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2022 Maruti Suzuki Brezza review, first drive - More than just skin deep

Tuhin Guha Updated: July 05, 2022, 05:07 PM IST

The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza was the first big success in the compact SUV segment, becoming the best-selling SUV in India for five straight years. But competition in this segment is intense, and new rivals have edged out Maruti slightly. Maruti Suzuki has responded to this challenge with a not quite all-new but still comprehensive reworking of the Brezza.

2022 Maruti Suzuki Brezza exteriors, dimensions

To start with, Maruti Suzuki has dropped the Vitara nameplate with this change, so it's just the Maruti Suzuki Brezza now. And following on from the Baleno, this is more than a facelift with only the Suzuki Global C platform being carried over.

So the sheet metal is all new and much more contemporary looking. There's a nuance to the Brezza's styling that you usually don't associate with Maruti Suzuki cars. The front is especially striking with the intricate grille and its many contrasting elements while the LED headlamps are larger and peppered with detailing. That bull-bar effect to the bumper has been carried over here but again made a bit more prominent. The square LED foglamps too are quite attractively placed, enhancing the flat-faced look. The Brezza looks like a larger car now, although dimensions have remained unchanged(height increases by 45mm with the new shark-fin antenna), but continues to retain that upright, blocky look that made it stand out in the compact SUV crowd.

From the side, it's again an improvement. The bodywork is a bit more sophisticated now with some discreet sharp lines and well-placed bulges but we especially like the clamshell bonnet opening and the fang-like 16-inch alloy wheels. Another thoughtful design touch is this new quarter glass which now forms a continuous panel with the rear windscreen.

For us, the best angle on the new Brezza is from the rear. The wide diffused LED, almost Toyota-like, taillamps are especially nicely done. And then the boot-lid itself has this contouring that makes the SUV look quite a bit more taut but still larger than earlier, paired with wide badging. Overall it's a commendable job that puts the Brezza right in the mix with some of its quite flashy rivals

2022 Maruti Suzuki Brezza interior, features

To start with, the 2022 Maruti Suzuki Brezza's doors close with a more convincing thud, with the tougher sheet metal used. And the inside is a sea-change from the quite bare look from earlier. The quality of materials and the general ambience have taken a noticeable forward step. The plastics are still quite hard but feel more substantial, the contrasting textures and colours adding to the sense of quality. There are more soft surfaces in the new door cards and in the large, adjustable centre armrest that further reinforce this feeling. The Brezza is the first Maruti Suzuki to get a sunroof, which brightens up the already airy cabin further.

The dash layout itself follows current design themes with its flat fascia, the wide air vents and the asymmetric silver highlighting being a good relief from the dark interior theme. Much of the switchgear has been carried over but there are just enough physical buttons here to not inconvenience you on the move. The climate controls are the same as the new Baleno and quite tactile with their toggle operation.

The new steering feels much nicer to hold as well and easier to operate with the toggle switches. The instrument cluster is new as well, its got the typical twin-barrel Maruti Suzuki layout but is a far cry from the obtuse squircle ones from earlier. These new ones are far more legible and the colour MID displays information much more clearly, although some of it like the G-meter and accelerator input may not exactly be fully pertinent to the Brezza's proposition. Having used the head-up display extensively in the new Baleno, also carried over here, it feels more than a gimmick. It does present information conveniently once you get used to it and is bright enough for use in all weather conditions, even in its lowest brightness setting.

The new 9-inch touchscreen is also carried over from the Baleno. The dark theme aside it is quite intuitive in its operation. Although we found its placement a touch too close to the front passengers for our liking. This isn't a flaw and doesn't hamper outward visibility but we did find it prone to catching reflections quite a bit. And now with the Brezza also getting a wireless charger, we hoped for wireless phone mirroring too.

The Maruti Suzuki Brezza is now more expensive, on par with its Korean rivals. The features list has been enhanced to match this but we would have liked to have seen auto wipers and ventilated seats. You do get auto headlamps, ambient lighting, connected tech, telescopic steering and cruise control so there is still good value to be derived from the Brezza.

Another significant improvement are the new seats. They are much better contoured now with more supportive cushioning and probably won't tire you out after a long road trip the way the earlier ones did. The central tunnel too has been reworked for more practical storage spaces. But the panel gaps, though consistent here, could have been tighter. We also noticed some scruff edges around the central AC vents. This does mean that the Koreans continue to have a slight edge over Maruti Suzuki in terms of the overall sense of quality inside.

But for those regularly traveling with a full load of passengers, the Brezza holds a distinct advantage. It's quite large for a sub-four-metre SUV in the back. The new bench here is again more comfortable, and two adults and a child should be comfortable given the wide cabin. There's great legroom and kneeroom, although as with most of these small SUVs, thigh support is somewhat lacking. The new Type A and C USB ports here with their flapped covers are a thoughtful addition as are the seatbelt holders. Boot space remains unchanged at 328 litres and you continue to get the fully folding and removable bench, enhancing practicality.

