Maruti Suzuki India Limited have just launched the new Maruti Kizashi in India. To them the Kizashi would definitely mean a sign of new things to come. But then the price tag was a bit of dampener even though the premium car had lots of goodies going on for it. But then the reason for it been a CBU is because Maruti Suzuki India Limited have already burnt their fingers with the Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara in India. This was Maruti’s first failure story in the premium segment with the second been the Maruti Baleno. I hope that the Maruti Kizashi doesn’t go the same way as the other two. All said and done, the Grand Vitara is the point of our discussion today. When I used to work with Maruti, we weren’t allowed to handle this SUV. The reason said was that it was a premium offering and required some convincing for customers to even take a look at it. As of today, I have got a Grand Vitara and I would be presenting the full review of this SUV nee crossover. No, its not the Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara diesel which is yet to be launched. It is the usual petrol version which has remained more or less unchanged from 2009.
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Thankfully, like the Kizashi, this is also a direct import from Japan and hence the SUV that is available internationally also looks the same. The totally honey combe grille with that Suzuki logo on the front did somewhat intimidate me but then not as much as say what a Fortuner can do. The parallelogram shaped head lamps are powerful but then it doesn’t have any LED gimmicks to it. There is a halter to the grille of this SUV. The bumpers have been neatly integrated to the body of this SUV. The fog lamps are placed slightly above in the bumper than what traditional SUVs would do. The bonnet is not so steeply raked which other SUVs have in order to maximize the pedestrian safety equation.
As for the side profile, the car gets 17 inch alloy wheels as standard now with chunky 225/65 section tyres. Needless to say, they are radial as well as tubeless. The ORVMs don’t have the turn indicators in them but then they are also big. Like the Tata Sierra estate, there is a rear glass as well. The wheels pale in comparison to the size of the wheel arches. The rear, in the meanwhile shows off a sideways opening hatch with a full size spare wheel attached to it. The tail lamps are also big and more like an inverted cone of ice cream. The tail pipe present in the earlier version has now been dismissed for a small unit. Just like the fog lamps up in the front, the rear reflectors are also placed very close to the tail lamp cluster.
Step into the interiors of the Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara in India and I found out that quality is the same the Kizashi which I test drove recently. The steering wheel is the same one like the Swift but then it somehow felt a bit bigger. It has got the audio controls, Bluetooth and cruise control. The instrument cluster is more of three concentric dials with the first one from left been occupied with the fuel and temperature gauge, the second one been the speedometer and the third one been the tachometer. Then you get the upgraded version of the auto climate control system with 4 zones found in the Swift, a 6 CD changer system with aux and USB input, day/night rear view mirror and chilled glove box amongst the others, not to mention the numerous cup holders and cubby holes. As expected, all the power goodies are also present. The front seats are 6 way powered with memory functions. The driver’s seat is comfortable but then it getting into it takes some time but then the steering is adjustable for rake and but then misses out on the reach part.
The front passenger’s seat is also comfortable but then it is slightly more so for 6 footers than the driver’s seat. The reason for this is that for the driver, the dash swoops down and makes for restricted passage. Quality of materials used inside is good but then from a Rs 16 lakhs SUV, I would demand a bit more. There were some inconsistent panel gaps but then those were not visible easily. Moving onto the rear, the rear seats are comfortable but then you have to climb into the cabin courtesy the 200 mm ground clearance. There is a separate AC vent for the rear passenger. Since it is a 5 seater, the third row is used for loading luggage. The boot space is just 398 liters but then tumble fold the rear seat back and the maximum luggage capacity increases to 798 liters which when the seats are completely folded becomes 1387 liters. Overall, you do feel that you are not sitting in a German vehicle but in some Japanese car, exception been of Toyota.
Handling and ride quality
The Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara in India is available only in a 4 wheel drive variant now. It also gets a central differential lock and a low ratio. It is built on a built in ladder frame with a Monocoque construction. This classifies it as an SUV and one which is capable off-road as I found out. The suspension of this SUV is McPherson struts at the front and Multi Links at the rear. The suspension is a bit on the softer side and the springs have long travel. This endows it with very good off-road capability. With the new revised engine, there is no dearth of power as well. I took it across the same path wherein I had conducted the Volvo XC60 versus Audi Q5 comparison and it very efficiently crossed that path. Put it into low ratio via a button in the central console and all goes well. Where the Maruti Gypsy is a mountain goat, the Grand Vitara is a snow mountain leopard. Infact the Ford Endeavor 4×4’ s low ratio required some prodding, the Maruti unit just shifts seamlessly.
