The South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ) last night published the list of semi-finalists in the annual WesBank SAGMJ Car of the Year (COTY) competition.
Is the Suzuki Baleno set to become the Kim in their Kardashian line-up? The member of the family famous for its rear? Kar-dashians … see what I did there, totally cracked myself up with that gem!
I drove the Suzuki Ciaz for a week while in Johannesburg. This article is my summary of those few days with this sedan which features space as a big part of its design.
For those of you that follow my Tweet stream (@M0rneC) you’ll have noticed me recently – and hilariously – using the name of the Suzuki Ciaz as a verb, creating a hipster-like “See As” whenever I tweeted about this car – the headline on this article is another example of that wit. It was ingenious, hilarious, unique and the product of nearly 20 years of journalistic skill (effectively my whole life focused on that moment where more than four decades of sarcastic wit and wise-ass attitude crystalised to provide pure automotive entertainment).
Now I’m here to expand on those tweets and flesh out the details of the Suzuki Ciaz. Thankfully, there’s more substance to this sedan than there is to my sad attempt at being a smart-ass.
Before I get to the test – and my experiences – let me make one observation. The Ciaz is a lot bigger than I had expected. I had anticipated a small sedan, similar to that of the Swit Dzire (2430mm wheelbase) but the Ciaz is larger (2650mm for a difference of 220mm) – you can see the photo I took in the embedded tweets below which will show you my legroom in the rear (keeping in mind this was with the driver’s seat adjusted for my driving position.
First up, I did not drive this on home turf, I drove this in that delightful little village of Johannesburg. Me, a coastal chap from a small town at sea level, driving a 1.4 litre, four-cylinder in the frenetic traffic that can be found on Jo’burg’s freeways at nearly 1800m above the sea. Why is the height important? Height above sea level means less power, less power means reduced performance. Since I’m starting at 1.4 litres and working down from there in the power stakes my expectations weren’t high.
Didn’t last long though with the 70kW of power and 130Nm of torque proving itself more than up to the task of keeping up with the traffic, or even setting the pace. At this point it is worth mentioning the fuel consumption. Suzuki claim fuel consumption figures of 5.4 litres per 100km (18.52km/l) for this model, I recorded 5.65 litres per 100km (17.7km/l) and I was not doing economy run driving by any stretch of the imagination. Should make getting close to their figures a reality and your 43 litre fuel tank could see you getting as much as 760 km per filling station visit (if you use Suzuki’s figures it would be closer to 800km, but real-world driving is unlikely to get you to that level).
As I mentioned earlier though, 1.4 litre engine at altitude … There is no listing of 0-100km/h acceleration times for the Ciaz on Suzuki’s site but if you do a bit of scratching online, a figure of 11.3 seconds is quoted by some commentators. The Ciaz certainly seems zippy enough, even way up there on the Reef.
This could be explained by a kerb weight which is just over a ton, so with just me on board the Ciaz is quite nimble and light on its feet. Manoeuvring through the city traffic doesn’t take much effort but roadholding is at least two levels above what I had anticipated. I thought what I would encounter was a car that was adequate family transport but without much in the way of fun driving dynamics. The Ciaz instead proved to be an enthusiastic running, sure it isn’t sports car performance but it is more than you’d think looking at the spec sheet.
There are three variants in the Ciaz stable locally. All are 1.4 but you can have manual or automatic in GL and GLX guise. The base model is R182 500 moving up to R217 500 for the auto. Naturally trim levels vary between the two with steel wheels on the GL and alloys on the GLX. All have central locking, power steering, USB and Bluetooth and aircon while the GLX model I was driving also had leather seats, keyless entry and steering wheel controls – the latter two being on the list of standard features on all models as well.
On the safety front, ABS (anti-lock brakes) and driver and passenger SRS (secondary restraint system) airbags are to be found in all models.
Time to get to the bits about the Ciaz I don’t like. Ummmm … a maximum power output that isn’t all the way up at 6000rpm? Frankly, for the Ciaz there isn’t really anything I can point out other than the electric door locks don’t engage automatically when you pull off. The keyless entry and go system is fabulous and you’ll love it when you’ve used it for a while. It just makes so much sense.
In terms of warranty and service, etc. Suzuki offers a three-year / 60 000 km service plan and a 100 000km or 36 month warranty. Service intervals are annually or every 15 000km.
Overall, I rather enjoyed driving the Ciaz around the Big Smoke. It has the typically light clutch action you find on modern Suzukis, it is brisk and comfortable to drive, it is light on fuel for munching all those kilometres required to get around in Johannesburg and it is quite stylish. With the available legroom and other interior space as well as the large boot it makes good sense as family motoring goes.