2022 Maruti Suzuki Brezza driving impressions

As with the rest of the car, the 2022 Maruti Suzuki Brezza feels much the same on the move but with some noticeable enhancements. The SUV is now about 45 kgs heavier, which has gone into reinforcing the structure and sheet meta,l and it does show in the way the Brezza feels more substantial in its motions. This has quite a bit to do with the new suspension tuning also. The Brezza feels much better planted at any speed. Some of the firm low-speed ride is still there but the SUV covers off smaller bumps and potholes more convincingly now with only a damped feeling entering the cabin. The firmness fades away as speeds build where the Brezza stays well-poised over undulations and bumps. There's not too much twitchiness at speed in a straight line but the light-footedness from earlier has been retained.

This too has improved but we wish for more stability over long, sweeping corners where there are some stray body movements at high speeds. This has more to do with the new steering tune, which has also improved, but isn't quite as consistent or direct feeling as in the new Baleno.

But it is light and ties in perfectly with the Brezza's use-case as a largely urban SUV. The Brezza is stress-free to maneuver in traffic, the edges of the bonnet are visible and the pillars aren't too large either. The new 360-degree camera with its clear feed helps here too.

The new 1.5-litre K15C Dualjet motor in the Maruti Suzuki Brezza is the same that debuted in the refreshed Ertiga and XL6. Its biggest calling card is the near 20 kmpl efficiency figure but in other respects too the engine feels largely suited to the Brezza's needs. It's got a brisk low-end response, so the SUV is prompt through traffic. Although with most rivals now being turbocharged, you will have to work harder for overtakes and closing gaps in the Brezza. The mild-hybrid system is a help, enhancing the already wide powerband but not boosting performance noticeably.

The new six-speed torque-converter automatic makes things easier. The two extra ratios have significantly improved driveability. The gearbox functions much more intuitively with most of the stray gear-swapping of earlier done away with. The new auto isn't the sharpest shifting of the lot but it is well-timed with its shifts. However, downshifts can be abrupt sometimes. Considering the efficiency-focused tune, you are in sixth gear by 80 kmph. This makes the Brezza automatic quite a calm highway cruiser with the generally impressive refinement levels of the engine at low rpms but the gearbox needs to quickly shift down gears to slow down from speed, with isn't done completely seamlessly. Either way, you can take manual control via the well-placed paddles, where the gearbox will even hold revs at the red line without upshifting, although the engine is quite loud in the cabin at this point. In fact, we would have liked slightly better-controlled wind and road noise at higher speeds generally with the Brezza.

Driving the manual Brezza it is apparent that the gearbox does sap some responsiveness from the engine, but not enough to be an irritant. The five-speed manual is again quite easy to use with its precise shifts and well-defined gates but the lack of a sixth gear is quite stark now. The SUV is quite noisy in the cabin on a 100 kmph cruise. That said, the wide powerband means that you don't need to constantly swap gears to keep momentum. The clutch is a new hydraulic setup but surprisingly is more springy in its action than in other new Maruti's. So despite its progressive action, long city drives can get tiring. Having said that, the manual Brezza with the peppier-feeling engine and the generally sound handling of the Brezza makes for a fairly engaging car to drive.

2022 Maruti Suzuki Brezza safety

This has been another area of improvement with the 2022 Maruti Suzuki Brezza. There is more safety equipment with stability control now standard. Aside from the reinforced structure, there are bigger brakes, although the slightly inconsistent feel from the regen system continues. You also get six airbags in the higher-spec cars and Maruti Suzuki seems to be aiming for a five-star crash rating for the Brezza, considering the earlier car was four-star-rated, to begin with.

2022 Maruti Suzuki Brezza price, verdict

The Maruti Suzuki Brezza is now notably pricier than earlier, topping out at near Rs 14 lakh for the top variant. At this price, we would have liked slightly better high-speed refinement and some of the rough edges in the cabin sorted out but this hasn't been a deterrent seemingly. Over 50,000 bookings have already been made. It's not surprising to see why. The new Brezza is a significant improvement and still feels good value. It's got the usual Maruti strengths of an efficient, tractable engine and reasonable driving dynamics but enhances this with contemporary looks, a better cabin, good tech and a much better automatic option. Another move in the right direction after the Baleno.

Text: @tuhinguha
Images: @anis.shaikh.media 

Also read,

2022 Maruti Suzuki Brezza: Prices and variants explained

2022 Maruti Suzuki Brezza launched in India, prices start from Rs 7.99 lakh

2022 Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza pre-bookings commence at Rs 11,000

Upcoming Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza to be available in 4 variants and 9 colour options

Price (Ex-Delhi)
Starts Rs 7.99 Lakhs
Displacement
1462cc
Transmission
Automatic
Max Power(ps)
103
Max Torque(Nm)
136.8
Mileage
19.80 Kmpl

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