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SUZUKI VITARA BREZZA: A FORMIDABLE CONTENDER

Although they took their own sweet time getting there, Suzuki has finally entered the compact SUV segment. With most of the players having already made their moves to outshine the other in the segment, it seemed that things were simmering down amongst the compact SUVs; that was until the Suzuki Vitara Brezza made its presence felt. And for competitors, this might not be the best of news.

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Having responded to market demands at the drop of a hat in the past, slow reactions to trends aren’t what the people at Suzuki are known for. However, they took their time with the Brezza and we are hoping it was worth the wait. Development began in 2012 and it took around 3.5 years to become the final product that debuted at the 2016 Delhi Auto Expo. Now, to ascertain if this was indeed a beautiful slowly cooked braised pork and not a stale cake that was left in the oven for too long, we took the Suzuki Brezza out for a spin.

EXTERIOR

The Brezza squeezes into the sub 4 meter segment at 3995mm, but what it has left out in length it has made up for in width. In fact, the Vitara Brezza is 15 mm wider than the SUV it’s based on i.e. the full-sized Suzuki Vitara! It has a clean design that has kept things subtle in order to appeal to the masses much like they did with the Baleno.

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While some compact SUVs resemble their hatchback counterparts a little too much, the Brezza has completely chucked the idea of looking like a glorified hatchback and come up with a solid independent SUV design. Up front, the large front bumper gets aggressive contours around the indicator and foglamp clusters, while the chrome grille and silver faux skid plate combo works well to add a premium touch. The pilot lamps (that can be used like DRLs) add some character.

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If you’re looking for the best profile to view the Brezza, it would most definitely be from the sides. It gets a floating roof-like design that slopes well into a prominent spoiler. There are claddings above the wheel arches to give more of the SUV feel. You even get an option of contrast roof colors on the top-end ZDi+ variant.

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The black cladding continues to cut the bulk at the rear and another faux skid plate reminds you of this car’s positioning as an SUV. A large chrome slate obove the number plate bears the Vitara Brezza name and the “Bull-Horn” L-shaped LEDs in the tail light cluster bring more originality.

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INTERIOR AND FEATURES

The first thing you’ll notice when you enter the Vitara Brezza is that it has a very comfortable driving position from where you can see the bonnet, giving it more of an SUV appeal. The dash and cabin is kept pretty straight forward with a classy appeal. Suzuki have gone with a black palette that is cut with eloquent doses of chrome & silver.Space on the inside is impressive for a sub-4 meter car. There’s a healthy amount of legroom on offer even for taller drivers. Boot space is a healthy 328 liters on paper with usable space that is better than its specification.

marutisuzukivitarabrezzanepaltestdrivereviewinterior1There is a touch screen centre console with Smartplay head-unit offers USB, AUX and Bluetooth connectivity, plus navigation and voice commands.The instrument cluster has a simple layout and is easy to navigate through. You get analogue dials for the tachometer & speedometer, outlined with mood lights – there are 5 colours to choose from (yellow, orange, red, white & blue). In the middle sits a well-sized MID that displays data including bars for the fuel-level and engine temperature, with digital readouts for the odometer, time, outside temperature, two trip meters, average + instant fuel economy and range / DTE counter. Then, you get a gear indicator with arrows to prompt upshifts or downshifts.

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All variants of the Vitara Brezza get a driver airbag as standard, and Suzuki also offers the option of a passenger airbag, ABS with EBD and pre-tensioner + force limiter seatbelts at the front via the LDi (O) and VDi (O) variants.

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PERFORMANCE

The 1.3L, DOHC, 4-cylinder diesel with a variable geometry turbo (VGT) that we’ve seen in the S-Cross, Ertiga and Ciaz is what pumps the heart of the Vitara Brezza. Now, because the Brezza does stand on the heavier side of the spectrum, Suzuki have given it a higher state of tune and thus it churns out 89 BHP @ 4,000 rpm and 200 Nm of torque @ 1,750 rpm.

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It is comfortable in the city and is happy to trudge along with the traffic at lower revs. Need a little extra push? Downshift and the Brezza is up and ready. It maintains its competence on the highway and overtaking is most effective if you keep the rev needle somewhere over the 2000rpm mark. Its 5 speed gear box is slick and you slot it into the gates with immense ease.

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Ride and handling are great as the Vitara Brezza provides a well planted experience even when confronted with road undulations. Its 198 mm of ground clearance will inspire confidence on tricky roads. Stopping duties are well taken care of and the Vitara Brezza maintains composure even under hard braking.

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VERDICT

Like they say, all’s well that ends well. It seemed we had seen plenty on the compact sedan segment but turns out that Suzuki still had something to say. While it isn’t a funky attention seeker, the Vitara Brezza is a well built machine. Furthermore, it doesn’t look like a beefed up hatchback and carries out a very distinct SUV feel.

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It does have its work cut out considering the fact that competitors have had a good say in the segment. However, you can never underestimate Suzuki and its fan following. Rest assured, competitors in the segment might be feeling a little hot around the corners with this entry. You don’t get a petrol variant though, but the diesel churner leaves very little room for complaints. We agree it was “fashionably late” in getting here, but it is finally here and it is certainly making its presence felt.

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For specifications, variants and pricing, click here

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