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Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza vs Honda City vs Hyundai i20 Active: Comparison Review


Can a compact SUV like the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza be a worthy alternative to a family sedan like the Honda City or a premium crossover hatchback like the Hyundai i20 Active?

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Vitara Brezza vs City vs i20 Active

 

 

Let’s assume you are willing to spend about 10 lakh rupees on a new car. May be you got promoted, and can splurge as much or just that you’re looking to upgrade from your teeny-weeny hatchback. Thankfully, the Indian car market has grown to offer more than just a family sedan for that kind of money. You are, in fact spoilt for choices – you could, instead of that comfortable, spacious sedan go in for a snazzy looking, fully-loaded hatchback even an SUV! But can a road-biased SUV really be an alternative to a hatchback or sedan as an everyday car? To find out, I decided to pitch the newest entrant in the compact SUV segment, the all-new Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza against the Honda City, which is undoubtedly India's favourite family car and the Hyundai i20 Active which is a premium crossover hatchback and is doing well with its unique placement.

 

 

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza vs Honda City vs Hyundai i20 Active

 

 

Design:

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza: 4.5/5

Honda City: 4.5/5

Hyundai i20 Active: 4.5/5

 

The three cars in question are as different from each other as chalk and cheese. The City is a proper sedan, and looks typically Japanese with its sharp lines and edgy cues. It may be over 2 years old but the current generation City looks very appealing. Its design is difficult to not like, especially the front end with that chrome laden grille, wide headlights and angular bumper.

The crossover hatchback segment was a rage two years ago and the i20 Active is a part of that brigade. It is essentially the same as the Elite i20, but with a more muscular front end complete with a faux bash plate, different fog lamps, roof rails and higher ground clearance and a plastic cladding all round to give it the appearance of an SUV. It looks nice, and like the City, the design of the i20 Active is hard to fault with. In fact the i20 Active is the best looking crossover hatchback.

 

 

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza

 

 

The Vitara Brezza is the most SUV-like car here. Its no secret that Indians love SUVs, which is why manufacturers are now offering cars styled like SUVs at every price point. The Brezza wouldn’t really qualify as an SUV – but with its kind of design, ground clearance and tall stance it is what can be called an urban SUV. And Maruti has styled it very nicely to look like a traditional SUV with a squarish body shape unlike crossovers that get a sloping roofline. Apart from that the Vitara Brezza's sharp edges, neat looking headlights with LED DRLs, the muscular grille, skid plates at both ends and a sharp looking rear all make it very attractive to look at. You might want to think differently but I feel the Vitara Brezza is the best looker here.

 

 

Honda City interior

 

Interior and space

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza 4/5

Honda City 4.5/5

Hyundai i20 Active 4/5

 

The Honda City on paper sits a segment above the Vitara Brezza and i20 Active and the same is noticeable in terms of the interiors and space it offers. As far as the quality of plastics is concerned the City offers a more premium feel, especially when compared to the Vitara Brezza and I felt its plastics could have been of a slightly better quality. The Brezza's interiors are the same as the Baleno and S-Cross, which is a nice layout. Also, all three cars sport an all-black theme for the dashboard which looks nice.

Fit-finish levels on all three cars are excellent. The Vitara Brezza and i20 Active are both sub 4-metre in length while the City is longer and thus boasts better legroom and kneeroom, especially at the rear.

 

 

Vitara Brezza centre console

 

 

Features and equipment:

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza: 4.5/5

Honda City: 4/5

Hyundai i20 Active: 4/5

 

This is where the Maruti outshines the other two cars. The Vitara Brezza is the newest car here, and unsurprisingly, it has the best feature list too. It gets a lot of kit like a cooled glove box, sliding centre arm rest, auto headlights, rain sensing wipers, navigation and Apple CarPlay which are not available in the City and i20 Active. Features common to all three cars are keyless entry and a start button. The Vitara Brezza and City also get cruise control, something the i20 doesn’t get. To sum it up, the Vitara Brezza is the most kitted out car here.

 

 

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza Engine

 

 

Engines and performance

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza 4/5

Honda City 4/5

Hyundai i20 Active 4.5/5

 

The Brezza is only on offer with a diesel engine for now, and hence to keep things fair we’ve got the diesel engined City and i20 Active here. The City has the biggest engine which is a 1.5-litre oil burner, while the i20 Active uses a 1.4-litre engine. The Vitara Brezza has the smallest engine, which is the tried and tested 1.3-litre engine sourced from Fiat, also seen on other Maruti cars. The City is the most powerful with 100PS on offer, but admit it – 10 more horses over the Vitara Brezza and i20 Active’s 90PS isn’t a huge difference in cars tuned for efficiency, is it?

