2022 Maruti Suzuki Brezza first drive review: The first Maruti with a sunroof!
At the launch of a face-lifted compact SUV not too long ago, the usual bunch of slides included some interesting data: over 40 per cent of all owners buy a variant with a sunroof. That split moves up even higher when you go to the mid-SUV segment — over 60 per cent of buyers pick sunroof variants. And considering the sunroof variants are usually the most expensive in the mix, that’s a big deal. It shows how customers are willing to shell out the big bucks for features they think are important. On the other hand there’s Maruti Suzuki, with the sunroof conspicuously absent from their entire range of cars. That’s changing right now with the Maruti Suzuki Brezza that has received a comprehensive update. Fresh styling, interiors, an updated engine and a new transmission, and of course, a sunroof. Its rivals include everything in the crowded compact SUV space including the Nissan Magnite, Renault Kiger, Hyundai Venue, Kia Sonet, Mahindra XUV300, Honda WR-V, Tata Nexon, Toyota Urban Cruiser and even the Tata Punch.
2022 Maruti Suzuki Brezza styling
This isn’t the usual facelift. The updates to the Brezza visually are comprehensive and it starts with the face. There’s a new grille which is slimmer than before, new headlights with a cool DRL light signature, and double barrel LED projectors. Interesting nugget of information here that I picked up from CV Raman, CTO at Maruti Suzuki: the 2016 Brezza had the narrowest halogen projectors Maruti could find at the time, and now this new Brezza, has the narrowest LED projectors they could find! Below the grille you’ve got a strong chin with a generous dose of black cladding and a silver faux skid plate. From the side, the clean profile of the Brezza remains familiar. There’s more cladding that the previous car , new wheels that max out at 16s and a very cool looking rear quarter glass that hides the C-pillar and makes the Brezza look like it has a floating roof. The rear is reworked completely as well — slimmer taillamps, the Brezza lettering sitting boldly on the tailgate and more chunky cladding at the bottom.
The headlamps are now tucked under the bonnet, a conscious effort on Maruti’s part to improve perceived quality by hiding the gap that previously existed there. The panels (within the limits of the bumper) have been stretched on all four corners as well. There’s a strong character line under the grille, the corners of the front bumper have been pulled forward to make a sharp styling element, there are strong lines on the haunches over the rear wheel arches and the tailgate has been pulled back ever so slightly. Where the older Brezza had gotten soft visually, this one has plenty of definition. With so many of the older Brezzas on the road now, this one is sure to stand out amongst them.
Also, don’t you see a resemblance between the Brezza and the Hyryder? What I’m going to say next is just a wild guess, but here’s what I think — the Brezza and Maruti Suzuki’s version of the Hyryder will have some sort of family resemblance. Or maybe I’m just going to have to eat my words — we’ll have to wait and see!
2022 Maruti Suzuki Brezza interiors and features
The new cabin architecture swaps out the aging dash of the older Brezza for a thoroughly modern interior. Plenty of changes here — first off, the steering wheel. It’s a new design but what I liked most about it is the fact that it is adjustable for both rake and reach. That put me in a seating position that is far more comfortable than I have ever been in a Brezza. There’s a new instrument cluster which is easy to read, and brimming with information. Behind that is a head-up display — identical to the unit in the Baleno.
Look left and you have a 9-inch unit riding out of the dash. It gets the usual business of (wired) Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, connected car features and voice commands. Below that are refreshed AC controls and a wireless phone charger, and there’s also a 360-degree camera in there. Oh, and that sunroof. What I didn’t like is you’ve got to make do with a Type A USB charger up front, and ventilated seats would have been a nice addition.
In the backseat, space is adequate with just about enough knee room but plenty of headroom. The rear is a comfortable place to be with rear AC vents, reasonable amount of storage areas and two USB slots, one of which is a type C.
