Cars - Suzuki

Road tests and reviews of the latest Suzuki models available in South Africa

2015 Suzuki Ciaz

2015 Suzuki Ciaz

By Franky Johnson

Suzuki Auto South Africa is continuing the expansion of its passenger car range with the launch of the all-new Ciaz – a streamlined, authentic four-door sedan exuding a contemporary, upmarket design language, with a spacious interior and high equipment levels to match.

The Ciaz allows Suzuki to compete in the popular compact sedan segment for the first time, and thus extending its potential reach to include customers seeking a larger sedan than the Swift DZire, while still enjoying the fuel economy, safety, quality and affordability that have become synonymous with the Suzuki brand.

The design emphasis is on a smooth, sleek shape with narrow A-pillars, an expansive windscreen, and a strong shoulder line, while the slim flanks and rounded wheel arches add further visual appeal. The result combines dynamic appeal with elegance.

The new Ciaz is generously proportioned, with an extended wheelbase and wide tracks front and rear resulting in stable road manners, refined handling, and a spacious interior with ample room for front and rear occupants. The cabin easily accommodates five adults in stylish comfort, while the boot has a massive cargo capacity of 495 litres.

Offered in a choice of two specification levels – GL and GLX – the new Ciaz is comprehensively equipped. Even the more affordable GL benefits from extensive comfort and convenience features.

These include comprehensive instrumentation, a digital multifunction trip computer, electric windows front and rear, and electrically adjustable exterior mirrors with integrated turn indicators. Also on the list are remote central locking, a multifunction steering wheel, automatic climate-control air-conditioning with rear vents, and a six-speaker audio system with CD player and integrated Bluetooth.

Powering the new Suzuki Ciaz is the latest, updated version of Suzuki’s proven K14B four-cylinder engine. Featuring 16 valves, multipoint fuel injection and variable valve timing, the 1 373 cc unit combines eager power delivery with fuel-saving efficiency.

Maximum power output is 70 kW at 6 000 r/min, coupled to a torque peak of 130 Nm at 4 000 r/min. The engine delivers its output to the front wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox, but a four-speed automatic transmission is an added cost option on the GLX model.

Combined cycle fuel consumption comes to between 5,4 and 5,5 litres/100 km, depending on model, with CO2 emissions levels of 125 and 131 g/km respectively. Those figures suggest a typical operating range of more than 700 km from the 43 litre fuel tank.

The chassis and suspension of the Ciaz have been configured for precise, confident handling and refined ride quality. The suspension layout consists of MacPherson struts with an anti-roll bar up front, and a torsion beam at the rear. Electric power steering is standard.

Safety is comprehensively addressed in both active and passive terms. ABS anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and emergency braking assistance (EBA) are standard, as are dual front airbags, inertia reel seatbelts front and rear, and integrated alarm/immobiliser and childproof rear door locks.

“The advent of the new Suzuki Ciaz represents the next step in our strategy to increase the Suzuki brand’s market share in South Africa by expanding our model offering,” says Yukio Sato, managing director of Suzuki Auto SA.

“We have already achieved record sales by adding newcomers such as the Swift 1.2, the Ertiga and the Splash to our model line-up, while the new-generation SX4 and the recently released Celerio are proof of our commitment to bringing Suzuki’s latest models to SA.”

Exterior styling: sleek and streamlined

The new Suzuki Ciaz is an authentic, generously proportioned sedan that slots in above the subcompact Swift DZire, but below the larger, D-segment Kizashi. It seeks to offer the space, comfort and convenience of a full-sized four-door saloon, while retaining a compact, agile footprint and delivering lively, efficient performance.

At 4 490 mm long and 1 730 mm wide, the new Ciaz is the longest and widest in its category, while the 2 650 mm wheelbase is also best in class. Generous front and rear tracks of 1 495 mm and 1 505 mm also benefit interior packaging, while contributing to the car’s poised, confident stance. Ground clearance is a useful 160 mm.

Unmistakably Suzuki, the Ciaz has a smooth, streamlined shape that expresses the new sedan’s wind-cheating aerodynamics. A steeply raked windscreen links the smooth contours of the bonnet on the one side to the curved arc of the roofline on the other.

