Just yesterday, it was reported in our blog that the Maruti SX4 diesel variant has been launched and viola, today I have got the New Maruti SX4 diesel in India for a test drive. Amn’t I lucky? But then the time alloted wasn’t the usual 1-2 hours and it was just a 15-20 minutes session. Fret? Noways, exclusivity demands that you sacrifice something and as of now, I am content with the test drive of this car. Maruti Suzuki has promised us that they would give us a car later on for a complete review. So as of now, the test drive would do. A Maruti SX4 diesel review would follow later on.
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Visually, the car looks no different than the petrol variant, save for the badge at the sides saying DDIS and the rear proclaiming it to be a Zdi and which means it is the top end version. I wouldn’t waste my time and yours writing about the looks and if you have connotions about the same, you can check out the http://www.indiandrives.com/maruti-sx4-in-india-review-men-are-back.html story that I had covered for the petrol variant. Looks apart, time for the interiors. A quick spin in the interiors reveal that even nothing much has changed from the petrol motor’s interiors. Actually nothing has changed. The instruments panel looks the same. So are the seats, which by the way have the leather upholstery option in the Zdi optional package. A bit hard but then comfortable over long distances as per my previous experience with the SX petrol. Same Maruti Swift bits carried around but then at a second glance, yes the build quality has improved over the petrol variant’s. Panel gaps seem more consistent, the door map pockets don’t bruise one’s fingers. Somehow the climate control unit felt better to look at, in the Maruti SX4 diesel rather than its petrol counterpart. It may be due to thing that out of sight means out of mind. Nevertheless, this car boasts of having one of the better head rooms in its category. Trust me, it is a 6 footer’s words. The leg room was strictly okay and for the middle passenger, it would be a bit of a problem due to the transmission tunnel intrusion working against his or her comfort factor. Boot space is still massive at 504 liters.
Adding a diesel engine and that too for a front engined car would bring in additional pressure on the front suspension bushings and Maruti in a way to counter this have stiffened the suspension bushings and have tinkered around with the springs. To be exact, the new diesel engine Maruti SX4 weighs 55 kgs more than its petrol counterpart. The handling as a result is not as enthusiastic as its petrol counterpart. But Maruti have done well in giving the steering more slack so as to make last minute corrections possible. The Maruti SX4 diesel version is still fun to drive but then asking it to do some high fundoo cornering like its petrol variant would be met with slight protests. Even bigger rubber hasn’t been provided for. I wonder why Maruti with all the time in the world for the Maruti SX4 diesel release couldn’t put in more accessories or even something different in this car other than the diesel engine. Shame on you Maruti Suzuki. The tall muscular look of the car however promised me that I don’t have to slow down for speed breakers or even potholes and the car dispatched it all without even a whimper. The ride though a bit stiff works fine on the Indian roads and the good thing is that the car doesn’t bottom out even when fully loaded.
Now comes the best part of this car and the reason why many readers would be reading this blog. The new Maruti SX4 diesel gets the 1.3 liter DDIS engine derived from Fiat. It has now got a variable geometry turbo charger instead of the fixed one found in the Maruti Swift DDIS. This world acclaimed multijet unit now makes 90 PS of peak power @ 4000 rpm whereas its torque figure reads a good 200 Nm as low as 1750 rpm. As of now, there is only a 5 speed manual transmission option. Seems like Maruti have thrown in all their technological prowess into this car instead of making it cosmetically more alluring (why by the way, is class apart). The transmission is the same one doing duties in the petrol variant of the SX4 but then, it has been given some smoothening treatment via a detent pin attached to the transmission. This detent pin actually removes the rubbery feel of the SX4 petrol’s transmission. It now feels as smooth as say the Volkswagen Vento’s unit. Commendable job I would say.
Now comes to the real part of driving the car. Extremely responsive are the words that come to my mind when I relieve the experience. If there is one thing that anyone couldn’t have done it better than Maruti, then it is the engine tuning. The car is utter silent at the start and even on the go. Even when you rev it in neutral, you would be hard pressed to hear the sound. Since it is a test drive, I couldn’t time the car’s performance. But then expect it to be in the range of 14-15 seconds. Maybe even lower. I am being told that this car has a top speed in excess of 160 kmph. Impressive. Moreover, the engine is a free revving unit unlike the petrol which takes on a coarse note when revved hard. Speaking technically, the Maruti SX4 diesel is a first of its kind car in the country with it complying to OBD 2 norms. This means that the car has got sensors placed in its heart which check the car for its pollution rate. If it crosses a certain limit, then a warning light on the dashboard would remind you to take the car to a nearest service station and to stop polluting the atmosphere. Innovative. Nothing has changed in the braking department and it still remains a top feature. ABS has been calibrated perfectly unlike the Swift. There is EBD as well. Safety features are also the same as found in the petrol unit and you get twin air bags, side intrusion beams, collapsible steering column and the three point seat belts.
I am sure most of you would be dying to know the fuel efficiency of this car. The Maruti SX4 diesel mileage is claimed to be 21.3 kmpl but expect the car to return figures of 14 kmpl in the city and 19-20 kmpl on the highway. This should be enough to give the competition a proper jittery feeling. Moving onto the Maruti SX4 diesel price, I believe I have already covered it in the news section yesterday. But for the uninitiated, I would repeat it. The Maruti SX4 diesel is offered in three trim levels. Those are the base version Maruti SX4 VDI, the middle Maruti SX4 ZDI and the top of the line Maruti SX4 ZDI with leather upholstery. The price of the Maruti SX4 VDI is Rs 7.7 lakhs, the Maruti SX4 ZDI price is Rs 8.30 lakhs whereas the Maruti SX4 ZDI with leather upholstery is priced at Rs 8.62 lakhs. All these prices are introductory ex-show room prices. If you are a Maruti fan, fan of their widespread service network, travel extensively and want good looks, mileage and also diesel running costs, then the Maruti SX4 diesel makes sense for you. At the same price, you would be able to buy a Honda City top end manual version. But then the City is available only in a petrol option. Think about it.
Maruti SX4 diesel specifications
Engine: 1.3 liter DOHC 16V 4 Cylinders DDiS
Number of Valves: 16
Bore x Stroke: 69.6 x 82 mm
Piston displacement: 1248cc
Maximum Power: 90PS @ 4000 rpm
Maximun Torque: 200 Nm @ 175 rpm
Transmission: 5 speed Manual
Brakes Front: Ventilated Discs and rear Drums
Wheels: 15” inch Steel wheel for VDi and 16” inch Alloy for Zdi variant
Fuel Tank: 50 Litres
Seating Capacity: 5
Length: 4490 mm
Height: 1550 (VDi), 1560mm (ZDi)
Ground Clearance: 180mm
Wheelbase: 2500 mm
Turning Radius: 5.3m
Weight: 1225Kg(VDi) and 1245 Kg (ZDi)