance of 198 mm. However, getting into the Vitara Brezza isn’t hard. You don’t need to climb into the car, and can simply walk into the Vitara Brezza’s cabin. This has been made possible by placing the seats at an apt height, which helps in enhancing the ease of ingress and egress.
The Vitara Brezza gets an all black cabin layout, with piano black accents thrown around for added detailing. The overall design isn’t something that will excite you, but won’t be an eyesore either. As a result, Maruti has managed to give the interiors of the Vitara Brezza a safe layout on the inside as well, similar to what it has done with the exteriors.
The overall cabin layout is extremely user-friendly and ergonomic. All buttons and controls have been laid out exactly where they should be. Every vital control is within reach of the driver. The center console is flat, which allows the passenger to easily fiddle with the AC controls and infotainment system, without the need to bend over from his/her seat. If you have ever been inside a Maruti car, you will easily find all controls within 5 minutes.
The quality of materials used can be termed as satisfactory, at best. The quality of plastics used isn’t something to talk home about. However, it isn’t as bad either. If you are comfortable with the quality of materials used in the Swift and Dzire, you will find the Vitara Brezza to be a notch higher in this department. However, the plastic quality on the Ford EcoSport is surely a bit better than that of the Vitara Brezza. Fit and finish are satisfactory too, and there aren’t any panel gaps around the dashboard.
The three spoke steering wheel is similar to what is seen with the Ciaz. There are a total of 13 buttons integrated into the steering wheel, which can be used to access the instrument cluster’s MID screen, infotainment system and telephonic functions. However, there are just too many buttons on the wheel and thus it can get a bit flimsy, especially for people with larger palms.
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The instrument cluster gets a twin pod layout with an MID screen in the middle. The tachometer and speedometer pods get mood lighting, i.e., the driver can choose from 5 colour options that will illuminate the rings of the analogue dials. These instrument cluster colour options include white, red, yellow, orange and blue. Meanwhile, the MID screen in the centre shows data like fuel level, engine temperature, digital odometer, time, outside temperature, average and instantaneous fuel economy, 2 trip meters and distance to empty. There is also a gear indicator read out that shows up and down arrows, indicating the driver than an upshift/downshift.
There is ample space for both – occupants and luggage. All doors get bottle holders and map pockets, while there are ample cubby holes around the centre console area as well. The front and rear seats offer adequate support and have been aptly padded. However, the front seats are slightly on the narrow side, which might be an issue for heavily built occupants. Additionally, there is no leather seat option on any variant of the Vitara Brezza, while it is offered with the Ford EcoSport.
Maruti Vitara Brezza ZDi Engine, ride and handling
The Vitara Brezza is currently being offered with only a diesel engine option, though a petrol variant is expected to be in the pipeline. The diesel engine is the tried and tested 1.3-litre, four-cylinder plant that comes mated to a variable geometry turbocharger. This Fiat-sourced engine develops 90 PS @ 4,000 rpm and 200 Nm of torque @ 1,750 rpm. These power output figures are similar to what is seen on the Maruti Ciaz and the Ertiga. Meanwhile, Transmission duties are handled by a 5-speed manual gearbox.
In essence, the Maruti Vitara Brezza feels a lot like the Ertiga while driving around on cities or highways. Thanks to the similar powertrain and tuning, both these Maruti UVs share a lot of their dynamic characteristics. As a result, it will be easy for customers who have bought their first UV to get acquainted with the feel of a larger vehicle.
Tap on engine start/stop button and it becomes clearly apparent that the Vitara Brezza has a diesel engine under its hood. The refinement levels aren’t anything to preach or praise and there are a few vibrations that can be felt on the pedals, gearbox and steering wheel. However, Maruti has used adequate damping to minimise the same and the noise, vibrations, and harshness will only be noticeable if you to pay a heed to them. Drive along listening to some love volume music, and the Vitara Brezza will surely not disappoint you in the NVH department.
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Let’s now talk about the power on offer. The 1.3-litre unit is the smallest diesel engine available in the compact SUV market. However, under the Vitara Brezza, it doesn’t really feel underpowered or sluggish. The SUV pulls off the line easily at around 1,800 rpm, though you will soon need to shift to the second gear if you want to continue with the acceleration. The overall acceleration across different gear ratios is fairly linear and isn’t something that would excite you. However, it does the job done fairly easily. Highway travelling is no sweat either, thanks to the longer higher gears that allow you to take advantage of the power over a large rev-band, without the need to upshift.
However, in city to city traffic, the 1.3-litre engine suffers slightly as you need to downshift as soon as the revs drop below 1,800 to 2,000 rpm. The mid-range is the Vitara Brezza’s strength and thus you will be comfortable while attacking empty roads, something that unfortunately now is a rare sight.
Maruti claims an ARAI mileage rating of 24.3 km/l for the Vitara Brezza. However, in our mixed driving, we achieved a figure of around 17 km/l. This is fairly good as we were pinning the throttle on full load and with the AC on 80% of the times. As a result, the Maruti Vitara Brezza will surely keep fuel economy loving customers happy!
So what do we think about the Vitara Brezza? Here’s a snippet of our road test review:
Maruti Vitara Brezza ZDi Review Verdict
The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza is a fairly laid out package. It thus has a wide target audience. It is the best compact SUV in India for anyone who is willing to keep the car for over 5 years, is interested in the resale value and looks at a car as a tool.
However, if you are someone who loves to push the car to the limits, are an automotive enthusiast, or can’t live with slightly low-grad plastic quality, we would advice to check out the Ford EcoSport.
The biggest grouse with the Vitara Brezza is its limited set of engine options. In a market that is rapidly shifting towards petrol engines and automatic transmissions, Maruti should have introduced these two powertrain options with the Vitara Brezza by now. From what we hear, the same are in the pipeline and will indeed be launched in the near future.