4,000 sold cars later, the Ciaz lives up to frugal fuel promise
Despite being an unassuming Japanese brand, Suzuki has managed to conquer a certain kind of Filipino car owner: the practical motorist whose number one priority is fuel economy and ease of maintenance costs.
But this practical motorist knows that such a car doesn’t have to come in the size of shoeboxes like the Alto, Celerio, or even the Swift. Cost efficiency plus bigger body sizes can be achievable, as what the Ciaz has proven.
The Suzuki Ciaz was officially launched in the Philippines in April 2016. That was when Suzuki joined the hotly contested subcompact sedan market dominated by Toyota Vios, Honda City, Ford Fiesta, and Nissan Almera.
It immediately made a splash, with the Suzuki Ciaz GL 1.4 manual transmission awarded the Best Subcompact Car of the Year by the Car Awards Group Inc.
The Thailand-manufactured Ciaz already counts more than 4,000 owners in the Philippines, and comes in three model variants: the GL 1.4L M/T (P748,000), GL 1.4L A/T (P785,000), and the premium GLX 1.4L AT (P898,000).
Admittedly, the Ciaz isn’t the most head-turning sedan out there. It’s subdued styling makes it “blend in” with a sea of cars.
The interior, though, offers pleasant surprises. There are three adjustments for the driver’s seat (proximity to the steering wheel, reclining, and seat height adjustment).
And despite its classification as a sub-compact, the Ciaz has space that looks more suited for a compact sedan.
For its performance, the Ciaz gets good grades. The acceleration is smooth and offers sufficient power, and there’s that impression that the vehicle gives the driver total control.
Everything fits, to put things in a nutshell. The fuel efficiency rating of the Ciaz, according to the official Department of Energy test runs, is at an impressive 27.9 km per liter.
In more realistic terms (with daytime traffic in the city), the Ciaz still sips admirably between 15 and 22 km/liter.
Some Ciaz owners who were members of various Ciaz clubs in the country gave their views.
Glenn Rasco, owner of a Ciaz AT GL Series variant for two months now, said he also considered the Toyota Vios and the Mitsubishi Mirage before settling on the Ciaz.
Why? He said, “Ciaz belongs to the compact category due to its bigger size and fuel economy. My third-generation Vios manual gives me only 14 km per liter on the highway, while my Ciaz gets more than 14 km.”
The Ciaz has an overdrive button by the side of the gear shifter, which when used delays the shifting of each gear when on “D” mode, thus, making the engine rev higher to produce more power. According to experts at Suzuki Philippines, this is useful when driving uphill.
Ciaz Club member Arellano Ramiscal also explains that the overdrive button “converts the four-speed transmission into a three-speed, and is mainly used for long drives. But the downside of that would be it would burn more gasoline.”
Verdict: It would be worth your while to also consider this unassuming sub-compact in a compact body.
Suzuki is one of those rare few that have mastered the art and science of building a “big little” car that can go a long way.