Maruti Ciaz vs Honda City Diesel Comparison Review

Can the Maruti Ciaz better the best in the C-segment? Read on to find out



Maruti Ciaz vs Honda City Diesel comparison review




Small cars have been the core of the automotive industry in India for the better part of the past two decades. But times are changing from entry level hatchbacks to now premium ones that govern the largest chunk of sales here. This shift will go on to C-segment sedans in the next few years when cars like the Honda City, Maruti Ciaz, Hyundai Verna and the likes will become the largest volume sellers for their respective companies. So what makes the perfect representation of a C-segment car then? Something all or most three box cars around the Rs 10 lakh range will be modeled on? The two cars we have here come real close to this point and so we find out which one does it best.


Exterior design and styling

A lot has been said over the styling of the two cars in the past few months and by now you would have drawn your own conclusions on the smarter car of the two. The City sports sharper lines to look more modern than its predecessor while the Ciaz chooses a new approach to distance itself from the SX4. There’s a bit more flair in the Ciaz on the outside and that makes it look more attractive to my eyes. The smart headlamps with projectors and larger 16 inch alloy wheels with their multi-spoke design work better than the smaller 15 inchers on the City as well. 



Maruti Ciaz vs Honda City diesel comparison rear static




Move towards the rear and you’d need to locate the badge to distinguish between the two. The taillamps almost seem to be penned by the same designer! Both get well proportioned rear ends though with a large rear windscreen making maximum space for its occupants and a deep boot with adequate opening. Once you get into the details, there’s little to tell these cars apart, be it frames or hinges or plastics, levels of quality are around the same mark. Low kerb weights go down to thinner plastics among other things and they are more evident on the Honda with a lot more flattish panels around the bumpers. These cars are designed to be affordable to maintain and fix, something Honda and Maruti will be banking on for the high customer recalls they seek.


The Maruti Ciaz and Honda City are aspirational cars in the Indian context, but it is nice to see this generation of sedans blend in affordability neatly into them. It’s one of the reasons they sell a lot more than cars were ever sold in this segment. 


Maruti Ciaz: Rating_4.0_rating 

Honda City: Rating_3.5_rating



Ciaz vs City interior




Interior and Space

Maruti sent us the ZDi variant with options pack for the test, which essentially is the fully loaded Ciaz but without the Smartplay touchscreen entertainment system. We experienced it with the petrol Ciaz and found it to be a bit slow at times, especially when it doubled up as the reverse camera screen. So what you get with quite a few thousands saved up in your bank is the best variant you can pick in the Ciaz portfolio. Also, without the smartplay system, the Ciaz is a whole Rs 1.31 lakh cheaper than the City and that counts for a lot. 


The Ciaz looks the more affordable car though on the inside. The flair in the exterior doesn’t filter into its interiors and everything feels a small cut above the Swift and close to the Ertiga. The packaging Honda manages with its cars is truly a study for other manufacturers to follow. While the Ciaz is the marginally longer and wider car with a longer wheelbase, The City feels more spacious on the inside. The seats in the Honda too are supremely comfortable with a slight sink-in to give that air of luxury. Both cars have excellent legroom for rear passengers and can well be the chauffer driven cars of choice for most families. 



Ciaz vs City Interior space




While the Ciaz may not look and feel as premium as the Honda City, it’s not a night and day difference. Once you factor in the price for the two cars, you aren’t losing out too much on the Ciaz and that brings us to our next segment on equipment…


Maruti Ciaz: Rating_4.0_rating

Honda City: Rating_4.5_rating



Ciaz vs City features




Features and equipment

As we have mentioned, the Ciaz in ZDi trim doesn’t get the touchscreen entertainment system and quite frankly, you will not miss it. Every other feature is top of the line be it climate control, leather seats, push button stop/start, steering mounted audio and phone controls, height adjustable driver’s seat, reverse parking camera or rear air conditioning vents. The Ciaz also gets sun blinds for the rear windscreen, and ABS and two airbags on the safety front. You will get all this in the City as well sans the sunblinds, but instead you get a sun roof, which is nice on a sunny winter morning. The City also gets cruise control, which could be useful on a handful of roads across the country. Honda could have provided parking sensors as well to complement the reverse parking camera but that can be had as a dealer fitment if you want. For the features the Ciaz offers at its price, it is a much better value proposition.


