Brezza to redefine the image of Maruti

Brezza is an immediate eye catcher with its dual tone colours

Though Maruti dominates the car market, they have made a strenuous effort to break out of the image of only making practical but boring cars. Their recent models like the Baleno and S-Cross have been intended to project the idea that Maruti can also make sleek and very desirable cars. Now they have added the Brezza that is a sporty looking compact SUV to compete in this rapidly growing market segment.

I had the opportunity to test drive the new Brezza on the excellent curvy mountainous road south of Pune. I have to confess that I was impressed. The Brezza is an immediate eye catcher with its dual tone colours, a chrome rich aggressive looking grille, LED projector lamps and black roof pillars that give the impression of a floating roof. The five-seater vehicle is just short of 4 metres in length but is very spacious inside with a high roof to give it an even greater feeling of space. The big 16-inch wheels with 198 mm ground clearance can easily handle bad roads without feeling unstable at high speeds or on severe cornering.

On the road I first found the sound insulation that Maruti is now offering on their new cars to be exceptional as was as the torque delivered by the rather small 1248 cc DDiS 200 diesel engine. Though this is essentially the same engine fitted in the Maruti Swift, it has been tweaked to generate 88.5 hp and a huge torque of 200 Nm that easily propels the 1170 Kg vehicle up steep slopes. In normal driving it is smooth and very fuel efficient and claims to give 24.3 kmpl that is the highest in its category. A petrol engine option has also been promised for the future.

The Brezza has been built on a completely new platform using high tensile steel making it rigid but exceptionally light. The suspension and steering systems are fairly conventional but well-tuned for good- handling on curves with exceptional stability at high speeds. The five-speed gearbox is easy to handle when fast gear changes are needed.

The interiors are also outstanding for a car in this price range and it sports a very futuristic dashboard and slightly eccentric dashboard in which you change to backlight mood colors at will. A large centre screen can show you what the rear view camera can spot as well as provide a rich assortment of infotainment options. The flexi seating allows the rear seats to tumble forward to provide huge baggage space. It also offers keyless entry, push button start/stop, hands free infotainment control, rain sensing wipers and auto headlights.

The Brezza not only comes in 9 attractive colours but with different roof colours to effectively allow you a huge range of styling choices. The headlight design in rather toothy chrome garnished front grille above a huge honeycomb air dam make it distinctive while the large squarish wheel arches over the big wheels give it an aggressive `macho’ look. Needless to say it is offered with all the required safety gizmos of airbags, and anti-lock ABS braking systems.

The Brezza was a good car to drive not only for its acceleration, speed and road manners but also because it drew admiring looks wherever it went. The car has been a hit in India and it will succeed in its design mission of filling an empty space in the compact SUV segment and will also help make Maruti’s overall image more upmarket.

The author is the region’s most celebrated automobile columnist.