 

 

Vitara Brezza in action

 

 

The i20 Active offers 220Nm of torque, which is higher than the Vitara Brezza and City's 200Nm, and the same can be felt when accelerating. Get past 2000rpm and the Hyundai offers brisk acceleration, pulling cleanly all the way to the redline. It's engine is also the smoothest and quietest of the three, as the City feels noisier, while the Vitara Brezza's engine is the noisiest here. I like the power delivery of the Honda the most, as there's barely any turbo lag, but the party ends at just 4000rpm. The Vitara Brezza offers nifty performance as well, as the 1.3-litre Diesel engine is in the same state of tune here as the S-Cross, but there were times when I was left wanting for some more power. That said, the Vitara Brezza gets a 5-speed gearbox while the City and i20 both use 6-speed transmissions. The Vitara though has the slickest gearbox here.

 

 

Honda City

 

 

Ride and ease of driving

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza 4.5/5

Honda City 4.5/5

Hyundai i20 Active 4.5/5

 

The three cars are evenly matched here on the whole, but that's for different reasons. All three cars offer a plush ride and impressive comfort levels, though the i20 Active feels a wee bit better. The Honda is really nice to drive – its driving position is a good mix of sporty and comfortable, though parking is a bit of a bother since you sit low and the City is obviously longer than other two cars. The i20's driving position is comfortable too and offers a good view. And it is smaller than the City which means parking it is easier, though the rear view mirror incorporated screen for the reverse camera isn't the best here being the smallest, and has a lot of reflection.

 

 

Hyundai i20 Active in action

 

 

The driving position in the Vitara Brezza is the best of the three – you sit higher than the other two cars, and I liked the commanding view it offers, the way an SUV should. Also, the Vitara Brezza is under 4 metres in length just like the i20, and should thus be easy to park in tight spots, especially with its larger display for the reverse camera.

 

 

Honda City sedan in action

 

 

Handling and braking

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza 4/5

Honda City 4.5/5

Hyundai i20 Active 4/5

 

The Honda City has always been known to be a very nice handler, and the current generation carries the tradition forward. It feels confident everywhere - be it at speeds, around corners or while braking. I also like the directness and feedback its steering offers. Same is the case with the Vitara Brezza as it feels confident, and stability around corners or at speeds is nice with good feedback from its well weighted steering. It doesn't feel as confident as the City when braking hard though. The i20 Active's suspension is stiffer than the Elite i20 thanks to which it feels more confident, but the setup still hinges more towards passenger comfort. The car handles well on smooth roads but isn't as confidence inspiring as others to go fast over undulated surfaces. And it's steering wheel still feels dull – there’s not enough feedback.

 

 

Hyundai i20 Active in action

 

 

Price and fuel efficiency

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza 4.5/5

Honda City 4/5

Hyundai i20 Active 4/5

Easily the deciding factors for most buyers in this category, no? The Vitara Brezza is priced very nicely between 6.99 lakh and 9.68 lakh ex-showroom in New Delhi. And that includes a range of variants with lots of features. The i20 Active diesel is priced between 8 lakh to 9.5 lakh rupees which is a good price given what it offers. The Honda City is the biggest and also the most expensive of the three here, costing between 9.2 lakh and 12.3 lakh, which is on the higher side, but for the price you get a car that is easily  the country's most favourite sedan, and not without reason.

Coming to efficiency, the Honda City has the biggest engine, but Honda claims 26 kilometres per litre for it. Well, Honda is known for efficient engines so that isn't a surprise, and we know owners get good numbers even in real world conditions. The i20 Active, according to Hyundai, returns 21.19 kilometres per litre which is the lowest here, as the Vitara Brezza Maruti claims, will return 24.3 kilometres per litre of diesel. That is impressive — an SUV that is as efficient as a hatchback!

 

 

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza

 

 

Verdict

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza 4.5/5

Honda City 4.5/5

Hyundai i20 Active 4.5/5

 

Each car here seems to cater to a slightly different set of buyers and each one is a good buy in its own right. Look at it this way - a conventional buyer would probably not mind spending a bit more and getting the City for its engine, comfort and space apart from the fantastic build quality. Somebody wanting a more unique car would perhaps go in for the i20 Active – it’s a great car with lots of space, features and comfort as hatchback with the muscular looks of an SUV. But what a lot of buyer would go in for I think the Vitara Brezza, for a 10 lakh rupee budget. The overall quality is not as great as the other two cars, but is good on its own. That said the Vitara Brezza looks like a proper SUV, has the longest feature list and also a really nice engine that’s both powerful and efficient too. And yes, it is a Maruti. A brand Indians would perhaps buy blind folded. So to answer the big question, the Vitara Brezza is a worthy alternative as an everyday car to a sedan or a premium hatchback.

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