Story & photos by Randy S. Peregrino
IT may have been almost two years since Suzuki Philippines brought in the Ciaz, but its design and features are still very much on a par, if not leading, even against the latest releases in its class.
Even if the automotive segment in the country is vastly evolving, there are still a lot of reasons why the Ciaz is one of the best choices for daily urban driving. As an addition to the manufacturer’s growing line-up of compact vehicles, this sedan is packed with innovations to offer that kind of next-level driving experience.
Upon its introduction, Suzuki Philippines was confident that the Filipinos will love the Ciaz, likewise as definite that the vehicle will set a new standard for its kind. Well, it certainly did. Let alone the bigger dimensions that address most of subcompacts’ common issue—limited cabin space. Another contributing factor was the excellent move to utilize a smartphone-based infotainment system in order to cater to every smartphone-reliant consumer’s need not only to pair, but also to parallel their devices with. So finally, we got to test the top-spec Ciaz GLX 1.4 AT clad in neat Pear Snow White body shade for this month’s feature.
Exterior-wise, Suzuki’s signature aesthetics present in most of its models are very much evident. Like the sharp contours on the hood which complement the keen-looking headlights fitted with projector-type lamps. There are also delineations in the front bumper that go well with the pronounced chrome grille bearing the emblem, including the sword-shaped chins underneath. The character lines on the flanks proceed all the way to the back that link to the side overlapping large taillights. These strokes further highlight the stylish yet subtle chrome linings just above the waistline. The taillamp’s blade-like shape fits well with other edgy profiles at the backend. From the trunk door, chrome bar, and including the bumper with sharp lines underneath, as well. Supplementing the sedan’s well-defined exterior are the GLX-exclusive 16-inch multi-spoked alloy wheels wrapped in 195/55R series tires.
Inside is a new dimension of nifty, neat and remarkably roomy-for-a-subcompact interior. With soft plastic materials, the broad glossy metal finish trim stretching to the door sidings from the dashboard formed a classy border for that double-layer appearance along with the silver framed air-con vents. Somehow, the monochromatic theme, including the layout, provided a European-inspired theme. Its well-illuminated instrument cluster with information screen is perfectly visible through the steering wheel with integrated controls. Meanwhile, Suzuki, in all of its compact vehicles, has become an expert in creating that needed extra space just like what it did with the smaller Celerio. This is where the longer 2,650mm wheelbase becomes a contributing factor since leg rooms at the front and rear are absolutely more than substantial. Even so, the trunk with electromagnetic latch still offers 495 liters of total luggage capacity.
The seats, meantime, are not only leather draped, but elegantly shaped with ergonomic contours for that comfy and heavy-traffic-stress-free seating position with a superb vantage point. But perhaps one of the cabin’s notable features is the Android-based, touch-operated infotainment system exclusive to the GLX model. Aside from the usual Bluetooth, USB access and navigation system, it has wireless connectivity for the driver to access and download famous social-media apps, and every driver’s go-to-app, Waze. By the way, the fob key will never leave your pocket because locking and unlocking can be done through both buttons in the front doors. Likewise, there’s the push start/stop ignition switch.
The Ciaz’s 1.4-liter petrol engine equipped with VVT (Variable Valve Timing) may be a tick smaller than its counterpart’s motors, but it’s an absolute smooth operator. Moreover, it’s mated to a gearbox that utilizes the same technology from the Ertiga to deliver the best-in-class fuel efficiency from a four-speed automatic. True enough, the entire test-drive period going through gridlock-stricken routes, most of the time, still managed to achieve an average 11 L/km theoretical fuel consumption. In fact, the gearbox’s smooth shifting was even comparable to a CVT. But given the mill’s output, there was a need to push toward the midrange to squeeze every bit of its 120 N-m maximum torque for a quick spurt. Nevertheless, the vehicle still felt light in generating smooth acceleration toward cruising speeds from an average press on the pedal.
On the road, the ride definitely leans toward comfort. You just have to get used to the hard rebounds from certain road imperfections. Seems like the dampers are tuned more in favor of handling and control, which, on the other hand, are seeming on turns and curves. Suffice to say that the relatively wider rear tire tread also contributed to that excellent road manner. Steering was also decent and responsive. But you’ll start to feel that nice and steady stiffness as the speed goes up from the electric-powered mechanism. Apart from the patented Total Effective Control Technology (TECT) for reinforced light yet strong impact absorption system, other safety features such as dual airbags, ABS (anti-lock braking system) with EBD (electronic brake-force distribution), childproof rear door locks, side-impact beams, immobilizer and keyless entry system among others, are all standard.
Despite the TRAIN law, the top-of-the-line Ciaz GLX 1.4 AT remained at only P898,000. That should be another reason to consider this upsized subcompact sedan with extras if you’re looking for an ideal vehicle for city driving and perhaps a quick escape from the busy Metro. You’ll never hear your rear passengers complain again about legroom but instead, to just open the movie player app for them to watch.
- Well-defined exterior profiles
- Long wheelbase
- Android-based infotainment system
- Generous legroom
- Low-end torque
- No reverse camera
- Vehicle: Suzuki Ciaz 1.4 GLZ AT
- Type: Subcompact sedan
- Engine: 1.4-liter, inline four-cylinder, DOHC, 16 valves with VVT (Variable Valve Timing), petrol fed
- Maximum power: 92hp at 6,000rpm
- Maximum torque: 130 N-m at 4,000rpm
- Transmission: Four-speed Automatic
- Overall length: 4,490 mm
- Overall width: 1,730 mm
- Overall height: 1,667 mm
- Wheelbase: 2,650 mm
- Tire tread: 1,495 mm (front)/1,505 mm (rear)
- Curb weight: 1,020 -1,040 kg
- Tire size: 195/55 R16
PRICE AS TESTED