Maruti Ciaz: Rating_4.0_rating

Honda City: Rating_4.0_rating



Maruti Ciaz cornering




Ride, handling and ease of driving

Driving around town in either of these cars, you will be impressed by how well they soak in undulations when they aren’t hurried. Low speed ride in both cars are spot on. The driver’s seat in the Honda City is far more centred to give that sense of space in the cabin and that means you are marginally further from the extremities of the car. It requires a bit more getting used to as a result to drive around in a congested city. There’s no such issue in the Ciaz. View out of the driver’s seat is also a tad better. Once you get going, there’s a bit more weight in the Ciaz steering at low speeds due to the wider and larger tyres (195/R16s to 175/R15s in the City). But once speeds build up, the Honda feels more confident. 


You show it a couple of corners and the City feels that bit more agile until you begin to push it. Here’s where wider stickier rubber would have made the difference. You tend to lose grip a lot sooner than you’d like and that doesn’t inspire much confidence through tighter sections of road. Here the Ciaz does better and complemented by the smoother of the two engines, is a lot more fun to drive faster as a result. We’ll elaborate on that in the next section. Both cars are set up soft to get you around town in comfort. When you begin to stretch your legs a bit, the tyres make a difference. The City is a lot more nimble but the Ciaz is better planted.



Honda City cornering




Maruti Ciaz: Rating_4.0_rating 

Honda City: Rating_4.0_rating



Maruti Ciaz tracking shot




Engine and performance

There’s considerable difference between the two engines powering the Maruti Ciaz and Honda City. A 1.5-litre 100PS unit chugs the City along while the Ciaz gets the ubiquitous 1.3-litre Fiat sourced 89PS diesel mill. They may be about 11PS apart but on the go, the Ciaz feels as sprightlier if not a bit more than the City. That’s mainly because the City comes with a six speed gearbox to the Ciaz’ five and with a narrower powerband. You tend to work the gears a lot more in the City as a result. It helps that the City has a better, crisper shifter with a relatively lighter clutch.



Honda City tracking shot




The Ciaz is best driven in its mid-range which is quite wide. Anything between 1800rpm to about 4200rpm keeps the Ciaz in the thick of things. The City on the other hand delivers power early and demands an upshift around 3000rpm when the engine loses steam and begins to sound gruff. That brings us to the smoother of the two engines which is in the Ciaz. Be it better sound deadening or a more refined mill, it’s a lot more comfortable car to drive higher up the rev range. The City on the other hand feels most at ease when you short shift. 


Maruti Ciaz: Rating_3.5_rating

Honda City: Rating_3.0_rating



Maruti Ciaz in action




Price and fuel efficiency

I wouldn’t believe in ARAI efficiency figures much if I were you, especially with the claims manufacturers make with modern day cars. The Honda City in top trim returns 25.1kmpl while the Ciaz does one better with 26.21kmpl. Are these numbers achievable in the real world without holding back a long traffic trail behind you? Definitely not. What you do get is between 18-19kmpl consistently in both cars, and if that isn’t enough, you should switch to electric cars. Even when you wring the motors a fair bit, it’s hard to get efficiency down to under 16kmpl and that’s impressive!


This Honda City in top trim costs Rs 11.11 lakh ex-showroom Delhi. The Maruti Ciaz costs just Rs 9.8 lakh, a whole Rs 1.31 lakh cheaper. Early next year, the Ciaz will get its touchscreen infotainment system, which we hope is better than the one we tested. If not, you aren’t missing on much, even compared to the City. 


Maruti Ciaz: Rating_4.5_rating

Honda City: Rating_4.0_rating



Maruti Ciaz rear badge





The Honda City woos those who don’t mind splurging in a bit for a little more extravagance (read cushy seats and sunroof) while the Maruti tempts the price conscious car buyer. Neither cuts too many corners to get the perfect mix and that means you get a good engine as your workhorse, a comfortable cabin, lots and lots of features and plenty of space, be it for passengers or storage. 


The Honda badge still demands more premium in this segment over a Maruti but Rs 1.31 lakh is quite high. Had it been narrower, the City would edge past the Ciaz but as things stand, the Maruti Ciaz wins this diesel battle. 


Maruti Ciaz: Rating_4.0_rating

Honda City: Rating_3.5_rating


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