The prominent grille, with its thin, horizontal bars, is framed by the large, tapered headlight clusters, which incorporate both the projector-type halogen headlight units and the turn indicators. An integrated bumper with lower air intakes adds a sporty touch.

In profile, the pronounced shoulder line emphasises the car’s subtly wedged silhouette, while the narrow A-pillars, sculpted flanks, short rear deck and comprehensive colour coding create a cohesive, athletic impression.

The rear view is dominated by the large tail light clusters, while the sweep of the rear bumper frames the wide-opening bootlid, revealing a large loading aperture and a cavernous, 495-litre luggage compartment. The integrated, colour-coded bumper adds further visual muscle to the Ciaz’s appearance.

While both the GL and GLX offer comprehensive colour coding, the GLX gets chromed door handles, chrome trim to emphasise the side glass aperture, and chrome detailing on the bootlid. The wheels are 15-inch steel rims with full wheel covers for the GL version, and 16-inch alloys for the GLX models.

The new Ciaz is offered in a choice of eight different paint colours: Snow White Pearl, Dignity Brown Metallic, Sangria Red Pearl, Silky Silver Metallic, Glistening Grey Metallic, Midnight Black Pearl, Clear Beige Metallic and Torque Blue Pearl Metallic.

The interior: comfort is king

As an authentic sedan, the Ciaz offers wide-opening doors front and rear, ensuring easy and convenient access to the well-appointed cabin. The interior looks and feels much more roomy than the car’s compact exterior dimensions suggest.

Efficient packaging makes the most of the space on offer, with ample head, leg and shoulder room both front and rear, while top-notch materials, upmarket finishes and an extensive array of standard features all conspire to offer a cabin that’s a cut above.

The predominant interior colours are black and dark grey, with the upper section of the dashboard finished in black while the lower section features a dark grey, with silver accents. Smart cloth upholstery is standard on the GL, while the GLX gets genuine leather for an even more luxurious look and feel.

The ergonomics of the dashboard favour the driver, with the instrument binnacle directly ahead of the driving position. It contains deep-set analogue dials for speed and rev count, smaller indicators for fuel tank level and engine temperature and a digital trip computer.

The latter includes a digital clock, trip meter, odometer and ambient temperature gauge, and also shows information on instant and average fuel consumption, and remaining driving range. Warning lights for low fuel, door ajar and seatbelt use are included, too.

The instrument binnacle is neatly framed by the multifunction steering wheel, which is equipped with controls for the audio system, and Bluetooth-based hands-free telephony.

The cabin makes ample provision for cup holders and storage binnacles: two cup holders are provided in the centre console between the front seats, while a fold-down armrest at the rear offers a further two cup holders.

Each front and rear door features a bottle holder, integrated into the door storage pocket, while an overhead console is home to a convenient sunglasses holder on GLX models. The seat backs of the front seats feature useful pockets, while a glove compartment is located in the dashboard ahead of the front passenger.

Additional binnacles 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.

Talking of storage, the Ciaz has one of the biggest boots in its class, offering 495 litres of luggage space. The boot is accessed via large bootlid that opens down to bumper level for easy access. A full-size spare wheel is standard.

Equipment levels are generous, even on the GL specification: 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, are standard across all models.

The same goes for safety: the Ciaz is equipped with a front disc/rear drum ABS anti-lock braking system, featuring emergency brake force distribution (EBD) and emergency braking assistance (EBA).

The passive safety equipment array includes dual front airbags, inertia reel seat belts with pre-tensioners and load limiters in front, side impact protection beams in the doors, and child proof child locks for the rear doors. An alarm/immobiliser is another standard feature.

The drivetrain: lively and efficient

All three members of the new Suzuki Ciaz range offered locally are powered by the same engine: a 1,4-litre four-cylinder unit equipped with multipoint fuel injection, four valves per cylinder, and variable valve timing.

The K14B unit has been optimised for fuel efficiency and improved low-down torque, and is combined with a five-speed manual gearbox, although a four-speed automatic transmission is an added-cost option on the GLX derivative.

Maximum power output is 70 kW at 6 000 r/min, with an accompanying torque peak of 130 Nm at 4 000 r/min, with a high percentage of torque already on song much lower down the rev range. Drive is to the front wheels.

