Maruti has unveiled the Vitara Brezza sub-4 meter SUV at the 2016 Auto Expo, and this very vehicle will be launched in India within a matter of weeks from now. A monocoque bodied vehicle, the Vitara Brezza will directly take on the EcoSport. Here’s what you can expect from the battle.
Despite being 3 years old, the Ford Ecosport is a contemporary looking crossover. While the Vitara Brezza looks fresh and will be widely accepted by the masses due to the Maruti badge on the bonnet, it’s not quite the looker that it could/should’ve been considering how butch a design the XA-Alpha (the concept version of the Vitara Brezza) was.
Yet, the Vitara Brezza’s conservative design is likely to appeal to a wide swathe of buyers. It’s newer too, which should give it the advantage of the “novelty” factor for a few more months at least. So, as far as looks go, it’s even-stevens.
You don’t really expect to hustle a Scorpio or a Safari with an Ecosport or a Vitara Brezza, do you? With compact SUVs, it’s more of how many speed breakers and ill-designed parking ramps you can scale without scraping your underbody rather than going rock crawling.
Both SUVs offer adequate ground clearance, with the Ecosport leading the show with 200 mm, while the Vitara Brezza is almost there with 189 mm. In terms of compactness, the Ecosport is longer (3,999 mm vs 3,995 mm), taller (1,708 mm vs 1,640 mm) and narrower (1,765 mm vs 1,790 mm), and with a slightly longer wheelbase (2,520 mm vs 2,500 mm).
In terms of street presence, the Ecosport will edge out the Vitara Brezza but the latter will be easier to squeeze in tight parking spaces, especially in length terms as you don’t need to bother with the spare wheel jutting out. The downside to having the wheel inside the vehicle is a marginally smaller boot (328 liters) in the Vitara, compared to the 346 liter boot on the Ecosport.
Maruti’s being very bold here. The Vitara Brezza is diesel only, with the 1.3 liter Fiat Multijet turbo diesel engine (89 Bhp-200 Nm) powering it. Head to head, the Ford Ecosport Diesel is more powerful, with the 1.5 liter TDCI unit putting out 98.6 Bhp and 205 Nm. Both compact SUVs use 5 speed manual gearboxes to drive the front wheels.
If you want a petrol version, it’s no contest. The Ecosport is clearly the winner here, with not one but two petrol engines on offer. One motor displaces 1.5 liters and puts out 108 Bhp-140 Nm, while the turbo petrol EcoBoost engine displaces one liter and makes 125 Bhp-170 Nm.
It must be noted that most compact SUVs sold in India are diesel powered. So, Maruti may be keeping this in mind while taking a petrol-only approach on the Vitara Brezza.
Maruti has packed the Vitara Brezza with a lot of stuff. A driver airbag is standard, and ABS+EBD and a passenger airbag can be added as an option on the base and mid trims. In contrast, the Ecosport’s base (Ambiente) diesel variant is quite stripped down. No ABS nor Airbags on this one.
If you want the best resale value for your car, you simply buy a Maruti Suzuki. It’s an open and shut case here.
Sales and After sales
Here again, Maruti simply obliterates Ford. The number of dealerships that Maruti has across India is unparalleled, and the Vitara Brezza will not be sold through the NEXA chain. Maruti also has the country’s best after sales service, which makes or breaks the ownership experience of an automobile. While Ford’s after sales service and maintenance costs are now very competitive, it’ll still be a while before the Blue Oval manages to outdo Maruti on the sales and after sales fronts.
98 % is the localization level of the Vitara Brezza. Lots of parts in the car are common with the likes of the Swift, Dzire and Ertiga. Also, prices of the S-Cross (a crossover much larger than the Brezza), now start at 7.79 lakh rupees. In other words, Maruti has a chance to price the Vitara Brezza very, very competitively. To pull a fast one on the Ecosport, the Vitara Brezza’s pricing may undercut the Ford offering. How about a 6.99 lakh rupee price tag, Maruti? The Ecosport’s diesel variants start at 8.19 lakh rupees, and those of the TUV300 at 7.11 rupees.