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    2016 Suzuki Ciaz Review: The new best value sedan

    The medium sized sedan market is fierce with makers such as Toyota, Hyundai, and Honda dominating the market with the likes of the Altis, Elantra and Civic. At the same time, the subcompact sedan is the most selling category as it’s the most accessible to the market and it’s a popular choice for TNVS, or Transport Network Vehicular Services like Uber, Grab and more.

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    Suzuki took a different approach to attack this category. Replacing their sedan variant SX4 is the new Suzuki Ciaz 2016. It was launched last year with surprising “Best In Class” mentions such as biggest in size, push to start button, spacious leg room, trunk space and more.

    The unit we reviewed is the Suzuki Ciaz GLX model with the luxury brown color. It’s priced at 888,000 pesos and it’s the highest end model of them all. Here’s our take on this category-disruptive car from Suzuki:

    Suzuki Ciaz GLX Specifications 

    • K14B 4 Cylinder DOHC 16V 1.4L VVT Engine
    • Up to 92hp at 6000rpm
    • 4 Speed Automatic CVT
    • Android entertainment panel
    • Brakes – Front: Ventilated  / Rear: Drum
    • 16″ Alloy Wheels
    • Dual-SRS Airbags
    • Dimensions: 4490mm (L) x 1730mm (W) x 1475 (H)
    • Weight: 1,500kg
    • Colors: White, Silver, Black Grey, Brown

    Design

    The Ciaz veers itself away from aggressive lines and plates as seen in the Toyota Vios, Honda City, and Hyundai Accent. Instead, they merged the elegance similar to a BMW with long and angular lines, circular edges and chrome accent plating.

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    At the back, the Ciaz can be seen with more detail with its wide body. The tail lights, on the other hand, have merged the sharp lines with an angular body, which tapers to the side a bit. Quite similar to the Honda City or even to some BMW models, no complaint there but we wished the bottom bumper red lights are actual instead of red reflectors.

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    On the inside, the ID of elegance continues on. You won’t see too much similarity to other models like the Swift, Dzire or Vitara, but more of the higher-end model Kizashi.

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    To give you more appreciation, you’re intended to relax with the Ciaz as compared to other sedans promoting a “sporty” feel. What we liked with the interior is its dual tone color theme of black with chrome accents, which is not too heavy in the eyes to let you focus on the outside, or any passenger’s own consumption of time.

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    A majority of the materials used in the dashboard is hard plastic with soft matte finish. Seats have a soft leather finish which is textured, and the rear leg room is generous enough even when the front row seats are extended to the back.

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    The Ciaz also has a lot of storage compartments and cup holders dedicated for each passenger. Even the center console is carefully thought of with a folding cover, though there isn’t any dedicated space where to place your phone when using for navigation.

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    The center armrest isn’t adjustable, just enough to place your elbow for comfort and store some small items like power bank, wallets and such. We just wished that the handbrake placement didn’t occupy vertical space to give more storage at the center.

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    The driving instrument panel is average, on the left is the RPM count while on the right is the speed indicator. Small dials for the temperature and fuel can be seen on each side of the panel, while a monochrome display is at the center for the gear shift indicator, trip indicator, and fuel consumption. All are neatly placed to add elegance to the Ciaz, although we wished Suzuki added LED lighting at daylight to make it more compelling similar to other cars its price range. Additionally, the instrument panel’s illumination is a bit weak to our taste, and even at night, it doesn’t stand out against other instruments like the center entertainment system or even the aircon status.

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    The driver window panel controls are complete with auto power and side mirror folding for the driver side. Although the controls aren’t illuminated at night making it hard to navigate, we wished Suzuki thought of these small details for better controls.

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    Going to the aircon-navigation is fairly simple with two knobs to control the fan speed and temperature, but we have to be honest that the knobs are too easy to turn which could lead to an exaggerated change of climate when turned by accident. Plus, the knobs are the same as the entertainment controls, so you might get confused from time to time.

    The trunk of the Ciaz is very big at 495 liters of trunk space, big boxes can fit into the trunk and we were even kidding that 3 people can fit inside. Overall, even with our Altis and experience with Accent or City, the size difference is noticeable.

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    The key is a delight to bring along which pops out when needed to manually unlock the car. You won’t be shy to tag along a key like this at public unlike keys we have seen.

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    Comfort

    The Ciaz is undeniably big both at the front and rear seats, the leather seats are much appreciated to add soft-touch. The aircon unit in the Ciaz is average, it can cool down fast when set to 18-20 degrees but the unit we were reviewing barely have any tint so it struggled to provide ample cooling at hot days.

