After the success of the Celerio EzDrive, Maruti may look at incorporating the automated manual technology across its portfolio. The carmaker will, however, not give its soon-to-be-launched Ciaz sedan that will replace the SX4, an AMT. According to a Maruti insider, the AMT is considered to be a ‘poor man’s automatic’, which could dent the premium image of the Ciaz, which will likely rival the likes of the Honda City (CVT-equipped) and Hyundai Verna (four-speed torque convertor).
While the same sedan in China (named the Alivio there) is equipped with a six-speed torque convertor, in India, Maruti is expected to furnish it with a CVT transmission. This move will also help Maruti match specifications with the Honda City auto; the Ciaz’s strongest rival. The AMT ‘box is also a bit jerky to drive and lacks the smoothness of a traditional automatic.
To further strengthen its value proposition, Maruti’s flagship sedan will focus on rear seat comfort and a European luxury car-like cabin design. Since the Ciaz will be sold in markets with a good percentage of chauffer driven customers, Suzuki has focussed on making the rear seat as comfortable. It will be much better equipped and more spacious than the outgoing SX4.
Engineers normally sit in the driver's seat, but here, they have focused on the back bench to fine-tune and improve ride quality for rear occupants. Other rear seat specific changes include rigid mounting of the suspension components. These modifications allowed engineers to employ slightly softer springs for a better, more cushioned ride. With a length of over 4545mm, the Ciaz will be longer than the new Honda City and its long wheelbase will facilitate good legroom at the rear.
Despite conquering the small car segment, Maruti hasn’t tasted much success in the higher segments. This has got more to do with the consumer’s perception of the brand rather than the products themselves. With the upcoming Ciaz, India’s largest carmaker has focussed on areas that matter the most to the buyers in its segment. Maruti is hoping that with this, the Ciaz will bring in a new perception about the brand too.