The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza might be the company’s first such product in the sub-4 metre compact SUV space, but from the looks of it, their understanding of small cars shines through as this is a product that not just delivers but delights! Brezza incidentally means a ‘breeze’ in Italian and to put it simply, it is also the perfect way to describe this compact soft roader.
Incidentally, the Vitara Brezza was conceived, designed and developed in India under the leadership of C.V Raman – Executive Director of Engineering and R&D, Maruti Suzuki India Limited. While chatting with him at the sidelines of the Brezza launch earlier this month, Raman revealed that his team embarked on this journey almost four years ago and the brief from Suzuki Motors, Japan was to create a contender in the sub four metre compact SUV space. He was given a lot of freedom; however he was also challenged with the fact that he had to ensure that costs are kept to a minimum. C V Raman and his team toiled over the possibilities and the first thing that they settled on was the fact that they would go with the platform of the current Grand Vitara rather than any of the existing platforms already available in India. The Vitara platform came with its inherent rigidity and was after all designed for use in an SUV, so it made sense to start with that and work the new car up from there. Obviously, the first thing that C V Raman’s team had to do was cut the platform down to size in order to conform to the sub-four metre length that the Vitara was eventually going to be. The tedious journey of putting together a brand new product also involved going through MSIL’s vast parts bin to use existing bits in order to keep overall costs down as well. The journey involved numerous hurdles and a lot of ingenuity; however the end result has already borne fruit. Testament to the fact is that the Vitara Brezza garnered over 5600 bookings in the first 48 hours of its official launch and the numbers have obviously surged past that figure by now. As far as creating a first impression is concerned, the Brezza has managed to score big on that front as well.
No doubt, the Vitara Brezza has a very distinct SUV theme going for it. The balanced proportions and a high ground clearance make the Brezza look sporty and rugged. More design details include its upright hood, square wheel arches, high shoulder lines and a chiselled front end and those neat narrow headlights with bullhorn shaped LEDs. The two-tone paint job further adds to its appeal and as stated earlier, the entire visual package gets a big thumbs up. There is really no arguing the fact that the Brezza is quite a head turner and that is what has caught the fancy of many a customer which in turn is translating to big numbers already.
The interiors of the Brezza are on point with what we have come to expect from Maruti. While MSIL has undoubtedly dipped into their vast parts bin and the number of shared components is noticeable, what really stands out is how everything has come together in a neat premium package. The dash has a simple uncluttered layout with the infotainment system taking centre stage and there is a host of storage spaces in the cabin to allow you to put away your knick-knacks. The Vitara Brezza has been equipped with neat flat folding rear seats allow for loads of luggage space should you need it. As far as the equipment list on board is concerned, the Brezza gets a host of features including climate control, a multi-functional steering wheel, a 2-DIN music system with Bluetooth connectivity and Apple CarPlay.
The Maruti Vitara Brezza has been launched with only a single diesel engine option that is the 1.3-litre DDiS unit which incidentally also does duty in the Ertiga, Ciaz and the lower variant of the S-Cross. The diesel engine produces 90PS and 200Nm of torque at 1750 rpm and is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The highlight however has to be on how efficient this little unit is. The Vitara Brezza claims an ARAI certified efficiency of 24.3 kilometres to the litre, which on paper makes it India’s most fuel efficient sub four-metre SUV.
A day’s drive in the Brezza proved to be further revelation to the fact that MSIL has indeed done their homework well. The 1.3 litre DDiS unit is a refined mill and power is delivered in a seamless manner. Don’t expect the Brezza to be lightning quick, which it isn’t, however what it does right is keep you going at a very comfortable pace. It’s responsive, silent and MSIL has done a great job with the curbing the NVH as well. The gearshift is nice and slick and is a little reminiscent of the Swift. Ride quality is also above par and I didn’t receive any complaints from my colleagues who were seated on the back row either! The R&D team has done their job in setting up the Brezza to handle just right as well, which also stands as a testament to the company’s R&D and engineering prowess.
While it does fall under the SUV tag, the Brezza is essentially a soft roader at best. With power going to the front wheels, it wouldn’t be wise to venture too far off the tarmac with this car (however I secretly hope that MSIL plans a crazy DDiS320 version with 4×4). You can enjoy a dirt path thanks to the 198mm of ground clearance available, and that might be all you really require from a car such as this. It does deal with the bumps and undulations with ease though, and while the suspension soaks up most of the bumps, the large 16 inch wheels do play their part too. Essentially, the Brezza is destined to be in its true element on tarmac. It is a city car that offers you the pomp and show of an SUV, yet keeps things in a neat compact package.
Overall, the Vitara Brezza stands as testament to what Maruti Suzuki is capable of delivering. Capitalizing on their strength of having delivered the best small cars in the business, the company has embarked on a new journey with the Brezza. For MSIL it is also a matter of pride that they have developed and delivered a global product – a true win for ‘Make in India’. As a product, the Vitara Brezza ticks all the right boxes and it has kicked off a turf war in the sub-four metre compact SUV segment, which till date has been the territory of the Ford EcoSport. The Brezza was launched at a price that undercut the EcoSport substantially thus drawing first blood. Ford incidentally struck back with a massive price reduction on the EcoSport to take on the Brezza. There is a war brewing and to know more about that story, you can read our take on the scenario right here (read: The Art of War).
Photography Credit: Anmol Singh