    Performance

    If we were to describe our overall driving experience with the Ciaz, that would be “Smooth-Sailing”. We love that Suzuki focused more on the comfort as compared to the driving speed experience. The 1.4L engine runs smooth without any aggressive engine noise, it purrs like a cat without the screeching roar of a small engine.

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    Given the extended wheelbase of the Ciaz for the size, its weight is also compromised in a result. The Ciaz doesn’t accelerate from 0 to 100 fast, but more of sails steadily to reach speeds of 60-80kph. It finds harder time to punch into speeds of 100kph once it reaches around 80kph, perhaps this is due to the body to weight ratio of the car.

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    To compensate, Suzuki has an option to go to “Sports Mode” by cancelling the overdrive mode. It revs the RPM to reach 5000 – 6000 before changing gears, to let you reach higher speeds at a shorter time. Plus, you’ll hear and feel a more responsive engine every time you step on the accelerator.

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    When fully loaded at 5 persons in the car, you’ll see that the CIAZ will be more adaptive of the additional weight. In our experience, a steady speed of 80kph is okay but the engine will be roaring once you punch it further.

    Aside from speed, we appreciated the suspension of the Ciaz as it handles bumps with care. We were surprised that C5’s famous truck lane wasn’t that bumpy as compared to other cars we have experienced.

    Entertainment

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    The Ciaz also has the same Android entertainment console as the Suzuki Grand Vitara 2017 and we still conclude the same results. The Android console is too entry level in the performance that it can’t handle multi-tasking for GPS, Music, and Navigation all at the same time. Plus, the audio encoding for the unit is not good that it ruins the quality of the speakers in the car. We highly recommend Suzuki to change this or you change the head unit should you intend to buy one.

    So far, you can stream audio via bluetooth or play your own music via USB or Micro SD but don’t expect the great audio quality. Trust us, even if you play along with the equalizer settings, you’ll be dissapointed

    Fuel Economy

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    Push to start button is a delight to see especially for a car that is less than 1M. But more than that, we are very impressed with the fuel economy of the Ciaz. In our time reviewing the car, we drove a total of 394km with mixed of urban driving and heavy traffic driving and we encountered the yellow indicator light upon returning it.

    We averaged to a 9.6km per liter mileage on our whole trip, above than normal since we are getting 16km per liter for non-traffic situations. Pretty much it performs like our Toyota Innova which averages 400km in one full tank, but of course the Innova has 55 liters tank capacity as compared to the 43 on the Ciaz.

    As long as you don’t push the Ciaz to RPMs of 3,500+, you will achieve outstanding fuel economy. A thing that most TNVS drivers want to aspire and for sure the Suzuki Ciaz won’t disappoint while letting customers enjoy a spacious room and even a big trunk space.

    Safety Features

    One thing you should have on top of mind is safety in purchasing a car. The Ciaz has 2 airbags on the front. It also achieves a 4-star rating at the ASEAN NCAP crash test which could improve at bit more.

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    Still the same problem persists with the stock alarm of Suzuki, it doesn’t have any advanced system when it comes to locking the vehicle. There is no auto locking mechanism when running the car, so you will have to lock the car manually at all times. A much needed thing Suzuki should improve especially for high car theft country like the Philippines.

    Conclusion

    We applaud Suzuki for delivering such a nice car into the table. The mix of the Ciaz having generous spacing, elegant design, delightful features with a hint of sporty handling makes it a worthy car to consider in its class.

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    For us the Ciaz could still improve more, perhaps a bit more attention to detail could have eliminated the minor call outs we have encountered. Our suggestion though is to disregard the Android center console and replace it with a dedicated audio head unit with better audio production.

    What we love about the Ciaz

    • Outstanding fuel efficiency
    • Decent engine output
    • Suspension is ideal for urban driving
    • Push to start and Side-Mirror folding as standard
    • Large trunk and interior space

    What we think Suzuki should improve 

    • Lack / Weak LED illumination in the instrument panel
    • Android Entertainment System should improve in audio encoding quality, processing speed and GPS accuracy
    • Should include safety “Auto-Lock” features as standard
    • Back-up camera should be standard to high-end class

    The Suzuki Ciaz starts at Php738,000 for the base GL M/T model, with its features trimmed to basic as compared to the high-end GLX model that has the folding side-mirrors, push to start, wheel integrated controls and even the overdrive mode. It’s such a delight to have a car like this, we award it with out recommended award.

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    Price-wise the Ciaz is very compelling as its the biggest in all 1.4L sub-compact sized sedans with outstanding fuel economy.  It’s perfect for those who looks for a car that can carry a lot when needed but can be used for personal drives without worry of its large size. Plus, the elegant appearance, comfortable suspension and again the great fuel economy makes it’s a great Uber/Grab vehicle.

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