2022 Maruti Suzuki Brezza engine, transmission and performance
The Brezza gets the new K15C engine, replacing the K15B that was on the previous Brezza. The updates are mainly that it gets Dualjet, with a higher compression ratio and a cooled ECR. The whole idea was to improve combustion and increase fuel efficiency — which has had an 18 per cent bump in its ARAI figures. The updates have also caused a small drop in power — some 2bhp and 1Nm — but that’s not really caused much of a difference to performance.
Get the engine started and what you will notice is the incredible refinement. Get moving and at low revs, that remains a standout part of the Brezza’s experience. Maruti has worked hard at improving NVH — the engine now gets a pendulum mounting (earlier was a 3-point mounting) and added a resonator box too. That said, the engine is still very audible if you push it beyond 4000rpm.
In terms of performance, it would be what I call adequate. The engine makes 101bhp and 137Nm, and it is a nat-asp 1.5 unit, while weight has increased by 40-70kg depending on the variant. The result is typical nat-asp characteristics — it revs freely and you need to use those revs to get it moving. The meat of the power is above 3000rpm and bursts of acceleration, for example overtakes on the highway, require you to push well past that. The issue with that is that the engine gets loud at higher revs and gives you the impression of being strained. It is far happier being driven around in a relaxed manner, than being pushed. The engine is tractable and doesn’t mind sitting in a higher gear while around town or just cruising.
I’m not going to spend too much time talking about the manual, though it’s worth mentioning that it is the one for spirited driving. The shift action is very satisfying, but beyond that the engine feels a little sprightlier than on the automatic. Now coming to the automatic, which is a big talking point. This 6-speed unit replaces the older 4-speeder and the fact that there are more ratios means the gaps between the ratios are far smaller. Its responses are adequately quick for the relaxed driving I was talking about earlier. It is set up for efficiency so you do find it sitting in the highest possible gear, and then dropping down a few gears when you ask for more speed. It’s not DCT quick with its kick downs, but its fast enough to not get on your nerves. A nice addition is the paddle shifters that give you manual control and the responses are adequately quick here as well. There’s also a manual mode which hands you complete control through the paddles.
2022 Maruti Suzuki Brezza ride and handling
The Brezza has always been a nice car to drive and that continues to be a highlight of the car. Changes to the Tect platform include increasing the content of high tensile steel by 18 per cent, again to improve NVH and ride comfort. Ride comfort is genuinely good — over bad roads, it absorbs roads well. It may not feel as indestructible as the Nexon, but it’s nearly there. There isn’t much noise which permeates in to the cabin when you go over bumps, and it lends it a feeling of solidity. What is really impressive is how settled and planted it is on the highway. The overly-light Marutis can feel floaty and light but not the Brezza — it feels hunkered down and you can comfortably cruise at triple digit speeds. The steering is another highlight. It’s well weighted — light enough to be maneuverable in the city, but not so light that you’re wondering what the front end is up to in corners or on the highway.
We didn’t have too many corners on our test route but the Brezza has never been fazed by a twisty section of road. There’s an inherent balance in the chassis — one that translates to very predictable dynamics. The suspension isn’t set up overly soft so it deals with our corners with a certain degree of finesse. The combination of the sorted steering and chassis mean you can have some fun in this car, but then again, make sure you’re doing so in the manual. It will just be a little more gratifying.
2022 Maruti Suzuki Brezza price and verdict
The prices of the Brezza start at 8 lakh and go up to 13.9 lakh for this top-end AT variant that we had on test. Expensive, but no tax breaks, remember? Despite not having an extensive features list, it was doing 10-12,000 units every month, month after month, in one of the most hotly contested segments in the country. The updates here are significant — they plug the biggest chink in the Brezza’s armour: the features list, and that feeling of modernity. The updated interior with all its fancy tricks will make the Brezza appeal to a whole new section of buyers, one that were drawn to the tech-laden Venues and Sonets. Couple that with the fundamentals that already make the Brezza such a hot seller — the sorted dynamics, a refined engine and Maruti’s brilliant after sales experience — and Maruti Suzuki has a winner on its hands. Can I make a joke I’ve been wanting to make from the start? Sales are going to go through the… sunroof!