Poised to take on the big hitters in the B-segment like the best-selling Toyota Vios, the Hyundai Accent, the Honda City, the Nissan Almera and the Ford Fiesta, the company said the Ciaz – which stands for “City from A to Z” – combines a roomy, comfortable cabin with great driving performance and excellent fuel economy. “We are certain that it will set a new standard in its class,” said Suzuki Philippines managing director Norminio Mojica in a speech.
Much like its 7-seater sibling, the Ertiga multi-purpose vehicle, the Ciaz was developed by Suzuki’s Indian partner Maruti based on the Swift hatchback. At 4,490 mm long, 1,730 mm wide and featuring a 2,650 mm wheelbase, the Ciaz is the longest and widest car in its class and has the longest wheelbase as well. In fact, some of its dimensions are closer to C-segment models like the Toyota Altis and the Honda Civic.
The Ciaz also inherits the Ertiga’s 1.4-liter, twin-cam, 16-valve inline-4 engine producing 92 horsepower and 130 Nm of torque. This is mated to either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic gearbox.
Android infotainment system
The company said the Ciaz comes in three variants: the base GL manual, the GL automatic and the top-specification GLX automatic. Externally, all variants comes standard with fog lights and alloy wheels, although the GLX gets 16-inch wheels while the GL gets 15-inch units. In addition, GLX models can be distinguished by the chrome door handles, power-folding side mirrors with built-in turn signals and an electronic trunk release.
Inside is where the variants differ noticeably. Although all come with a touchscreen infotainment system with GPS navigation, only the GLX gets an Android-based system with mirror link capability, which allows the Ciaz’s occupants to control their cellphones and tablets with the car. The company also said the GLX’s system comes with wireless connectivity and has preloaded applications like YouTube, Gmail, Facebook and Waze.
In addition, the GLX gets a leather interior, a push-start button, a 6-speaker sound system (versus the GL’s 4-speaker system) and steering-wheel controls for the infotainment system.
In terms of safety equipment, all variants come standard with Suzuki’s patented Total Effective Control Technology Technology, which the company said boosts driver and passenger protection through a light yet incredibly strong impact-absorption system. All variants also come with driver and passenger airbags, 3-point seatbelts for the front and outer-rear occupants (with the middle-rear occupant getting a rather outdated lapbelt), anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and side-impact beams.
Fast Times was among those who joined the Ciaz’s pre-launch media drive to Anilao, Batangas in March, where we praised the car’s superb chassis, suspension and steering that allowed it be both stable and comfortable on the highway while being fantastic to drive along Batangas’s mountain roads. We also liked the car’s roomy interior and nicely shaped 493-liter trunk.
However, we noted the car’s poor brake-pedal feel, the difficult-to-use clutch pedal in the GL manual, the lack of low-end torque from the 1.4-liter engine and the unoriginal styling. An upcoming long-term test drive should see if these issues have been rectified.
The Ciaz starts at P738,000 for the GL manual, moving up to P773,000 for the GL automatic and finally topping off at P888,000 for the GLX automatic. Suzuki Philippines general manager for automobile Shuzo Hoshikura said the event also marks the official start of Ciaz sales nationwide. Speaking to Fast Times, he said he expects the Ciaz to initially sell 2,000 units annually.