Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza: Like a breeze

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza
The word brezza in Italian means "breeze". It took a while for this breeze to blow across the Maruti Suzuki stable. But the wait has been worthwhile. After the S-Cross crossover, Maruti Suzuki has finally filled the critical space of the compact SUV with the Vitara Brezza, a vehicle heavily engineered in India.

The Brezza has been launched in the country in several variants with the price starting at Rs 6.99 lakh. I got to drive the top-end variant (but without the dual tone body colour scheme), the ZDi+, and found the vehicle adequately powered with some modern features.

The Vitara Brezza is powered by the DDiS 200 1.3 litre diesel engine, the one that also powers the S-Cross. The engine churns out around 89bhp@4,000 rpm and a peak torque of 200Nm@1,750Nm. Maruti Suzuki has used multiple technologies - intelligent battery management, gear shift indicator and low rolling-resistance tyres - which make the Vitara Brezza high on fuel efficiency. The company claims it can give you 24.3 kmpl. A petrol variant for the Vitara Brezza is expected in the future.

The vehicle definitely has a bold and masculine stance, with a lot of its styling on the sporty side. Maruti Suzuki's engineering and styling department, headed by CV Raman, has worked smartly to create a bold look for this compact SUV - the company's first.

The signature "Bull Horn" LEDs with unique turn indicators add to the smart looks. The belt and rocker lines are raised, and along with a gently sloping roofline this adds dynamism to the Brezza. On the rear, the Vitara Brezza comes with split taillights with LEDs and an embossed signature chrome bar that gives it a smart derriere.

Balanced proportions and square wheel arches with large tyres add to the appeal of the vehicle. The Vitara Brezza has a 198mm ground clearance, which I felt was a tad low for rough terrain driving. This car is not really meant for tough off-roading; it is more of an urban machine that comes packed with strong comfort features.

When it comes to the interiors, the Vitara Brezza is sophistication personified. It has a contemporary dashboard with a chic layout. The metre cluster looks good and the garnishing in the dash area is subtle and classy. It's even got an advanced infotainment system. This unique cockpit-style instrument with mood lights and SmartPlay infotainment is a first-in-class feature in the Vitara Brezza. There is also a gear shift indicator. You get a choice of five preset colours in the speedometer, which you can choose according to your mood. Though personally I did not understand the value of this mood light, I was told the young find it extremely trendy.

Other comfort features in the Vitara Brezza include rain sensing wipers, auto headlight, cruise control and an air-cooled upper box, among others.

The cabin though is not restricted to impressive styling. It scores well on the practical side too. There is a lot of usable space. The cabin is spacious and even when the front seat is pushed back completely, there is enough leg room at the rear.

Another interesting fact is that the vehicle, with a height of 1,640 mm, offers ample headroom. The boot can accommodate 328 litres in terms of volume. The space can be extended with the flip folded seats and 60:40 rear split, maximising the utility space.

While driving the vehicle on the national highway connecting Pune and Bengaluru, I was impressed by the engine's effortless surge. It touched 140 kmph effortlessly. Acceleration from the standstill position is also absolute and the power delivery, as one presses the acceleration, is linear. The engine is torque plenty with its peak being achieved at a low rpm of 1,750.

As for the ride and handling, the Brezza scores big. Despite the rather tall structure, the body roll is minimal and the handling is solid. The R16 tyres on the top end also plant the vehicle firmly the ground.

Due to the good insulation, the outside noise is filtered out from the cabin. The NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) levels have been kept low as a result of some great work on the suspension. Moreover, with the use of the pendulum engine mount system, acoustic insulation and absorption materials around the cabin and engine compartment ensure low NVH levels. The monocoque body design enhances the handling and control even at high speeds.

With the Brezza, Maruti Suzuki has not compromised on safety. Hi-tensile steel brings strength along with low body weight. While driver airbag is a standard in all variants, front passenger airbag and ABS with EBD are offered as an option from the base variant onwards.

All that remains to be seen now is whether Maruti Suzuki can capture the imagination of the Indian market with the Vitara Brezza.

MARUTI SUZUKI VITARA BREZZA

Engine: 1.3litre DDiS 200 diesel engine

Torque: 200Nm@1,750rpm

Power: 88.5bhp@4,000rpm

Fuel efficiency: 24.3 km per litre

Price: Rs 9.54 lakh (variant ZDi+) (Ex-showroom, Delhi)

P Tharyan is editor, Motown India magazine

www.motownindia.com

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