Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza Vs Ford EcoSport: Comparison Review

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  • April 29, 2016
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Maruti Suzuki’s Vitara Brezza is the latest sub-four metre crossover SUV to enter the Indian market and has created quite a stir. But how does it stack up against the previous bestseller, the EcoSport which has since been updated? Read on to find out

 

EcoSport vs Brezza main

Ever since the Indian government announced tax concessions on cars measuring less than four metres, the Indian market has been flooded with cars of all shapes and sizes, from hatchbacks to sedans to crossovers. The only common factor being that they all measure under four metres. The latest one to join the brigade is the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza. Maruti hopes to gatecrash the crossover party and take it over with its new funky looking crossover but standing in its way is the most popular Crossover so far, the Ford EcoSport. The EcoSport is still a great car and has received quite a few upgrades seriously increasing its appeal. So the fight for the Brezza will not be an easy one. 

Design 

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza: 4/5

Ford EcoSport: 3.5/5

To be fair, the EcoSport isn’t exactly a new car and considering the slew of crossover launches since the EcoSport came along makes it seem older than it actually is. But in no way does it look dated. It still maintains its confident stance complete with muscular lines with the spare tyre mounted on the tailgate in true SUV fashion. Though there are a few alterations to the design in the form of new DRLs which look good and the tail gate button has been moved under the boot handle. The Brezza on the other hand too sports a funky design. If anything it does looks better proportioned and more youthful than the EcoSport. Though the shoulder lines (yes there are more than one) do look a tad busy. Both cars make do with halogen lamps but the Brezza features projector lamps. In addition, the two-tone paintjob on the Brezza does add to its appeal. 

 

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza rear

Interiors and space 

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza: 3.5/5

Ford EcoSport: 4/5

Both cars go with the safest option when it comes interior trim, black. Everything is bathed in the light absorbing hue, well almost. The Brezza features piano black finish on the dashboard and around the aircon vents and some brushed aluminium finish on the glove compartment. But spend enough time in the interior and most of the cost cutting measures become apparent. The plastic quality could’ve been better, the interior door panel for example feels hollow same is the case with the roof lining. The instrument panel features mood lighting and displays all the information you might require while driving. The Brezza also comes with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and is the same unit that does duty on the Baleno, S-Cross and the Ciaz. The seats though are comfortable and envelope you rather well. There is no dearth of wing, back or thigh support, the rear however is a different story. The rear bench can feel a bit cramped if your driver is over six feet tall, headroom though is a plenty. The material too is a tad too firm and seating three could be an issue. Boot space at 328 litres is ample and the Brezza also features 60:40 split folding seats. But to access the entire rear of the car with regards to luggage, the squabs need to be lifted separately but folding the seats therein results in an almost flat loading bay. 

 

EcoSport rear seat

The EcoSport’s black interior too features brushed aluminium finishes. The SYNC system is in place and no longer goes blank in bright sunshine. The plastic quality though is still not up to the mark. But that is a small price to pay for what you get in return. The dash is the same as before with the cool blue backlight which is quite appealing. The clocks still smart and far from dated. The interior feels well-built and sturdy. The seats are quite comfortable and the driver seat also comes with lumbar adjustment (manual of course). The rear bench is quite comfortable though seating three here too proves to be an issue though the rear bench can now be split 60:40. The EcoSport is not only longer in length but features a longer wheelbase as well which translates to more kneeroom in the rear and has also enabled Ford to install longer squabs on the rear bench facilitating better thigh support compared to the Brezza. In addition they also come with a four stage recline adjustment something that is quite rare in this segment. To increase loading capacity the split seats can be completely folded against the front seats revealing a rather large loading bay measuring 705 litres. 

 

EcoSport centre console

Ergonomics 

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza: 4/5

Ford EcoSport: 3.5/5

There’s rarely been a case where Maruti Suzuki hasn’t got the ergonomics of their cars spot on but the Brezza seems to be the lone exception. Though the ingress and egress from the vehicle is easy and most control surfaces fall to hand easily and most of them are biased towards the driver. The driver side and the middle armrest aren’t adequately padded. There is no auto up button on the driver side window and the controls for the climate control can be a tad hard to reach, especially on the move. The steering too is only adjustable for rake.

The EcoSport however has no such problems at least as far as driving ergonomics are concerned. All control surfaces are within reach and operate with a certain refinement. The steering too is adjustable for both rake and reach and even the driver side door armrest comes with its own padding which makes for rather comfortable driving. But forget about keeping your can of Red Bull in the cup holders in the centre console for the armrest completely covers the holders and getting your can out with the arm rest down is easier said than done. The bottle holder in the centre console too is placed right under the armrest hinge thus rendering it useless unless you can drive with seat moved all the way to the front. 

 

Vitara Brezza Cabin

Features and Equipment 

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza: 3/5

Ford EcoSport: 4/5

In terms of features and equipment the playing field is more or less leveled. The Maruti offers a long list of comfort equipment like Apple CarPlay integrated into the 7-inch touch screen infotainment system compared to which the Ford’s SYNC system feels rather old school. But on the move, once you get used to it you can operate the Ford’s system by touch-feel alone whereas on the Maruti you do need to break you gaze away from the road.

 

Ford EcoSport Cabin

Both cars offer keyless entry and button start/stop function but the Brezza comes with a reversing camera and rear parking sensors whereas the EcoSport has to make do with rear parking sensors only.However, the EcoSport comes with two front airbags, two side airbags, one each for the driver and passenger and curtain airbags on either side which brings the total to six. In addition, the SYNC emergency system is a boon when it comes to emergency assistance. The brezza on the other hand makes do with just two front airbags. So despite a relatively level playing field, in terms of safety equipment, the EcoSport comes out on top. 

