The difference a roof colour makes! We’ve seen them on Minis before and a few premium manufacturers have tried it but, in India, the concept is still unique, till Minis become affordable (they never will). You can’t just paint a white roof or a chequered flag on the roof of every car and hope it’ll sell. This flat rectangular shape works best for the floating roof treatments and it’s a smart move by Maruti, the Indian design team in particular, to give the Brezza its contrast roof. It’s the talking point of the Brezza since it has arrived as it gets noticed easily and gives it a lot of character.
I’ve driven the Brezza in the city in its first month, the only outing being a drive to Lavasa for our V8 SUV shoot. And I’m pleasantly surprised by its surefootedness on those winding roads. Sure there’s a bit of roll, it sits 198mm above the ground, but the suspension is tuned so well that you can have fun without coming home with a sore back. It’s not setup soft so you don’t get a very cushy ride at slow speeds (a bold approach for Maruti for the mass market) but the upshot is the stability on the highways. The firm ride and wide tyres give it a very planted stance; it doesn’t get upset by bumps, the ride improves considerably with speed and you tire a lot less behind the wheel, even if the speeds are high.
To get your pace up, you need to work through the gears a fair bit as the 1.3-litre diesel in the Brezza feels underpowered due to the increased weight over the Baleno. The turbo however gives a fair bit of kick when it spools, so if you stomp on the gas in first and second gear, prepare for some torque steer and wheel spin. If you will use it predominantly as a city car to all the other premium hatchbacks round, the diesel unit is good enough but it feels a bit stressed on the highway, especially because its road manners are so good.
The small capacity means you are working it a lot harder and that impacts efficiency. The best I got in town was 13kmpl, which isn’t great considering the ARAI claimed figure is 24.3kmpl. It’s not much of a concern for me though as a full tank lasts over two weeks. The AC works well even in the 40-degree summer heat and the touchscreen system seems to be more responsive than the one I’ve experienced in the Ciaz.
Overall, it is a well-rounded SUV with little to fault and much to praise. No wonder Ford took that drastic step of slashing the EcoSport’s prices at the launch of the Brezza.
Date acquired: April 2016
Duration of test: 1 month
Total mileage: 1,882km
Mileage this month: 952km
Overall kmpl: 13.1kmpl
Costs this month Nil