Snapshot: With the all-new Ciaz, Maruti is clearly aiming at Honda’s jugular. Which one is best? Read on to get the definitive answer.
The Honda City has long established itself as the king of the midsize sedan category. In reality, its blend of posh image, sound engineering and fuel efficient engines have given it the edge over rivals. In fact, it is the only midsize car that you will ever really need. But the question that Maruti is asking is this – is the City all the car you really still want? We find out here.
While the City has been around for almost an year it still manages to look fresh and appealing. The sharp lines and clever design language give it a unique and sophisticated look. The big chrome grille up front gives it lots of personality as well. The Ciaz is the longest car in its segment and this is clearly visible when you look at the car from side on. This top end version of the car gets projector head lamps among other things to make it look good. The rear end of both these cars is very similar though and if you can play the game of ‘spot the difference’ if someone decides to hide the badges.
The Ciaz’s shares some components like the steering wheel and power window buttons with the Swift. That said, quality levels are very high and clearly ahead of the City. The front seats offer good all round support as well. The rear seats are supreme of legroom and there is lots of space to keep your feet at just under the front seats. The City on the other end comes across as a more stylish place to be in. Though quality levels aren’t as good as the Ciaz they aren’t that bad either. Rear comfort is good too, but the City simply cannot match the Ciaz’s legroom at the rear. Both cars come with rear AC vents as well as centrally mounted arm-rest to aid comfort further.?
Engine, performance and gearbox
The Ciaz gets the same 1.3-litre diesel engine that does duty in the Ertiga. This engine develops 89bhp, which is a clear 11bhp lower than the City’s bigger 1.5-litre unit. While the Ciaz clearly excels in the refinement department, it loses out on the driveability. The Ciaz’s engine needs plenty of revs to feel lively. Only once it is past the 2,000rpm mark does the engine offer good drivability and this can become cumbersome when in town. The five speed manual gearbox on the Ciaz is decent to operate.
The City on the other end excels in the driveability department but is let down in the noise levels. The City is visibly buzzier and though this isn’t a deal breaker it can get annoying when on that that long trip. That said, it is the better and easier car to drive. The engine starts responding to throttle inputs from a low 1,500rpm and that along with the excellent six-speed gearbox makes driving this Honda plenty of fun.
Ride and Handling
Maruti are the masters when it comes to ride and handling and the Ciaz is no different. The car offers a very computable ride at slow city speeds and feels stable even on faster highway speeds. The steering is light enough to operate but not so much so that it feels nervous at highway speeds.
The City on the other end feels a lot more agile. The steering is crisper and the chassis doesn’t mind quick lane changes as well. Though not an all-out sporty sedan this car manages to keep the enthusiast driver relatively happy. The ride has a stiff edge to it but not uncomfortably so.
Safety and Equipment
Both these cars well kitted in their top end variants. Both get dual airbags and ABS as standard. They also get, start/stop button, rear AC vents as well as steering mounted audio controls along with Bluetooth connectivity as standard. The City gets Cruise control as standard too, which the Ciaz doesn’t even offer as an option.
While the Ciaz has the clear edge over the City in the space as well as quality department, the City comes across as a more rounded package. The City offers a premium and upmarket cabin, better driveability as well as a posh image, which the Maruti product cannot match. That said, you can’t go wrong with either one.