 

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza Engine

 

Engine and gearbox 

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza: 4/5

Ford EcoSport: 4/5

The Brezza is powered by the engine that powers most of the Maruti fleet, the Fiat derived 1.3-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged diesel unit. In the Brezza it makes 90PS of max power and 200Nm of peak torque. Though according to the spec sheet it makes its peak torque at 1,750rpm but in reality the torque kicks in closer to 2,000rpm. The VGT eliminates turbo lag to a great degree but there’s virtually no torque under 2,000rpm. The engine feels smooth on the move but is quite noisy. The NVH package leaves more to be desired as there is a lot of engine noise that seeps into the cabin and past the 2,500rpm mark it can only be drowned out by loud-volume music. The gearbox though is quite nice it doesn’t feel notchy and has precise shifts with relatively short throws. 

 

Ford EcoSport engine bay

The EcoSport on the other hand comes equipped with a 1.5-litre turbocharged diesel unit making 10PS more than the Brezza and 205Nm of peak torque. The torque is well distributed over the rev range and the Ford can even take off from standstill in second gear without much fuss. The engine isn’t as refined as the Maruti in terms of operation but is a lot quieter. That coupled with a good NVH package translates to minimum in cabin engine clatter. The gearbox too is precise and feels good. The ratios are comparatively taller compared to the Brezza. For city driving you can leave it in third and forget about it unless you’re negotiating a bottleneck situation. 

 

Vitara Brezza cabin

Ride and Ease of Driving 

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza: 3.5/5

Ford EcoSport: 4/5

The Brezza features comfortable seats and a good balance between stiff and soft setup up front. At slow speeds it is absorbent enough without wallowing about and even at higher speeds it can hold its own on bumps and undulations without being jarring. The rear setup though is on the stiffer side which does make for a pliant ride when the car is fully loaded and it seems the Brezza has been designed to run better with full capacity. But with only the driver at the helm the rear tends to feel a tad too stiff and also tends to skip on tighter turns especially if speed breakers are involved. The steering is adjustable but for rake only which makes finding the perfect driving position a tad difficult despite the height adjustable seat. But apart from that the Brezza is a great car for both the city and the highway. The visibility is quite good.

 

Ford EcoSport ride

The EcoSport on the other hand comes with a telescopic/tilt steering which makes finding that perfect driving position that much easier.  The A-pillar though obstructs front visibility. The suspension has a balanced setup and the EcoSport rarely ever feels out of shape. The front and rear both absorb undulations rather well though the larger ones do tend to make themselves felt. With the car fully loaded the suspension does show some signs of strain but the ride remains almost unaltered. Though it does feel less confident than the Brezza at maximum capacity. 

 

Vitara Brezza rear

Handling and Braking 

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza: 4/5

Ford EcoSport: 4/5

The Brezza is clearly marketed towards the enthusiast and it is an eager little car. Despite its raised height and SUV-esque dimensions the Brezza feels more or less like a car. The steering is light which makes it quite flickable in traffic but remains so when speeds start to climb which makes it a bit nervous at high speeds. The good visibility helps matters in negotiating tighter spaces and the suspension too copes well with spirited driving, unless you really start pushing the car hard for the rear suspension feel a tad stiffer than the front and that does tend to offset the car in high speed corners. But having said that tackling twisties shouldn’t be a problem just make sure the rear is loaded as an added measure. Braking is progressive and is taken care of via a disc setup up front which provide plenty of stopping power and ABS along with EBD ensure that the car always stays true during heavy braking. 

 

EcoSport front

Driving dynamics have always been Ford’s forte but the old EcoSport wasn’t so. This one however lives up to the Ford bagde perfectly. The steering feels light and maneuverable in the city and weighs up nicely as you begin to go faster. Though there is a bit of vibration in the steering at higher speeds but there is adequate feedback as well. Suspension setup is very well balanced and the Ford rarely feels out of shape no matter how hard you push the car. It is nimble and agile in traffic and stays true to its line in the corners. The engine revs freely and there is no dearth of torque across the rev range. Body roll too is less but don’t expect Fiesta levels of rigidity. The brakes provide plenty of feel but work better when going faster than at low speeds as they tend to latch on at lower speeds but are progressive if you’re going faster. 

 

EcoSport vs Vitara Brezza

Price and efficiency 

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza: 4/5

Ford EcoSport: 4/5

Fuel efficiency has always been Maruti’s strong point and the Brezza is no different. It claims a fuel efficiency of 24.3kmpl whereas the claimed figure of the EcoSport stands at 22.7kmpl. In the real world though the Brezza tends to be more efficient in the city thanks to its relatively smaller engine but the EcoSport is in its element on the highways. Its bigger engine and higher torque rating helps it maintain higher speeds at lower revs. But having said that the Brezza is nearly equally efficient on the highway as well if not more. The cars we had here were the Brezza Zdi+ dual tone which costs Rs 11.7 lakh on-road Delhi whereas the EcoSport Titanium+ is priced at Rs 11.37 lakh. 

Verdict:

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza: 3.5/5

Ford EcoSport: 4.5/5

Both cars are equally matched, have similar credentials but still are quite different from each other. Where the Brezza goes for a more youthful design and appeal, the EcoSport has stuck to its guns of being a compact yet utilitarian vehicle. And where Brezza offers more convenience features, the Ford is inclined more towards safety (two airbags vs six on the Ford) In addition, a combination of driving dynamics coupled with features like the SYNC system with emergency assistance, six airbags, more space, reclining rear bench, foldable seats and affordability make the EcoSport a tough to beat package. Ford is also completely revamping its after sales service which helps the EcoSport make a strong case for itself even stronger than the Brezza.

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