Maruti Suzuki Kizashi : First Drive
MSIL has stepped into the big league with the all new Kizashi sedan. This car promises to hold the key to expanding MSIL's portfolio and brand name into a more evolved car manufacturer. Finding out if the Kizashi lives up to being the game changer that it is designed to be is Vikram Gour
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MSIL has the distinction of being India’s largest car manufacturer and a company that has managed to hold a distinct 50 percent market share despite the advent of just about every global player on Indian soil. No doubt, this is mainly due to the fact that MSIL dominates in the small car segment where growth is the highest and so are sales figures; however the company has boldly decided to step on the turf of the entry level luxury segment with the Kizashi sedan. Coming in as a CBU, the Kizashi is set to take on established brands such as the VW Jetta, Honda Accord and Skoda Laura.
While MSIL does not face the problem of brand recognition, it has another to tackle with in terms of brand association. MSIL is associated with small cars, and now entering the big league means a serious jump into a space unknown to the company. Having said that, the company is leaving no stone unturned in order to make the Kizashi the game changer that it was conceived to be.
The entry level luxury segment is a demanding segment for customers are constantly on the lookout for a vehicle that offers space, comfort, performance and utility combined with the elements of status, looks and a definite ego massage. Addressing all of these points is a difficult task in its own right; however the Kizashi does hold the potential to realize all the needs and wants. In the looks department, the Kizashi definitely scores well. The neat lines work their magic to give the car a nice wide sporty stance and the rear brings the entire package together amazingly well. While the front sports a large grille with a honeycomb mesh done up in a gun metal finish, the rear houses a neat inbuilt spoiler on the trunk lid and very neat triangle shaped dual exhaust holes.
These design elements add a very stylish flair to the vehicle and in a way make it appealing to both the conservative customer as well as the thrill seeking enthusiast. Complementing the entire exterior design package are the 17 inch alloy rims shod with 215/55 R17 rubber that add the final touch to a car built for the classes but with appeal to the masses.
The interiors hold a similar story in terms of being fresh, top notch in terms of quality and boasting on neat little touches that work well for a car of this segment. The dual tone dashboard is well crafted, neat and boasts of great material, however we would have liked the texture to be a little more refined. The door trims in leather with dashes of chrome on the inner handles looks great and the quality of the plastics are definitely leagues ahead of anything we have seen on a Maruti Suzuki car before. Aspects that shine through on the interiors are the fine finish to the seats in leather, the well crafted center console that is simplistic but very neat and of course the sheer amount of space.
The Kizashi is a well-packaged vehicle and the company has worked hard to ensure maximum passenger comfort. Incidentally the rear leg room is one of the best I have witnessed in recent times. The Kizashi totally pipes the Skoda Laura on rear bench space and is most probably at par with the Honda Accord on this account. With great fit and finish as well as neatly appointed interiors the Kizashi is surely up to the mark on these accounts.
In terms of equipment, the Kizashi is offered as a fully loaded sedan, there are no variants to speak of. It comes with a neat in-car entertainment system, quality speakers, automatic climate control that is split for the front passenger and driver and it has rear air conditioning vents as well. The Kizashi, being an import however does have its stalks for the lights and window wipers set up in the European fashion, which for most Indians means that when you reach to turn on your headlights, you will inadvertently turn on the wipers. It takes some getting used to and for those who drive cars such as the Skoda Laura, will actually be used to this. Nevertheless, we would have liked an Indian stalk set up. Other features include rain sensors so the wipers come on automatically when it rains, electronically adjustable driver and passenger seats with three programmable positions, as well as steering mounted controls for the stereo. The CVT version also features steering mounted paddle shifts in addition to the other controls. The steering wheel is adjustable for height and rake however this is manually done. Again, one will be hard pressed to find a feature missing on this segment of car and MSIL has ensured that the Kizashi comes packed to the hilt.
SLIDESHOW: Maruti Suzuki Kizashi
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