When you think of sub-compact sedans, Suzuki is probably the last name you think of. Known more for their smaller, compact cars like the Swift and its rugged, go anywhere Jimny, Suzuki’s still trying to make a dent in a market that’s dominated by long-time players like Toyota and their proven Vios.
In this crowded market there’s a real chance that the Ciaz may get lost in the crowd, which is a shame – it’s a great everyday driver that has a lot of amenities that other vehicles of its class don’t have. It’s certainly endeared itself to us during the week we were using it.
There’s a real temptation to make the Ciaz look drastically different from its competitors to make it stand out, thankfully Suzuki opted for a more subdued and elegant approach in its design. The car has a sporty yet refined exterior, with no ridiculously out of proportion grilles or outlandish lights. Every single line in the car has a purpose, and the result makes the Ciaz look more like a scaled-down exectuive car, which is always a good thing.
The Ciaz has an overall length of 4,490mm and is 1,730mm wide. Ground clearance is around 170mm, with the wheelbase of 2650mm. The Ciaz comes with a very nice set of 16-inch alloy wheels and 195/55 R 16 tires.
The interior of the Ciaz, just like the exterior, is elegant and well laid out. The materials for the dash could be a bit better, but that’s just us nitpicking. Probably the best feature of the interior is the Android-powered head unit that comes with even the basic manual transmission trim of the car. The head unit runs off of Android Jelly Bean unfortunately, but that’s not really a big issue since most of the useful apps that you’ll be using for driving like Waze and Google maps still function with it.
That head unit is easily one of the best features of the car. The touchscreen display is big and generous, and we used it heavily during our time with the Ciaz, running Waze off of it while we navigated through the streets of Manila and Baguio. The head unit also synced properly with our Android phone during the trip for our music, though you could opt to install Spotify instead and save yourself the headache. We activated the tethering function of our phone to give the head unit data, though it could theoretically use a data SIM for that, unfortunately we were unable to find where to put said SIM in the car.
There’s controls built right into the steering wheel for audio and calling. The steering wheel itself can be adjusted and has leather trimmings, though there’s no reach adjustment so you’ll have to tweak your seat to get the right feel. Speaking of seats, they’re made out of leather and are fully adjustable though they’re not motorized. The GLX version of the Ciaz features a push button start system.
There’s enough seats for four of your friends in the Ciaz, maybe even five if your friends are on the thin side. Ride comfort is good, and the Ciaz handled itself well on the way up to Baguio via Kennon road. Sure, it’s not the most nimble car in town and there’s a bit of body roll when taking corners at higher speeds but that’s pretty much expected from cars such as this. Manila’s crappy roads are softened somewhat by the suspension of the car. Trunk space is generous as well, though you’re limited to medium-sized luggage since the back seats don’t fold to accomodate bulky items.
Instead of offering a choice of engine displacements for different trims, Suzuki has decided to go with a 1.4-liter engine for all the three variants of the Ciaz. The 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine is basically the same one that powers Suzuki’s Ertiga with a maximum output of 92 horses and 130nm of torque.
That’s pretty much in line with what its competitors are offering, which gives the Ciaz enough pep for both city and country driving. The car struggled a little bit in Baguio’s steep hills, but honestly that’s not really surprising because of the limited power on tap. The four-speed automatic transmission did a good job, with the first three gears well suited to city driving. If you’re driving out in the country though you’ll probably be wishing for a fifth gear.
As far as fuel economy goes, the Ciaz is alright – we recorded around 8 km/L in the traffic-choked streets of Manila, which isn’t too bad. Highway driving netted us around 18 km/L.
The Ciaz is a great offering from Suzuki that has what it takes to take on subcompacts offered by more established brands like Toyota, Honda and Nissan. While the driving experience needs a bit more refinement, it’s still a great people carrier if you’re looking at a bang-for-the-buck offering.
Here’s the pricing for the Ciaz:
5-speed MT – Php 738,000
4-speed AT – Php 773,000
4-speed AT – Php 888,000