When the Brezza came out in 2016, that diesel engine was one of the main reasons to buy it. It was available only as a diesel and people were happy with it, but how times have changed. Today more people are switching away from diesels and not having a petrol option was taking its toll on the sales. What’s more with the new BS6 emissions, it was also time to say good bye to the faithful old 1.3 Multijet diesel. The result is the updated Brezza with a 1.5 litre petrol. Since it is 1500cc, the Brezza no longer qualifies for the excise benefits of the sub 4 metre segment and that is reflected in the prices too. But does the rest of the car add up to it?
The big changes on the front are the new headlamps, grille and front bumper. The thick slab of chrome on the grille got bigger and has four slots on it. The bumper has been updated to look more purposeful with larger fog lamp surrounds. The headlamps, though similar in shape to the old ones, are new too. They have dual LED projector elements inside and a larger DRL element that helps identify the car from afar. The big change on the sides are the new black diamond cut alloy wheels, but we preferred the classic wheel design of the older car. The rear gets new LED tail lamps that jut out a bit more in the corners.
We wish the facelift was a bit more comprehensive especially in the interiors where the Brezza is showing its age. The switch to all black plastic midway through its life improved things, but it still warrants a new design and better materials and this would have been the perfect time to do it. Nothing has changed here except for the new infotainment system which replaces the old Bosch unit. It can connect to your phone for music streaming, live map updates, restaurant suggestions etc. while supporting Android Auto and Apple Car Play. The high seating position with great visibility which is one the highlights remains, as does the very supportive front seats. The rear seats are good too, but the presence of Li-ion battery under the front seat limits legroom for the left passenger. The Brezza continues to be one of the safest Maruti cars, if the Global NCAP crash tests are anything to go by.
The Brezza petrol is powered by the same K15B 1.5 litre petrol engine as the Ciaz, Ertiga and XL6. It produces 105bhp and 138Nm torque. The engine is surprisingly refined and easy to drive around town. The clutch is light and the gearshifts are very smooth. Where this engine feels let down is in the mid-range especially after the turbo diesel Brezza. It feels laboured on the way to 6000rpm but it sounds nice doing it. A downshift is in order for a quick overtake but you can cruise very well at high speeds with this one. This isn’t a slow car and 0-100kmph comes up in 11.7 seconds – less than half a second slower than the Venue turbo petrol.
There is also a torque convertor automatic on offer and if you are buying one for city use, do have a look at it as well. It may only be a four speed auto, but in real world and for driving around town, it isn’t so bad. There is plenty of low down power, with the torque convertor playing its part and you can drive around with minimum hassle. It upshifts quickly and gives decent fuel efficiency at normal speeds. It gets occasionally confused between second and third gear, depending on how much throttle is being used. And when you demand quick acceleration, there is some delay to be expected. Choose a relaxed driving style and the Brezza auto does play along. It must be noted that only the Brezza Automatic gets the mild hybrid tech and hence has a better fuel efficiency figure in ARAI tests.
The car also feels different in the way it drives. It has lost a bit of the handling and grip it used to have. You feel slightly disconnected when driving it fast than you did in the diesel. And we don’t know why, but the steering feels a tad lighter and less communicative than before. On the good side, the suspension does feel softer and you feel less of the road imperfections now. It has become a lot more comfortable and that’s what most people would notice and appreciate.
Four years since its introduction, the Brezza was due for an update along with a petrol version. We wish the facelift was more comprehensive and it had better interiors. The introduction of petrol will draw in some new buyers although the lack of diesel will drive away some. That it doesn’t qualify for the small car benefits has partly to do with it, but it should have been a lot cheaper. You will appreciate the new found refinement of the petrol and that engine will be adequate for most people. It continues to be dependable, easy to drive, and easy to own, now even more so, with a petrol.