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Review: Maruti Suzuki SX4 ZDi

Driven June 2013

Review: Maruti Suzuki SX4 ZDi

India’s homegrown small-car specialist, Maruti Suzuki, hasn’t had the best of runs with selling big cars. And the most recent evidence has been the SX4, another Maruti car that didn’t get due credit, largely owing to stiff competition from more modern rivals. But Maruti isn’t giving up on its sedan just yet. While the next-gen SX4 revealed internationally is still far from reaching India, what the Indian carmaker has in store for us is a refreshed SX4 with some cosmetic updates.

It starts with a prominent new chrome grille and an updated front bumper, giving the 2013 SX4 a sharper look. The outside rear-view mirrors are electrically foldable and come with integrated turn indicators. In profile, this facelift looks the same as the older car and the rear styling also remains unchanged.

There is an equally modest change inside, where the new dual-tone black-and-beige palette gives the cabin a fresh feel. Fit and finish is impressive, with splashes of faux wood and chrome further highlighting the colour facelift. Also new on the top-end ZXi and ZDi variants is the fully integrated touchscreen audio system with AUX-in and USB connectivity, and satnav is an optional feature.

The front seats are extremely supportive and comfortable, and the elevated position gives you a better outside view. However, the ‘A’ pillar creates a huge blind spot, which can be annoying at times. Although the rear seats are quite comfortable, rear legroom feels on the shorter side.

There are no major mechanical changes on the new SX4 and it continues to be powered by the 1.3-litre DDiS diesel and 1.6-litre VVT petrol engines. We drove the diesel and it was quite a reminder of why the SX4 deserves more than what the sales numbers suggest. It runs on our nation’s most beloved engine, the 1248cc Fiat-sourced MultiJet, which is good for 89bhp and 200Nm.

Start the motor and you’ll be surprised how remarkably quiet the SX4 diesel is at idle. Coupled to a five-speed manual gearbox, the car kicks off in a brilliant manner and the motor loves being revved hard to its redline just past 5000rpm, which is commendable for a diesel motor.

You hardly feel any turbo lag at lower RPM and the motor responds well to part-throttle input. The spot-on gearing makes the SX4 a well-sorted sedan both in the city and out on the highway. The ride is on the softer side, which means it absorbs most road irregularities easily – you can glide over rough patches without bothering to slow down. However, on the rear seat, it’s on the bumpier side and there’s a hint of body roll while going around corners. But that doesn’t take away much from the overall dynamics of the car.

With the help of some minor tuning, Maruti claims its SX4 is now greener than before, with the diesel returning 21.79kpl and the petrol 16.51. Maruti hasn’t really changed the prices for the reworked models, and the top-end ZDI variant with dual airbags, ABS, climate control, steering-mounted audio controls and alloy wheels retails at Rs 10.36 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai).

The SX4 diesel feels excellent in this state of tune and the cabin offers good overall comfort and space. Yes, its resale value isn’t great, but if you want a big, hassle-free commuter that’s cheap to run, then the SX4 is a good buy.

The numbers
4cyl, 1248cc, turbo-diesel, 89bhp, 200Nm, 5M, 21.79kpl (claimed), 165kph (claimed), Rs 10.36 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)

The verdict
The SX4 is a proven product and this gentle facelift gives it a little more to brag about. If you want a hassle-free, efficient sedan with excellent after-sales, this is a great buy.

Devesh Shobha

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