On the road however the 200 mm ground clearance and the cushy travel of the springs does result in lots of body roll while going around fast corners. The ride also feels slightly lumpy at low speeds and especially when the SUV is unladen. NVH is one thing which has been taken care off very well. Since it is a petrol engine, there isn’t much NVH lower down but then get upto respectable 3 digit speeds and the 4 cylinder engine emits a muted snarl. I have heard that the now decommisioned V6 engine in the same SUV had a wonderful engine note when on the song.
The steering wheel is hydraulically assisted now with a speed sensitive factor thrown in. But then it isn’t a BMW’s steering wheel. It lacks some directness and doesn’t muster enough confidence on the open way.
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
The Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara in India is now available only in one engine option. It is a 2.4 liter unit, actually the same one as in the Kizashi but with a different state of tune. It now makes 163.5 Bhp @ 6000 rpm and torque of 225 Nm @ 4000 rpm. It is mated with a 5 speed manual or a 4 speed auto unit. The engine features VVT and also VIS technologies. VVT ensures that the engine is rev happy and at the same time fuel efficient. VIS controls the throttle inputs. The new drive by wire accelerator technology is also rocking. Just prod the accelerator slightly and the SUV lungs forward with a sense of urgency. Engine response is also commendable, something which the 120 Ps 2.0 liter engine lacked. The manual Vitara raced from 0-100 kmph in only 12.2 seconds whereas the automatic one took 14.3 seconds for the same lap. The top speed attained was also a respectable 163 kmph for the manual and 159 kmph for the automatic variant. Gear shifts were good in both the manual and automatic. The gearing is slightly on the taller side to aid fuel efficiency. That saying, it doesn’t hamper the driveability in the city.
Brakes are the usual ventilated discs upfront and solid ones at the rear. They are assisted by Sure Stop Braking System (SSBS) which is a Suzuki trademark as it combines Brake Assist, EBD and also ABS. Dual SRS air bags in the front, brake pedal foot protection design, 3 point ELR seat belts with pretensioners, side impact door beams along with a collapsible steering wheel round off the safety package.
Fuel efficiency is something which we consider all the Maruti vehicles in India however those harping on the same quality would be disappointed with the Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara in India. The manual returned economy figures of 8.1 kmpl in the city and 14.3 kmpl on the highway whereas the automatic returned 7.3 kmpl in the city and 13.7 kmpl on the highway. This combined with 66 liters fuel tank ensure that there is approximately 660 kilometers of cruising before the Grand Vitara needs a refill.
Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara Photo Gallery
The Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara in India is likely to get a revamp later on this year with a new diesel engine and maybe fresher looks. I wouldn’t complain about the current looks of the SUV but then in wake of the Fortuner, it doesn’t looks as intimidating. It has got decent interior space, somewhat long list of equipment, responsive engine and the Maruti service backup. The things going against it are the Maruti brand name and somewhat high price. Speaking of price, the Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara price in India starts at Rs 16,94,382 for the manual version and goes all the way up to Rs 18,26,660 for the automatic version. All these prices are ex-show room, Mumbai. At this price point, its main competitors would be the Chevrolet Captiva, Ford Endeavor and the Honda CR-V, all capable in their own right. It is the diesel version that I am sure many in the country would be waiting for, if at all if they are interested in the Maruti Grand Vitara.
Technical specifications of Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara
Engine details: 2.4L In-Line 4 cylinder engine with VVT, DOHC and MPFI
Maximum Power: 163.5 Bhp @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 225 Nm @ 4000 rpm
No. of Cylinders: 4
Valve Configuration: DOHC
Valves Per Cylinder: 4
Bore x Stroke: 92mm x 90mm
Fuel Supply System: Direct Injection
Compression Ratio: 10:0.2
Transmission details: 5-Speed manual or 4 speed automatic
Front Suspension: McPherson Strut
Rear Suspension: Multi Link
ShockAbsorbers Type: Gas Filled
Steering details: Hydraulic power assisted, tilt adjustable with rack & pinion
Turning Radius (wheel base): 5.5 mtrs
Front Brake Type: Ventilated Disc
Rear Brake Type: Solid Disc
Mileage-City (kmpl): 8.1 (manual) , 7.3 (automatic)
Mileage-Highway (kmpl): 14.3 (manual) , 13.7 (automatic)
Fuel Type: Petrol
Fuel Tank Capacity (litres): 66
Emission Norm Compliance: Bharat Stage 4
Tyre Size: 225/70 R 17
Tyre Type: Tubeless Radial
Seating Capacity: 5
No of Doors: 5
Cargo Volume: 398 litres