Port Elizabeth - In continuation of Suzuki’s rapid expansion in model range in recent times, the manufacturer launched the Ciaz in 2015 – a compact four-door sedan with a classy look, lots of room and features and affordability to boot, with models ranging between R193 900 and R230 900.
In a nutshell, an affordable, good-looking family car, offering a lot of space and high- spec comfort features, a good ride and fuel economy giving potential customers another option in the sedan market to put to the test.
With its Ciaz, Suzuki offers a competitor in the compact sedan market segment against cars such as the VW Polo sedan (retailing between R196 800 and R257 100) and the Toyota Corolla Quest (retailing from R190 700).
The new Suzuki Ciaz range consists of three models, representing a choice of two specification levels (GL and GLX), and two transmissions. All three models are powered by the same 1.4-litre K14B engine.
The Suzuki Ciaz GLX - the higher-spec version of the two manual transmission models - was test-driven. A GLX with auto transmission is also available in the range.
It's sleek, elegant design impressed me immediately at first glance. Its upmarket, elegant look attracted many admiring glances and questions about this sedan with the S emblem on the dominating front grille.
The extended wheelbase and wide stance in the front and back not only create the impressive roomy interior but also contribute to a stable ride.
Despite its being described as a compact sedan there is nothing compact about the space it offers on the inside. It has more than enough room to seat five adults in comfort, as well as a more than adequate boot with a capacity of 495 litres.
I found the interior to be a little less impressive - as far as looks go - than the outside, but this is to be expected as it is, despite its leather seats (in the GLX models), not competing in the premium car market.
There are cup and bottle holders as well as storage compartments aplenty. A fold-down armrest offers two cup holders for rear seat passengers.
Additional stowage spaces include a lidded compartment at the bottom of the centre stack that is also home to a 12V power socket, and both the USB and the analogue auxiliary inputs. A storage box is located under the front centre armrest.
Equipment levels are where the Ciaz stands out among its competitors. Even on the base GL specification one finds luxury features such as electric windows and exterior mirrors, remote central locking, automatic climate-control air-conditioning with front and rear vents, and a six-speaker sound system with FM/AM tuner, CD player, Bluetooth connectivity and both USB and stereo analogue jacks.
The tilt-adjustable multi-function steering wheel offers integrated switchgear for the audio system and hands-free telephony.
Safety and security features include dual front airbags, inertia reel seatbelts with pre-tensioners and load limiters, side-impact door beams, ABS brakes with EBD and EBA, an alarm/immobiliser, and child-proof locks.
The Suzuki Ciaz 1.4 GLX Manual is mechanically identical to the GL versions, and also offers all the standard features outlined above. Extra features include, among others, genuine leather upholstery and 16" alloy wheels.
The GLX also has keyless entry with a start button.
The automatic (four-speed) version of the Suzuki Ciaz GLX is identical to the manual.
All the models are powered by a 1.4 litre engine that is much more powerful than one would expect.
Getting used to where the clutch takes and concentrating on that for a smooth ride, took some effort initially, but you soon alter your driving style to accommodate this.
Out on the open road the engine really comes into its own and it’s difficult to believe it is not powered by a turbo or 1.6 or bigger engine. Overtaking can be done with confidence and peace of mind.
The steering and suspension are good, offering a pleasant ride during which uneven roads are handled with composure.
The combined cycle fuel consumption is given as between 5.4 and 5.5 litres/100km, depending on model.
1.4 GL – R193 900
1.4 GLX – R214 900
1.4 GLX automatic – R230 900
Prices include a three-year/100 000 km warranty, and a three-year/60 000 km service plan. Services are at 15 000km intervals.