Low-Cost ‘Eco-car’ sedan also offers good design, plenty of cabin space and better ride than expected
Suzuki has been highly successful in the Thai automobile market thanks to the popularity of small and fuel-efficient cars among the nation’s motorists.
The Thai government’s Eco Car projects have also helped boost the small-car market, with major players making huge investments to produce city cars and selling them with super-low excise tax. Suzuki was among the first companies to sign up, with production of the Swift subcompact hatchback.
While the Swift is also the company’s most popular model, there are also other models from its eco car project, including the Celerio (also a 5-door hatchback) and the Ciaz sedan featured today.
The Ciaz has been in the market for several years, and gets regular improvements. For example the current model now comes with new projector headlights as well air-conditioning vents for the rear passengers, offering a higher level of comfort.
Although it is classified as an “eco car”, the Ciaz is pretty large. The Ciaz RS, priced at Bt675,000 (Bt50,000 higher than the GLX trim), comes with sporty exterior upgrades including skirts and spoilers, plus upsized 16-inch alloy wheels with sporty 195/55 tires, which looks great. However it may seem a little ironic that the 1,000-kilogram car is powered by a 1.25-litre engine (due to the eco car requirement) rather than a 1.5-litre engine like the Toyota Vios or Honda City.
The 4-cylinder engine taken from the Swift is capable of producing 91 horsepower and 118Nm, which is mated to a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission).
Weighing in at almost 1,000kgs, the Ciaz seems too heavy for its engine and doesn’t accelerate very well, a common eco-car symptom. The good part is that the powertrain is highly economical, and the Ciaz does promise a 20km/litre fuel economy.
The suspension offers higher comfort than the Swift, which allows the Ciaz to cruise comfortably on the highways. The 2,650mm wheelbase and 1,500mm track also provides for plenty of cabin space that also welcomes tall passengers thanks to decent headroom.
The brakes are front disc and rear drums, with ABS and Brake Assist, while in the cabin there are dual front airbags.
The interior features black and silver styling, with a multi-function 3-spoke steering wheel and a 7-inch touchscreen offering the Suzuki Smart Connect infotainment system with GPS navigation and Apple CarPlay.
In addition to the rear air vents, there is also an additional 12V socket for rear passengers (which should actually be upgraded to USB ports) and a total of 8 cupholders spread around the cabin. And apart from the large interior space, the trunk is capable of storing 565 litres.
After driving the CIAZ for a few days, I related to it as a 1.5-litre sedan that had gone through engine downsizing for fuel economy and emission purposes.
But while performance may not be the selling point, the Ciaz RS has many other things to offer, particularly great design and plenty of cabin space, comfortable suspension setup and good connectivity. Last but not least, its Bt675,000 price tag is pretty friendly too.
Suzuki Ciaz RS specs
Engine: 4-cylinder DOHC 16-valve
Bore and stroke: 73.0x74.2mm
Compression ratio: 11.0:1
Max power: 91hp/6,000rpm
Max torque: 118Nm/4,800rpm
Ratios: 4.006-1.001 (low), 2.200-0.550 (high)
Fuel economy: 20km/litre
Suspension (f/r): McPherson strut, coil springs/torsion beam, coil springs
Steering: powered rack-and-pinion
Turning circle: 10.8 metres
Brakes (f/r): vented discs/drums
Track (f/r): 1,495/1,505
Wheels: 16-inch alloys
Tyres: 195/55 R16
Fuel tank capacity: 42 litres
Distributor: Suzuki Motor Thailand