Suzuki Ciaz 1,4 GLX – Give expensive motoring the boot

We always make it our mission here at Bidvest Club McCarthy to highlight cars which we feel offer good, solid value without compromising on quality.

Which is why we’d like to point you in a direction of the Suzuki Ciaz. Suzuki is a brand that continues to fly somewhat under the radar here in South Africa, with one or two exceptions. Their little Jimny jeep has earned them a lot of fans, as has the Swift hatchback. More recently the redesigned SX4 crossover has also attracted some attention and they recently released a new MPV called the Ertiga.

Last year they released another new model called the Ciaz, a smallish family sedan with very neat and clean lines. It’s biggest competitor is produced by another Japanese manufacturer, Toyota. Not long ago Toyota caused a stir with the introduction of its Quest model, a well-equipped sedan with a very competitive asking price due to the fact that it basically recycled the old Corolla body, keeping costs down.

The Ciaz is priced a wee bit higher than the Quest but it offers an extremely appealing package of features. It’s also, to our eyes, a sleeker looking vehicle all round, with much more modern lines than the Quest which looks a bit like yesterday’s news next to the Ciaz.

The Ciaz is based on the SX4 platform and while the styling is not exactly radical, it is very neat and appealing with the face featuring a large chrome grill and swept back headlights that add some sportiness and aggression to the fairly conservative design. Most critically, given that the Ciaz is a sedan, Suzuki have managed to finish off the rear end neatly so the Ciaz looks alert and ready to roll whether you’re viewing it from the front or back. The stance is also quite streamlined and athletic, with the slightly raised boot helping considerably in this regard. Wrap-around tail lights, racy 16 inch alloys and metallic finish door handles enhance the sporty feel.

 On the outside the Ciaz measures 4,490mm long and 2,650mm between the axles. True to form for Suzuki this is on the small side when compared to other C-segment sedans but the designers have still managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat by making interior space very generous indeed. For example, there is 760mm of rear legroom, which easily tops that of the Corolla Quest. And speaking of space, the boot offers 495 litres of storage space, 45 litres more than the 450 litres offered by the Corolla.

Owners of the Ciaz will feel a warm glow of satisfaction every time they slide into the cockpit and view the array of instruments, switches and buttons before them. Suzuki have always paid close attention to the quality of their components and it shows in the Ciaz, giving an overall impression of solidity. Comfort is not neglected and the front seat designs in particular are worth noting, with excellent thigh and shoulder support.

As we mentioned earlier, the Ciaz is very well specced, especially in the GLX model (there are two spec levels – the GL and the GLX). However, it is a nice surprise to discover that both models offer an excellent selection of convenience features as standard. On the GL, this includes remote central locking, climate control, electric windows and mirrors, a six speaker stereo system including USB and Bluetooth connectivity, front and rear seat armrests, rear air-con vents, a 12 volt socket and a multi-function steering wheel that can be tilt-adjusted.

The GLX model further adds leather upholstery and steering wheel trim. Slick black accents are added to the shift lever gate, the instrument panel and air vents. You can adjust the driver’s seat for height and the car fires up with a start button instead of having to use the key.

Storage pockets are generous throughout, particularly with regards to drinks bottles, with dedicated space for anything up to one litre in size in both the front and rear doors. The fold-down armrest at the rear has space to hold two containers, a pretty essential feature when you are hauling kids around, as any parent will attest. In addition to the glove compartment, there is a storage box in the front console containing the 12 volt socket, a USB and Aux socket and space for two more cups/bottles. A very handy feature indeed.

Safety features are decent too, with dual front airbags, ABS brakes with EBD and EBA and side impact door beams.

The Ciaz shares the same 1,4 litre as Suzuki’s new Ertiga MPV. It’s not exactly a rampaging beast at 70kW / 130 Nm and it’s a little raw but it has enough grunt to get you where you need to go in both normal traffic and on the highway. This can probably be attributed to the fact that it doesn’t have to move a huge load, with the Suzuki boasting a relatively low weight of 1026 kilograms – which works out to a pretty amazing 200kgs less than the Corolla Quest. It’s all physics after all.

The engine on the GL and GLX models is controlled by a 5 speed manual transmission that is neither particularly brilliant nor offensive, it simply gets the job done. Speed tests revealed an average time of 11,53 seconds to get from 0 – 100km/h. Fuel consumption under independent testing was considerably more impressive at around 6 litres per 100 kilometres. Those who drive a lot should find this statistic very encouraging. There is an auto gearbox available but we feel the mid-range GLX manual is definitely the one to consider, offering the best basket of features at the price.

It’s not all great news though, with the suspension letting the side down somewhat. The ride comfort isn’t quite as good as the Toyota Quest, with noticeable body roll at higher speeds, while the steering is also light. Not so much a problem at lower speeds but when you’re going fast, a weightier-feeling, more sensitive steering wheel imparts a lot more confidence.

Like all vehicles the Ciaz has its strengths and weaknesses. Strengths include the good spec levels on both models, the smart and sophisticated cabin that exudes quality, good rear legroom and the affordable price tag. Weaknesses include the poor road-handling around corners and light steering at high speed. In our opinion it’s still worth taking it out for a spin and comparing it with the Conquest if you are in the market for an affordable family vehicle and really need that extra boot space that a sedan offers. Test drive the Suzuki Ciaz at Bidvest McCarthy Suzuki today!

Bidvest McCarthy Suzuki Cape Town
 Cnr Chichester & Garfield Rd, Kenilworth, Kenilworth Centre. 
Tel: 021-6731000

Bidvest McCarthy Suzuki Menlyn
 248 Garsfontein Rd, Menlyn
. Tel: 012-4729900

Bidvest McCarthy Multi Franchise Bloemfontein
 Unit 6, Showground Retail Park, Curie Avenue, Bloemfontein, 9301.
 Tel: 051-4110400

Suzuki Ciaz GL 5MT – R185,900
Suzuki Ciaz GLX 5MT – R206,500
Suzuki GLX 4AT – R221,800

The Suzuki Ciaz comes with a 3 year / 60,000km service plan and a 3 year / 100,000km warranty. There is also a six year body corrosion warranty, subject to terms and conditions.

For more information visit Bidvest McCarthy Suzuki, click here


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