Maruti Suzuki is riding a high after two back-to-back successes under their Nexa platform. More so with the Baleno which has gone on to bag the ‘Premium Hatchback Car of the Year 2016’ award. And well, credit has to go to the people at MSIL, for they best know how to accommodate practicality and the Big Indian Expectations associated with cars, in one splendid package. Enter the Vitara Brezza, Maruti’s next big bet into the now most sought after sub-compact SUV segment. How does it fare against the segment leading Ford EcoSport and Mahindra TUV300? We find out…
Back when Ford came up with the EcoSport, it defined a new segment of cars, one that took the market by storm. The EcoSport enjoyed being the first in its segment for a couple of years until recently when Mahindra stepped in with the TUV300. While the EcoSport looks butch and modern, the TUV300 has its own appeal owing to its unique boxy and rugged stance. Maruti is definitely not going to have it easy here.
There’s a reason why these three cars are making the most noise amongst so many other SUVs out there — they’re sub-4 meter (or compact, if you like it that way). This means, for tax purposes, they fall under the definition of a small car, which further translates into meaty packages at mouth-watering price tags. The EcoSport is the longest of them all at 3999mm, followed closely by the Brezza and TUV at 3995mm. In terms of width, TUV gains points for being the widest of the three at 1835mm, with the Brezza at 1790mm and EcoSport at 1765mm. The TUV has a stance of 1839mm, while the EcoSport is 1708mm high and the Brezza stands at a mere 1640mm. Leading again in case of wheelbase is the TUV at 2680mm, EcoSport at 2520mm and Brezza at 2500mm. The EcoSport rolls high above the tarmac with a ground clearance of 200mm, with the Brezza falling short by just 2mm at 198mm in the second place and the TUV at just 184mm. Done with the figures, now let’s get you the numbers you’d be most interested in (should you be spinning the wheel yourself, that is).
The Vitara Brezza has the smallest engine in this comparison. The 1.3 litre DDiS 200 unit, borrowed from bigger brother, the S-Cross, delivers 88.5 bhp and 20.4kgm of torque. Both of the Vitara Brezza’s competitors get larger 1.5 litre engines. The newly updated EcoSport diesel delivers a handsome 98.6bhp power and 20.9kgm of torque, while the TUV300 manages with 82.4bhp of power and 23.4kgm torque. While the Vitara Brezza is available only in its Diesel avatar, with a 5 Speed Manual Transmission, you get a Petrol option with the EcoSport and an AMT version with the TUV300.
The Vitara Brezza comes with all the bells and whistles, you’d normally expect in your cars. The top spec ZDi+ variant is host to Maruti’s SmartPlay infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, climate control, cooled glovebox, cruise control, automatic headlamps, rain sensing wipers, Key-less entry and a lot more. What’s good with this Maruti is the addition of Driver Airbag in the base LDi variant, with Dual Airbags and ABS left for an optional variant. Now, that is a worthy addition and kudos to Maruti for making driver safety an agenda while delivering their product for our market.
The top of the line EcoSport Titanium+ variant is no less equipped. It has keyless entry, Ford SYNC infotainment system with AppLink, cooled glovebox, Rain sensing wipers, daytime running lights. On the safety front, you get Dual front, side and curtain airbags, though sadly, these aren’t available on the base variant Ambiente. It’s in this segment that the otherwise strong and reigning, TUV300 loses out to the competition. That’s not to say it’s less equipped. It comes with ABS, Keyless entry, Mahindra BlueSense Mobile app, and Mahindra’s gimmicky Micro Hybrid Technology. Dual Airbags is available on the ‘+’ labeled variants.
The feature list without how much it will cost doesn’t count for much, so it all comes down to how well these cars have been priced. The Vitara Brezza has been launched in six trim levels — LDi, LDi(O), VDi, VDi(O), ZDi and ZDi+, with prices starting at Rs 6.99 Lakhs, going all the way upto Rs 9.68 Lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi). Mahindra TUV300 is available in six variants — T4, T4+, T6, T6+ and T8 and the prices range from Rs 7.26 Lakhs- 8.80 Lakhs (Ex-showroom, Delhi). The Ford EcoSport is spread across five variants- Ambiente, Trend, Trend+, Titanium and Titanium+. The mere entry of Vitara into the segment forced Ford to slash the prices of the EcoSport by upto Rs 1.1Lakhs and now the 2016 Ford EcoSport Diesel ranges from Rs 7.28 lakhs to Rs 9.75 Lakhs (Ex-Showroom, Delhi).
The Mahindra TUV300 and the Ford EcoSport have, for the time being, an added advantage over the newly launched Vitara Brezza. They’ve been in the market for a while, which means that these two are available pre-owned, bringing down the price while not sacrificing on the features. This will be overturned soon when the Vitara Brezza also joins them, making the contest equal on all fronts.
Maruti’s entry into the Compact SUV segment signals the veteran manufacturers modern outlook towards the Indian market and introducing the Vitara Brezza to the market will put up a strong competition for the EcoSport and the TUV300. It ticks all the right boxes, is competitively priced and has class leading fuel efficiency figures. As is the case for all Maruti Suzuki cars, there’s going to be a voluminous crowd heading towards their showrooms.