Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara AllGrip Intelligent Electric & Smart Intelligent Hybrids in CarToq’s first driving review

0

Even though Maruti Suzuki wears the crown of India’s top-selling automaker, the Indian brand has missed out on the mid-size car segment. Hyundai Creta and later Kia Seltos together dominate the segment, but Maruti Suzuki finally has an answer and it’s called the Grand Vitara. Is the new Grand Vitara good enough for Maruti Suzuki to make its mark in the segment? We’ve taken the car for a spin and here’s what we think. You can also watch the detailed video below.

Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara AllGrip

This is the first variant of the Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara that we have driven. This is the mild hybrid variant. The new Grand Vitara gets AllGrip, which is an internationally renowned AWD system from Suzuki. The AllGrip, however, is only available with a manual transmission and we drove it on a track set up specifically for the Grand Vitara.

The Grand Vitara is the only car in the segment that offers an AWD system. Moreover, it is the first time that a Maruti Suzuki car offers AllGrip technology. There are four Drive modes in the AllGrip variant. In default mode, the car remains in Auto mode and switches to AWD mode whenever the car feels there is a need for additional grip. You can change the mode using a push-and-turn dial in the center console. There are additional modes like Snow, Sport and Lock. You can use lock mode to make sure the car stays in AWD mode all the time. While Snow and Sport modes alter throttle input and traction control settings for completely different driving experiences.

Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara Intelligent Electric & Smart Intelligent Hybrid SUVs in CarToq's first driving review

We rode the all-new Grand Vitara through various obstacles, starting with uphill and downhill. The climb seemed steep to us, but we’re not sure how steep it was. At no time, however, did any part of the car touch the surface. We also tested the hill hold assist and hill descent control, which worked flawlessly.

We then checked the ground clearance by rolling over the rocky bed, then headed to the slush pit which really tested the new Grand Vitara’s capabilities. With stock street tires, the Grand Vitara excelled in conquering the slush. We also put two Grand Vitara tires on slabs of snow and saw the traction control system working at its best.

In the end, we made the axle twisters which ensured that one of the tires always stayed in the air. The Grand Vitara uses a traction control system to apply the brakes to the wheel that has no traction or is in the air. This ensures that the power goes to the other wheel and the car comes out of the obstacle without any challenge.

Stronger low-end torque would have made the Grand Vitara much more fun over off-road obstacles. However, we think that’s good enough for a car in this segment and buyers would certainly enjoy extreme roads without fear of getting stuck.

We then took the 4X2 version of the Smart Hybrid to the paved roads. While the manual is very well tuned with the Smart Hybrid engine, we definitely think a new six-speed manual will add more dynamism to the ride.

Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara 6-speed automatic

Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara Intelligent Electric & Smart Intelligent Hybrid SUVs in CarToq's first driving review

Maruti Suzuki will also offer the Smart Hybrid, which is the mild hybrid system with a six-speed automatic transmission. This is the new six-speed transmission that Maruti Suzuki recently introduced to its lineup. The automatic transmission makes the 1.5-liter gasoline engine much more pleasant to drive. Low-end torque seems stronger due to an extra gear ratio compared to the manual transmission.

The six-speed torque converter is an all-new transmission and it’s very smooth. Gear changes are smooth and effortless. Although there is no sport mode, you can control gear changes via the paddle shifters. Yes, there are paddle shifters and they work great. With the automatic, acceleration is also much better. We certainly liked the automatic transmission more than the manual.

Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara IEH (Powerful Hybrid)

Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara Intelligent Electric & Smart Intelligent Hybrid SUVs in CarToq's first driving review

The Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara Intelligent Electric Hybrid is what we’ve been waiting for to drive. The Strong Hybrid is completely different to drive. It receives a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine on the Atkinson cycle. There is a battery in the trunk of the car. Switching on the Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara IEH feels like starting an electric car. The engine does not start initially. Only after driving, depending on the battery charge level, does the engine turn on.

The motor does not make much noise but you notice that it is on. You can also drive the Grand Vitara Strong Hybrid in EV mode. To drive the car in EV mode, you need to press a button on the center console and if there is enough charge left in the battery, the display will show EV mode. You can drive the new Grand Vitara for a few miles entirely in EV mode.

Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara Intelligent Electric & Smart Intelligent Hybrid SUVs in CarToq's first driving review

There’s nothing to complain about low-end torque here. The combination of the engine and the powerful hybrid system produces a maximum output of 115.56 PS of peak power. The motor produces a peak torque of 122Nm while there is an additional torque boost of 141Nm from the Strong Hybrid system. Overall, we loved how the Strong Hybrid works.

The car gets e-CVT. It doesn’t look like the regular standard CVT at all. The elastic effect has disappeared. There are two drive modes like many other potent hybrids. There is a standard driving mode and a braking mode. In brake mode, the regenerative braking forces are more powerful and work perfectly downhill. It looks like powerful engine braking and it can also be used in everyday traffic for pedal driving. Maruti Suzuki does not offer any battery regeneration mode that you can set to your liking.

Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara Intelligent Electric & Smart Intelligent Hybrid SUVs in CarToq's first driving review

The Strong Hybrid variant also feels much more planted to the ground. This is because of the added weight of the battery, which is positioned closer to the ground. You can definitely corner at higher speeds on the strong hybrid variant compared to the mild hybrid version. Now the powerful hybrid is all about fuel efficiency. We drove the car on city roads and did some high-speed runs on the highway. We were really pleased to see a fuel efficiency figure above 21 km/l on the screen. The Smart Hybrid Automatic only showed around 13 km/l on a similar route and driving style.

Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara: a new design language

Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara Intelligent Electric & Smart Intelligent Hybrid SUVs in CarToq's first driving review

With the all-new Grand Vitara, Maruti Suzuki introduced Suzuki’s new design language to the Indian market. You get a large grille and split headlight setup. The bumper is streamlined and also gets a large skid plate in the bottom. The face of the Grand Vitara is quite distinctive. Also, the chrome is slightly coppery with the strong hybrid version and this is the only visual differentiator between the two variants.

The large, square wheel arches house the 17-inch tires. The top-spec variant gets two-tone diamond-cut alloy wheels and they look pretty good on the car. The window line is quite straight and there are also some deep creases. But the contrasting insert on the D-pillar attracts a lot of attention. The Grand Vitara also gets roof rails but they are not functional since there is now a panoramic sunroof.

Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara Intelligent Electric & Smart Intelligent Hybrid SUVs in CarToq's first driving review

The rear seems the most interesting part of the car. There are LED taillights, which are very sleek in design and there is also a connecting LED strip. There is a separate light cluster for the turn signals, reverse light and reflectors. You can watch the video to see how much of an impact the taillights have when turned on.

Plush cabin too

Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara Intelligent Electric & Smart Intelligent Hybrid SUVs in CarToq's first driving review

Maruti Suzuki worked to make the Grand Vitara the most luxurious offering and it worked out really well. It gets a layered dashboard with padding and soft-touch material. We loved the quality of the Grand Vitara’s dashboard. Additionally, there is a slight change in the color of the inserts and the color theme in the soft and strong hybrid variants.

In the mild hybrid you get a standard digital-analog speedometer while the strong hybrid variant gets an all-new all-digital speedometer. Also, the colored HUD is only available with the strong hybrid variant. We explained the two speedometers very well in the video, you can watch the video to learn more.

Both variants get the 9.0-inch Smart Play and this is the first time a Maruti Suzuki car has offered Android Auto and Apple CarPlay wireless connectivity.

The seats are the same in both. There are plenty of side bolsters on the seats, but the Strong Hybrid variant benefits from ventilated cooling. Both variants however come with a panoramic sunroof which is a first for a Maruti Suzuki car in the market.

The amount of space is similar in both variants. But there is a change in space. The strong hybrid variant offers significantly less boot space compared to the mild hybrid version due to the location of the battery. You can check the video to see more details.

Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara: Should you buy it?

Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara Intelligent Electric & Smart Intelligent Hybrid SUVs in CarToq's first driving review

The all-new Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara marks many firsts for Maruti Suzuki. There are many features that Maruti Suzuki has introduced with the new Grand Vitara. The Strong Hybrid variant can be seen as a replacement for the diesel-powered variant. It operates effortlessly and we loved how it drives. The Mild Hybrid is also a great choice and we really like how it handles on the road. With the introduction of the Grand Vitara, Maruti Suzuki will certainly put a damper on the sales of the segment leaders. Of how much? Well, it depends on the price. What price do you think Maruti Suzuki will put on the all-new Grand Vitara? Watch our video and be sure to comment with what price you think will be appropriate for the new Grand Vitara.

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.