With a kerb mass of between 1 020 kg and 1 040 kg, depending on specific model, the power-to-weight ratio is a useful 68 kW/ton, ensuring brisk performance and lively responses. However, enhanced efficiency also benefits fuel consumption.

The manual gearbox-equipped versions of the new Ciaz achieve a combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 5,4 litres/100 km, with an associated CO2 emissions rating of just 125 g/km. The automatic transmission-version is almost as frugal, posting a combined consumption figure of 5,5 litres/100 km, and a CO2 emissions figure of 132 g/km.

Chassis and suspension: light, strong and agile

The comparatively low kerb mass of the new Suzuki Ciaz can be traced back to the sedan’s monocoque chassis, which makes comprehensive use of high-strength, high-tensile steel to reduce weight and while improving stiffness and benefiting lower levels of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).

In addition, the comparatively long wheelbase, and the wide front and rear tracks, benefit the new car’s inherent stability, while the lower roofline means the centre of gravity is also lower, which aids handling and steering response.

The more rigid, stiffer chassis also provides a more efficient platform for the Ciaz’s suspension, ensuring improved damping for added refinement. The new sedan relies on an independent, MacPherson strut-based front set-up, combined with a compact torsion beam at the rear.

The steering is a rack-and-pinion design, and is electrically assisted in the interests of efficiency. A turning circle of 10,8 metres is proof of the Suzuki sedan’s manoeuvrability.

Depending on model, the Ciaz is fitted with 15-inch steel or 16-inch alloy wheels. The GL version’s 15-inch rims are shod with 185/65 R15 tyres, while the alloys on the GLX are wrapped with 195/55 R16 rubber.

Range and specification: A compelling trio

The new Suzuki Ciaz range consists of three models, representing a choice of two specification levels, and two transmissions. However, all three models employ the same 1,4-litre K14B engine.

The most affordable member of the line-up is the Suzuki Ciaz 1.4 GL Manual – but there is nothing entry-level about this model, thanks to a comprehensive array of standard features.

Exterior traits include a chrome-finished grille, colour-coded door handles and exterior mirrors, front and rear mud flaps, and green-tinted windows. As already mentioned, the GL gets 15-inch steel wheels with full wheel covers.

The extensive list of standard comfort and convenience features starts off with electric windows and exterior mirrors, as well as remote central locking, and climate control air-conditioning.

Also on that list is a six-speaker audio system with FM/AM tuner, CD player, and Bluetooth streaming, as well a USB socket, an analogue auxiliary input, and a 12V accessory socket. Bluetooth also allows the pairing of a compatible mobile phone, and Bluetooth-based telephony.

The tilt-adjustable multifunction steering wheel offers integrated switchgear for the audio system and hands-free telephony. The steering wheel neatly frames the instrument binnacle with its twin dials for speed and rev count, as well as the digital display for the trip computer.

Interior lighting includes front and centre courtesy lights, as well as illumination for the storage binnacle at the base of the centre stack, and the boot. Remote releases for both the fuel filler flap and the boot are standard.

Safety and security features include dual front airbags, inertial 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. However, these are augmented with some additional traits and features.

Externally, the most obvious difference is the fitment of 16-inch alloy wheels instead of the 15-inch steel rims, while fog lamps are located in the front bumper’s low-mounted apertures.

Additional chrome finishes are applied to the bottom edge of the side windows, and the boot lid, while the door handles also boast a chrome finish. The exterior mirrors remain electrically adjustable, but gain a folding function.

Inside, the GL’s cloth upholstery is replaced with genuine leather. The multifunction steering wheel also gains leather trim, while the black accents around the shift lever gate, the instrument panel, the air vents and the door panels are replaced with satin-look finishes.

The GLX also gets a chrome gear shift knob, while additional illumination includes rear reading lights and front footwell lighting. A rear sunshade is included.

Unique to the GLX is an overhead console with a sunglasses holder. The driver’s seat gains height adjustment, while keyless entry is augmented by a start button, instead of a key-operated ignition switch.

Finally, the Suzuki Ciaz GLX Automatic is identical to its manual stablemate in every respect, with the only difference the use of a four-speed automatic transmission instead of a manual gearbox.

Join us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Keep up with us on Pinterest Join our Google Plus circle Join us on Tumblr