What makes Maruti Suzuki Brezza one of India’s most loved compact SUVs?

Since inception, Maruti Suzuki Brezza has been a standout player in the Indian compact SUV segment, not just for its value, but also for its eye-catching design and long feature list. While it has always been popular, Maruti Suzuki put it through a mid-cycle refresh back in 2022, dropping the “Vitara” from its name, and embracing a sleeker and more aggressive design language in the process. The result was positive, as was to be expected, and Brezza continued to be one of Maruti’s bestsellers. However, as the compact-SUV market reaches a level of saturation like never before, where does the Brezza stand amongst a sea of competitors? We spent nearly a month with the Brezza in our garage, to figure it out, and included a short road trip as part of our comprehensive 1600 km+ drive review.

At first glance, the Vitara Brezza makes a lasting impression with its bold and dynamic exterior design. We talked about it at length in our earlier review here. The front fascia is characterised by a striking chrome-accented grille, flanked by sleek projector headlamps that sculpt around the front grille, giving the Brezza an edgy and modern front end. We especially like the LED DRL signature of the Brezza, which gives the car a unique and instantly recognisable look, ensuring that it continues to attract attention despite its age. The squared off lines and muscular proportions give the Brezza a robust and athletic stance from the front, and this butch look is carried on to the side profile as well.

The dual-tone roof option, with contrasting colours that complement the body, adds a touch of sophistication and individuality to the car’s appearance, and the roof rails, black cladding, and 16″ alloy wheels work together to further add to the sporty off-road aesthetic. However, as is the case with several Maruti Suzuki offerings, the Brezza’s overall look could have been vastly improved with slightly larger wheels and a reduction in the gap between the wheels and the wheel arches. 

At the rear, Brezza carries its boxy, squared off look with unique T-shaped tail lights highly reminiscent of the Range Rover Sport. The use of black plastic cladding continues at the back as well, and we especially love the sculpted, angular design of the tailgate and the subtle spoiler attached at the top. Overall, the design philosophy has aged remarkably well, and given the sheer numbers on the road, the fact that the Brezza still manages to turn heads is commendable. 

Stepping into the Brezza’s cabin, one is greeted by a simple, well designed and easy to use interior that puts practicality above all else. The overall interior comes with a dual-tone colour palette of black and brown, which complemented the exterior colour of our test unit very well. The now familiar layered dashboard design of Maruti Suzuki’s offerings is found in the Brezza as well, which is to say that the dashboard design is easy to use and intuitive, with a good mix of physical buttons and touchscreen functions. The centrally positioned 9″ SmartPlay Pro+ touchscreen infotainment system serves as the focal point, and although we would’ve loved to see a tactile rotary dial for volume control, we’re glad Maruti Suzuki has retained physical HVAC controls. However, while functional, the Brezza’s interior has started to look and feel a bit jaded, especially in comparison to some of its more recently updated competitors. The interior build quality also has significant room for improvement, and we certainly hope that the next-generation Brezza makes advancements in this department. 

As is customary in this segment, comfort and convenience features are a top priority for prospective buyers, and the current-gen Brezza boasts an impressive feature list that matches up to many newer competitors. The usual suspects like automatic climate control, keyless entry and start, steering-mounted audio controls, a well-rounded speaker setup, electronically adjustable ORVMs and rear parking sensors are all present, but the Brezza goes a few steps ahead. Added perks like a heads-up display, a decent 360-degree camera, wireless charging, an electric sunroof, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto all make the experience feel more premium, although we found CarPlay to be a bit glitchy, especially when used with the wireless charger. 

Cabin space and passenger comfort is paramount in the Brezza, with a spacious cabin that offers generous legroom and headroom for both front and rear occupants, ensuring a comfortable ride even on long journeys. The front seats are soft and cushion-y, and the rear seats are inclined at a comfortable angle. Rear AC vents are a welcome addition as well, and the Brezza is a great choice for small families. In terms of storage, the Brezza offers several useful storage spaces inside the cabin, including cupholders in the front and decently sized door pockets. Boot space is also ample at 328 litres, and the seats can be folder in a 60:40 split, further adding to the functionality. 

Under the hood, the Brezza comes with the tried and tested K15C Smart Hybrid, a 1.5L petrol engine which produces 103 BHP and 137 Nm of torque, while also utilises brake energy regeneration and torque assist while accelerating. The engine is mated to either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic, and having tested the top of the line manual previously, we were happy to try out the relatively capable automatic transmission which comes with paddle shifters. 

As expected, Brezza’s powertrain focuses on gradual and smooth acceleration rather than providing an initial punch, and low-end grunt is more than ample for most real-life use cases. Where the Brezza left us wanting more was in mid and high-range performance, as power gradually tails off as you go higher in the rev range. The engine starts to feel strained at speeds past 80 km/h, making high speed overtakes a bit of a struggle. The Brezza is best used as an urban city runabout. The automatic transmission, for what it’s worth, shifts relatively smoothly and is quick to respond to sudden throttle inputs, although you can always rely on the paddle shifters to ensure you’re in the right gear. 

Where the Brezza really shines is in ride quality, stability and steering ease. The ride has been clearly set up for comfort, with ample damping that glides over most potholes. The Brezza’s high speed stability also left us thoroughly impressed, and the car displays minimal body roll despite the soft ride and tall stance. Even on high speed rides on the expressway, it felt safe and sorted. While the Brezza has hardly been designed keeping tight hairpin turns in mind, the car manages to hold its own even under enthusiastic cornering. The steering has been set up for primarily urban driving, and its feather light weight makes slow speed driving and parking an absolute breeze. Overall, the Brezza’s chassis and steering setup has continued to surprise us with its solid and sorted feel, and most buyers would have little to no complaints with the way the car has been set up.

Having spent a fair bit of time with the Brezza as our daily commute, and taking it out for a short sprint on the expressway from Delhi to Agra and back, our verdict remains pretty much the same as it was when we first drove the refreshed version last year. It’s hard to dismiss the Brezza for what it offers. Prices start at INR 8.34 lacs and go up to INR 13.98 lacs ex-showroom, which when compared to the soaring prices of most offerings these days, feels like a good value proposition. With a reliable engine, well sorted ride and comfort, and an extensive feature list, and good fuel economy (we averaged about 17 km/l during our test run), the Brezza offers more than enough car for most buyers.

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