Maruti Suzuki India Limited had already notified the Indian masses that they would be launching an all new small car and surprisingly, which would have no influence from Japan at all in its design. This car was launched in the year 2009 in the Indian market. Surprisingly, it sells well inspite of its oddball design. Now, I was always a fan of this car and still am. If ever, there is another car that I would ever buy, it has got to be the Maruti Suzuki Ritz in India. I have been harping about it since the time I booked one at the Mumbai Auto show in 2010 and then due to some personal reasons, had to cancel the booking. Sad, but then the experience of the Maruti Ritz and my subsequently visiting the auto show this year and finding it missing fuelled my rage for getting my hands on one for a review. Earlier on, for any Maruti car, I always had skepticism but then for the Ritz, I may have rosy eyed glasses. Nah! We at Indiandrives don’t carry any prior notions of the cars that we review and do the reviews without any preconceived notions.
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This car is a tall boy design with many of the rounded features. It looks more like a grown up Maruti A-star from the front. The wide Audi type grille at the front with a horizontal bar in between making way for the license plate and the Suzuki logo on top of it. The boomerang shaped head lamps don’t make this car seem like a eyeball grabber but then in flesh, it is. The placement of the fog lamps seems like a cheap thing especially the black slats surrounding it. The windscreen is also not deeply raked. The 14 inch wheels, be they in steel or alloy wheels, look classy enough. The side profile shows 2 quarter glasses. The rear has a CR-V look with those vertically stacked tail lamps and the reflectors on the rear bumper. The single tail pipe doing duties is also a thin unit.
The bug bear of any Maruti in town, even after the quality revolution that began with the launch of the Maruti Swift, quality wasn’t still upto the mark with say, a Ford car. But then the new Maruti Suzuki Ritz in India has the best quality in any Maruti car and surprise of all, it can be compared with the Ford as well. One of the best interiors in a Maruti, better than even the Maruti SX4. The only big dial is the speedometer one and there are the usual tell tale lights available. There is a small revometer available which, unlike the Maruti A-star doesn’t hinder one’s vision and is conveniently placed in the left side. The waterfall console which is available on the top of the line Vdi range is breathtakingly beautiful and looks more like an import rather than locally sourced.
The stubby gearshift along with chrome outlined fascia make for a bold change. The 3 spoke steering wheel with audio controls on it also is flanked by chunky stalks for the wiper and lights. Surprisingly this also happens to be one of those Marutis(believe me, they are so rare) which I am comfortable in. The front seats, by virtue of the tall boy design can accommodate 6 foot plus frames. The steering wheel also doesn’t hinder in the way. I wanted to check out the rear seats even when the front ones have been fully extended to the back. Viola! There is enough space even in the rear with this arrangement. No rubbing of knees and no problem of less underthigh support. Seats are also 60:40 split and this aids in the convenience factor while loading the boot. The Ritz’s boot space is 236 liters.
Handling and ride quality
This car is built on the Maruti Swift platform however the ground clearance of 170mm and the tall boy design don’t make it an eager handler. It does take corners well but then the 165/80 R14 weedy tyres don’t offer enough grip so as to encourage for enthusiastic handling. Torsion beams along with coil springs at the rear and coil springs with McPherson struts in the front is the suspension setup for the Maruti Suzuki Ritz in India. The Ritz is tuned more for comfort and hence offers a better ride quality at all speeds. It is stable as well since it doesn’t get buffeted on the highway with crosswinds. The road noise is also well damped and doesn’t intrude too much. Engine note, with it been a BS4 variant is also nicely kept under check.
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
The Maruti Suzuki Ritz in India is offered with two engine options. One was an all new(then) petrol engine which boasted of a capacity of 1.2 liters and produced 85 Ps of peak power at 6000 rpm and a torque of 113 Nm at 4500 rpm. The diesel on the other hand is the all too famous Fiat Multijet engine which makes 75 PS of peak power at 4000 rpm and torque of 190 Nm at 2000 rpm. Both the engines are mated with a 5 speed manual transmission. The gear box is one of the better units from Maruti Suzuki stables. It shifts precisely and even half clutch responses are good. Both the engines are one of the best in their respective classes.The petrol motor crosses the 0-100 kmph mark in only 14 seconds and achieves a top speed of 155 kmph. The diesel motor on the other hand breaches the 0-100 kmph mark a second later than the petrol motor and crosses a top speed of 162 kmph. Both the engines are free revving and don’t have a problem even when they are been redlined.
Brakes are the standard discs at the front and drums at the rear. There is an optional ABS thrown in for the higher variants. EBD also is packed in to make braking a much safer affair. As far as safety is concerned, the car gets 2 air bags in the front, seat belt pretensioners, 3 point seat belts and child locks. The steering wheel is also of the collapsible types.
Fuel efficiency is also one of the strong points of any Maruti Suzuki car. The Maruti Ritz petrol variant claims to give 14.2 kmpl in the city and 19.3 kmpl on the highway. The diesel on the other hand is one the most frugal ones in India with mileage figures of 17.7 kmpl in city and a good 21.6 kmpl on the highway.
The Maruti Suzuki Ritz in India is a winner which ever way you look at it. Now, the looks been subjective, many would find this a bit of odd-ball but then it carries itself forward with an elan. It has what Indians desire for and that is space, features, pace and mileage. It comes in both petrol as well as diesel engines and both are class leading. They are available in total of 9 variants including both petrol and diesel engines. The Maruti Suzuki Ritz price in India starts from Rs Rs 4,01,151 for the base version and ends at Rs 5,34,014 for the top end diesel. Certainly a value for money proposition. If you are looking for a decent handling hatch from the Maruti stable along with modern configurations, then this is it. No, I am not endorsing it but then if given a chance, would love to do it.