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Maruti Ciaz- Manual vs automatic

Motor Trend India logo Motor Trend India 24-08-2018 Motor Trend Staff
MG 4612 © Motor Trend Staff MG 4612

Maruti has been steadily selling the Ciaz in its automatic avatar for some time and clearly there is an upswing in the demand for automatics cars which is no surprise. Thus we just drove the new Ciaz in its petrol automatic avatar or to be more precise, with its new 1.5l petrol engine to decide if its worth spending more over the manual version. First things first, you cannot have a diesel automatic so the petrol it is.This is the new petrol engine with 1.5l and is clearly much bigger and much more suited to an above 4m sedan. I cannot stress on how much better it is over the earlier petrol engine. With 104 bhp and 138Nm, it feels much more smoother and runs strongly. It does not run out of breath so quickly or feels lethargic at low speeds like the earlier 1.4l.

a chair sitting in front of a car: MG 4932 © Motor Trend Staff MG 4932

The added power makes its presence felt immediately. In the manual version with its snappy 5-speed, it is more so. At low speeds you require less gearshifts as compared to the earlier and response at low revs is better which is crucial in bumper to bumper traffic and also crawling in third gear. The manual gearbox and the clutch itself is quite light. The automatic gearbox though is carried forward albeit with a few feature upgrades. The gearbox in question is a 4-speed torque converter and compared to the earlier Ciaz, it feels much more in sync with the new 1.5l engine. At low speeds it is incredibly smooth and responds with the slightest of throttle inputs- meaning that crawling in slow traffic is a piece of cake.

a close up of a car: MG 4944 © Motor Trend Staff MG 4944

With this new 1.5l engine the mid-range and flat-out performance is improved too. The automatic gearbox does not come with an outright manual mode or paddle shifts but has a '2' and 'L' button on the gear-lever. Basically it is used to lock it at lower gears for max thrust plus there is a button to lock it at a higher gear too. I did not have much use as 'D' mode was satisfactory. When I put my foot down, the gearbox takes a bit time and it gets a bit strained when really pushed but it is a superb cruiser overall and actually sits well at high speeds- if the annoying speed warning beeps do not drive you mad that is. The added cruise control feature helps too in this regard and the new Ciaz automatic is a really nice cruiser. Refinement is much better too! Maruti has also added hill hold function which is extremely useful. The manual is more fun and responds more eagerly of course but the automatic I found was better suited to this car.

a close up of a clock: MG 4971 © Motor Trend Staff MG 4971

Of course fuel efficiency is an integral part of the appeal of any Maruti and here too both the Ciaz automatic and manual do not disappoint. The new petrol engine has Smart Hybrid tech standard with a dual battery system with start/stop function, brake regeneration and torque assist function. That results in much better fuel efficiency plus you are not always caning the engine which means high teens efficiency. The manual is more efficient of course but the automatic is not far behind- both will give you stellar figures any how.

a close up of a car: MG 4920 © Motor Trend Staff MG 4920

In terms of ride and handling the new Ciaz has the poise and the required polish of an upper midsize sedan. It cruises well, is fairly silent and rides pretty well with only a slight firm edge. The superb ground clearance of 170mm for a sedan helps it on our roads too. The steering lacks feedback though. As for the other changes, I like the new grille and the shiny new chrome which makes it more premium while the interior looks and feels more plush. New features makes it a good deal too which rear seat comfort remains amongst the best in class.

a car parked on the side of a road: MG 4669 © Motor Trend Staff MG 4669

This new top-end Ciaz petrol manual is Rs 10 lakh ex-showroom while the automatic is a lakh more. Now despite being slightly more expensive over the earlier model, it is still massively cheaper compared to rivals thus in value terms it is unbeatable. It is pretty much a textbook example of a good midsize sedan. Yes the automatic gearbox is not the quickest but the Ciaz is not meant to be a sports sedan as instead it does the basics so well and appeals to its target audience. Between the manual and auto, I would go for the automatic simply for the convenience plus you do not lose much in efficiency at all. As said earlier the automatic just suits the Ciaz more.

a car parked in a parking lot: MG 4916 © Motor Trend Staff MG 4916

You can be chauffeured and you can also drive it yourself and not have any complaints. The new look, added features and premium appeal along with the new petrol engine makes it a vastly more superior car. A great value package and in terms of what customers actually want, it might be the new benchmark now. 

MG 4624 © Motor Trend Staff MG 4624

Also watch on MSN: Maruti Suzuki Ciaz facelift launched

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