Reviewed: The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza

There was a time when the term ‘SUV’ meant a hardy, no-nonsense vehicle that took no bullshit, looked the business and had 4-wheel drive. You only have to look back to Maruti’s own Grand Vitara – especially the bonkers, V6-engined first version – and the venerable Gypsy to understand what I’m talking about. Today, pretty much anything that is taller than a hatchback is touted as an SUV, like the new Vitara Brezza – it’s front wheel-driven and doesn’t have a 4×4 system, but for all intents and purposes, it’s the ‘compact SUV’ that Maruti Suzuki has thus far lacked in its portfolio. Without getting into the merits of its classification, I’ll deal with it on its own merits.


Firstly, what the hell is it?


The Vitara Brezza is a hatchback-on-stilts-nee compact SUV that is based on Suzuki’s global C platform. It’s also the first Maruti that’s been developed and designed entirely in India, for the world, and I can tell you that the team here has done a fantastic job on it. It goes up against various cars – the Ford Ecosport, the Hyundai Creta and i20 Active, for example – and I suspect it will attract a lot of potential hatchback buyers as well.


What does it look like?


Take a look at the pictures, why don’t you? Personally, I think it’s a very good looking, cohesively-designed car. It comes across as fresh, funky and almost playful, but it also has some ‘serious’ SUV touches – a tall stance, scuff plates, blacked out fog lamp casings, short overhangs, a chunky chrome grille et al. Importantly, even though it’s less than 4 meters long, it looks bigger than that. The rear is a bit bland, but the profile makes up for this with the ‘floating’ roof, painted in either black or white. Plenty of heads turned as I drove the car in and around Pune, so I think people have taken a shine to it already.



Is the cabin just as attractive?


Not quite as much, largely. Maruti has played it safe and filled the interior with bits from its parts bin, but this doesn’t mean that it’s dead boring, either. There’s an enormous amount of black and grey in here, with a few silver touches to offset it, and I found it a little overwhelming after a bit. The good parts are the dials, which can be lit in a variety of colours (gimmicky but cool), and the touchscreen infotainment system, which is easy to operate. It absolutely loves you if you have an iPhone, since it has Apple CarPlay; Android users have to jump through a few more hoops, but compatibility is being worked on. The front seats were a bit too stiff for my liking, and the steering wheel could have been of a more racy design, but in terms of space, there’s plenty of it, front and rear; the Brezza easily passes the ‘turban test’, too. Overall fit and finish are par for the course for this price point, although some of the plastics could have been better. All in, this is a solidly built but unspectacular cabin.


What about safety, then?


I’m glad to report that every model in the Brezza lineup comes with a driver airbag as standard, with twin airbags and ABS available as options in the lower spec cars; they’re standard fitment on the higher spec models. The car’s also been offset and side impact crash-tested. That said, it feels a little on the light side, with doors lacking some heft. Nothing that I would worry about, however.


>  Can I stuff it with, well, stuff?


Yup. The boot is a fairly generous 328 litres, and you can fold the 60:40 split rear seats all the way down, when the doggies need to be taken on holiday.


Is it fun to drive?


Depends on what your definition of ‘fun’ is. This is no pocket rocket, let me make clear – the trusty 1.3-litre DDIS engine makes 89 bhp and 20.4 kgm of torque, so perish the thought of shattering lap records. If you like petrol engines, additionally, you can take a temporary running jump, because the diesel is the only unit available in the Brezza (for now – a petrol option will come). That said, the powerplant does what it’s famous for, which is to provide a meaty mid-range and top end whack, with some turbo lag below 2000 rpm. Highway cruising is easy, and overtaking is not something that has to be planned months in advance; a 0-100 kph dash came up in a seat-of-the-pants 13.4 seconds, which is very respectable. The gearbox is slick and easy to operate, with no mis-shifts experienced, and the clutch is relatively light, so stop-start traffic won’t make you scream in agony (actually, it will, but that’s because stop-start traffic is a horrible experience in general, no matter what car you’re in). Takeaway? The Brezza’s a solid all-rounder of a car and should keep you happy.


Can I throw it around bends?


Yes, but don’t be an idiot, please. The Brezza is well-planted, especially in ZDI+ form, with its 215/60 R16 Apollo tyres and 16-inch wheels. It’s very stable both in a straight line and in corners, with little body roll; the slightly stiff suspension helps in this regard. Ride quality doesn’t suffer, though – bumps are soaked up well. The steering wheel doesn’t offer rich feedback, but it’s accurate enough and quite light.


Should I put my hard-earned down on it?


I see no reason to answer in the negative. At a starting price of Rs. 7.35 lakh (ex-Mumbai), the Vitara Brezza is a much more fun offering than a hatchback – even Maruti’s own Baleno. Yes, it’s more expensive than a hatchback, but it won’t make that much of a dent in the EMI payments either. This isn’t a pathbreaking car, by any means, but it’s cheerful, entertaining enough and is entirely homegrown, which are all plus points in my book. I’d say Maruti Suzuki has done a commendable job with it, and I’m pretty sure it’ll sell very well.

contact us :
Follow US :
©2024 Creativeland Publishing Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved