Maruti Suzuki Ritz ZXi – Initial Impressions Review

Driving has always been my passion since my childhood. I was dreaming about my first car since last 2 years. Finances and other family priorities kept me away from realizing my dream. Finally on 26th October 2009, me and wifey decided to buy our own first car.

We got the car delivered on 3rd December – a day after our first wedding anniversary, and a new chapter of our life begun.

It has completed 1000 KMs in about 1.5 months and has gone through 1st free service. Wifey calls it “Golu”, a word generally used for fat, chubby kids .

Exterior

It does look different from other conventionally designed cars. I like it though. From front, it has a very imposing stance. It is very very tall (may be the tallest of all hatchbacks) and this adds to the bigger feeling you get when you stand by the car. Headlights are very big. The front grill and fog lamps compliment the big headlamps nicely. Coming to the controversial rear design, I find it unique. I love the boomerang shaped tail lamps. They are placed very high touching the roof-line of the car. Paint job is not as good as that of Hyundai or Fiat, but one has to compromise in one or the other aspect.

Interior

The moment you step inside the car, you get a BIG feeling. It is very very spacious from inside. All my friends appreciated huge front legroom. The dashboard is one of the longest of the competition and you get a feeling of big car because of it. Quality of plastics used is one of the best amongst all Maruti cars (still no match to Hyundai). Black ZXi comes with dual tone blue-gray interiors. The top of dashboard and door trims have blue shade and other parts are of gray color. This is a unique combination of colors and I must say it looks good. Boot is large enough to hold 2 large suitcases. There is no light provided in the boot.

A-pillar is very thick (standard in modern cars I guess?) and becomes obstructive when taking right turns. One has to be careful, when taking tight right turns. C-pillar is also very thick and rear glass area is very small. Due to this rear visibility is not the best, though I have got used to it. With the help of big sized ORVMs and IRVM, reversing is not a problem anymore that I don’t feel the need for reverse parking sensors as of now. The IRVM is NOT anti-glare though mentioned as automatic day-light mirror in the brochure. There is no switch on the mirror to change as per day or night. I have asked the dealer to escalate this to Maruti, but no response have been received so far.

Controls

All the controls (AC, Music System, Wiper and light stalks) are placed at conveniently reachable distance for the driver. Speed-o-meter is one big dial with lot of small warning signs around it. I didn’t like it initially but have now settled with the looks. Once you get used to it, it is very easy to spot things. One thing I love is the position of RPM-meter. As everyone knows, it is placed on the dashboard, which is ideal if you change gears based on RPMs. You don’t have to look all the way down through the steering, just a quick glance gives you current RPM. Dual horn is very good, it’s loud and sharp. Much better than that of i10, which feels like a moped’s horn.

Tilt steering and driver seat height adjustment has good amount of range to satisfy both tall and short drivers. The essential controls like steering, clutch, brake and accelerator are little harder (compared to i10 I test drove) but gives good response to be confident. Central locking has a very good feature that all the doors get locked once car crosses 20 KMPH speed. Doors do not get unlocked when engine is switched off on signals (my colleague’s Elantra gets unlocked when engine is switched off). Hatch door is also unlocked when you unlock all the doors using central or remote locking. There is no lever provided to release the hatch door from inside, you have to unlock all the doors. Haven’t used the fog lamps so far, so can’t comment on their usefulness.

AC is very very effective but lack of automatic climate control is disappointing. It cools the cabin (including rear passengers) really fast. I always keep the blower to position 1 and temperature gauge at around 9 o’clock. Front and rear defoggers work like a charm and glass gets cleared within seconds. Front wipers are not of great quality, it leaves quite a lot marks and doesn’t swipe completely. Rear wiper is a boon for me as I can’t drive without rear vision. The motor for rear wiper is inside the door and is not insulated I guess because it makes noise when activated.

Music system

ZXi model comes with factory fitted Nippon music system. Sound quality is adequate for me. Sound is pretty clear at lower volumes (enough to cut out all the outside noise) with enough bass. Quality of the FM output is more than I expected. Controls on the head unit are not very user friendly and one has to go through the user manual to understand all the different functionalities. Size of the head unit screen is very small with very little information displayed at any given point of time. Haven’t tried the Aux-in functionality yet. Lack of USB is disappointment, one would expect to get USB when you spend 5.5+ lakhs on a car. Audio controls on the steering is again a boon as the driver doesn’t have to reach out to head-unit. Head unit comes with a remote control also, which can be used by co-passengers to operate the music system. 4 speakers are placed inside 4 doors, which starts jarring at higher volumes.

Engine Performance

In this department, I can only compare my car to the i10 I test drove. The engine is very much silent throughout all the gears except for lower RPMs in idle. When idle, RPM keeps hovering between 600 to 750, and when near 600 the engine does vibrate which you can feel through the steering. Lower gears have enough grunt for slow moving traffic. Engine comes to its life when it crosses 1600 RPM and you can suddenly feel a thrust when you rev the engine (not in the leagues of a turbo though). If you can keep the car at around 2000 RPM all the time, you won’t feel lack of power ever. One good thing about the engine is, it feels very responsive even at higher speeds (85 KMPH is the maximum I have done so far because of running-in period), just with a small push on the accelerator, you can feel the car giving good feedback.

I haven’t felt any difference in engine response when AC is switched ON. One strange thing I have noticed is, when clutch is pressed the RPM goes up (don’t know if this is true with all the cars). As mentioned above, gear lever is positioned on the center console of the dashboard. Very convenient to hold. The lever is very short with accurate shifting. The throw is also very short and it slots perfectly except for reverse gear, which doesn’t engage sometimes.

Drive

ZXi comes factory fitted with 185/70 R14 JK Vectra tyres. They are fine as far as you are running on smooth roads, but start making lot of noise on not-so-smooth roads. I did want to upgrade to either Yokos or Michelins, but couldn’t because of financials. Alloys that are used are really really good and gels well with my Black car. Never felt the need to buy better looking alloys. Spare tyre also comes with alloy wheel.

The ride is not as smooth as I expected. It was bit bumpy. When I checked the air pressure for the first time after about 10 days, I found that it was 41 PSI in all 4 tyres . I got it reduced to 30 (manual says 29 for all 4) and ride has improved after that. Cabin is insulated pretty well from outside noise. Front seat comfort is much better compared to rear. I haven’t sat in the rear seat so far, but I think it is not as comfortable as front though none of the rear seat passengers have complained so far. Ground clearance is 170mm and coupled with shorter wheelbase in its class, the under-body of the car doesn’t touch any of the devil speed-breakers on Bangalore roads (with car fully loaded).

FE

I use only Shell normal petrol for my bike and car both. First full tank (measured over 428 KMs) gave me 14.46 KMPL in city with AC ON all the time. 40% of the time, car was driven in typical Bangalore bumper-to-bumper traffic and rest of the time, bit relaxed city traffic. 50% of the time car was fully loaded with 5 adult passengers.

Author: Ronak Gandhi

I'm a software developer, who is also passionate about driving, traveling, automobiles, photography, computers and games. TT (Ping Pong as some people say) is the latest entry to my list of hobbies. I'm slowly getting better, but not there yet.

35 thoughts on “Maruti Suzuki Ritz ZXi – Initial Impressions Review”

  1. Hi Gandhi,

    How are you and how is your car doing .Please let us know the 20k service cost breakup.

    Thanks,
    suresh

  2. hi, Ronak. How’s your car now, after using for 2 yrs any problem? are you satisfied with your decision buying this car? tks. cece.

      1. Hi Ronak, if problems of vibrations at 600 RPM in your Ritz have been resolved? if please tell m,e what is solution because I am facing similar problem in my Ritz

        1. [email protected] yes the vibrations issue is not present anymore. Just make sure that you are getting your wheels aligned and balanced at regular intervals.

  3. Hi Ronak,I was following your threads on Team-BHP and  your travelogues are very helpful. Please let me know any update on 15K intermediate service.
     
    Regards,
    Suresh

    1. @Suresh, I didn’t go for 15k intermediate service as the service manual doesn’t mention that.  After 3rd service at 1 year/10k KMs, next service will be at 2 yrs/20k KMs (whatever is earlier).

  4. Hi Ronak,I was following your threads on Team-BHP and  your travelogues are very helpful. Please let me know any update on 15K intermediate service.
     
    Regards,
    Suresh

    1. @Suresh, I didn’t go for 15k intermediate service as the service manual doesn’t mention that.  After 3rd service at 1 year/10k KMs, next service will be at 2 yrs/20k KMs (whatever is earlier).

  5. Oh! Sorry my friend, I didnt notice the footnote with your wordpress link. My bad!
    Anyways, I am only a little concerned with the audio system. I am thinking of changing and upgrading the rear speakers alone. I would definitely want to put a sub but I dont want to compromise on the bootspace because it will be used quite often. Any advice or specs that you can give me about upgrading the speakers pls. Is it okay if I make use of the accessory outlet in the maruti showroom itself? or shud I go for something like RadioWarehouse or so? Thanks in advance
    Regards,
    Dr.Saravanan

  6. Thank you very much Ronak, for your prompt reply to my list of questions. I guess now I can go ahead and book my Ritz ZXI without any second thoughts. Perhaps , like you said I can just change the rear speakers alone and let the DIN Audio system as it is without altering the originality of it.
    Reversing, maybe I might just get some parking sensors, to be on the safe side! 🙂
    Other than that, thank you once again and pls do continue to post more of useful and credible write ups similar to the ones you are doing now. God bless!
    Regards,
    Dr.Saravanan

  7. Hi Ronak, I must applaud you for your simple,straight yet wonderful writeup on the Ritz. I am planning to book one and though initially it was one car I didnt plan to even think about, I ultimately ended up going to book it in a few week’s time perhaps. I agree with everything you said, judging the car by my test drive. But I just have a few queries , if you could kindly answer when you have time.

    – The salesgirl, told me that the car has a keyless entry. What would happen in situations when the remote battery is down or when the sensors on the remote key dont work?
    – I am quite a music buff and I would like have , if not a booming system, a decent hardcore system for my car, what would u suggest me to do? Purchase a JVC or Sony audio system compatible to it or just go with the company fitted one? I too was not quite happy with the tiny display
    And will 3rd party music systems be compatible with the steering mounted controls?
    – Is reverse parking been a big hassle or do u think that by fitting the reverse sensors we will be able to manage in a city like Chennai?

    These are my primary concerns..and I would be very happy if you could kindly take the time to give your valuable and expert advices on these. Thank you so much
    Regards,
    Dr.Saravanan

    1. I’m glad you found my review helpful.

      – Re keyless entry, the key can be used to unlock the car when the remote doesn’t work. Anyway you will get two keys, so it won’t happen that both doesn’t work the same time. The battery inside the key is supposed to work for years.

      – I’m not an audiophile, so I won’t be able to help you out. Probably you can go for replacement speakers with an additional woofer. As long as you don’t touch the system, the steering mounted controls should work fine. Check team-bhp.com

      – I don’t find any issues in reversing. I don’t have the parking sensors or reverse camera installed. It can be tricky sometimes, but you’ll get used to it.

    1. Glad you found this review helpful. Third service was done a week back. Oil and oil filter were replaced. Nothing else. Haven’t driven much after the third service, so won’t be able to update much on that front.

    1. One of the other members also faced this issue and getting the wheels balanced fixed it for him. I am going to get the wheels balanced sometime this week or next week. I will update once it is done.

      1. Thanks Ronak, Looking forward to your post on this issue. I was really surprised to see exactly the same problem (even the speed range of 80-85 km/hr was the same) and thought it was probably a manufacturing defect.

        BTW, I TDed Ritz Zxi and liked a lot. Thanks again for your reviews.

        – Shitanshu

        1. Got the wheels balanced and rotated. The issue seems to have been fixed for now. Hasn’t observed the vibration in my short testing. Will update once I get to drive the car consistently at 80 KMPH on highways.

  8. Thanks much Ronak for your detailed response. I would definitely take TD to check which car feels more comfortable and commanding on city as well as on highway. I am also not much fan of speed but 130 kmph is really high! In any case I would not cross 120 kmph but who knows. Some patches of Mumbai-Pune expressway are too tempting and also NH-8 especially between Vadodara and Ahmedabad. (Me Gujju too! :))

    My other question is related to choosing between petrol and diesel. I know neither swift or Ritz had Zdi model but we have to live with that. In team-bhp and elsewhere, the breakeven point between petrol and diesel is not well defined. My usage would be 1000 km/month and two to three Pune-Ahmedabad trips a year. Many reviewer say that 1000 km/month is good enough for petrol but others do not agree to it. I would keep the car atleast for six years and I think with current fuel rates it would take max 3 years to come to breakeven the extra money I pay for Vdi(ABS) as compared to Zxi. Let me know if you have any comments.

    Also, please add any good/not-so-good experiences with your car as its almost 4 months since your last update. How many kms it has run so far?

    1. I am not sure if I can help you in petrol vs diesel dilemma. As my running is low, I had not considered diesel at all. In any case, I didn’t want a car without Airbags, so I would have gone for other manufacturer if I had to buy a diesel car. Six years is a long time and with your running, it should breakeven IMO.

      Regarding update on my car, it has clocked 5000+ KMs. Second service is done. No major issues with the car except some irritating minor rattles (you wouldn’t even notice them if I don’t tell you).

  9. Hi Ronak,

    Very honest review I must say. I have also followed your thread on team-bhp and can say that you are the best reviewer of Ritz so far. I hope you are enjoying every bit of it.

    I just have few questions for you as I am also planning to buy Ritz Zxi soon. You have mentioned that after reducing tyre pressure, the ride quality has improved. Can you please comment how good is the rear seat comfort now? Did you get a chance to have elder person/parents sitting in the back and what is their experience? Some other reviewer reported that the back seat comfort is not good and ride is bumpy (similar to swift). We know that swift suspension is stiffer than that in Ritz to match its sporty character and hence the ride is expected to be bumpy but I would expect Ritz to be significantly comfortable since its suspension is softer. Please comment.

    The other question is about high speed stability and body rolls. Other reviewers reported that highway stability is not good and significant body roll is present even while changing lanes. So it does not feel confident like the swift and speed must be limited to 100kmph. Also, did you get a chance to drive in rainy days and how good is the road grip? If you have TD the swift, can you please compare the drivability. I would expect Ritz to be sensible-to-drive car since its a tall boy and hence body roll can not be avoided but just want to know how “bad” is the driving confidence of Ritz as compared to Swift?

    Hope see your comments soon. I am a bit confused between swift and Ritz but at the moment its 80% Ritz and I just want to confirm the above points before I book the one.

    1. Thanks for appreciation.

      I personally can not comment on the rear seat comfort as I have not experienced it myself. Also, no elderly people have sat in the rear seat so far also. But whenever someone sits in the rear seat of my car, I ask them about the comfort and haven’t got any complaints so far. People have confirmed that it is much better than swift, santro or i10. Sometime back we had gone to Pondicherry where the road condition is not so good, still the rear passengers were at full comfort.

      I am not a big fan of high-speeds. I have driven my Ritz up to 130 KMPH and it felt good. Of course there is body roll as it is a tall boy design, but it is very much controlled because of the weight and width to height ratio of the car. I have not driven a swift yet, so can’t compare it with the swift in this department. I haven’t driven the car on highways during rain, no issues in city in monsoons. My personal advice is, drive swift and ritz back to back to check the body roll etc, have someone sitting in the rear seat to comment on that too. That’s the best way to decide.

  10. Hi, your information was v helpfull to me. I am planning to buy my zxi by aug 15th. hope there would b some improvments by then like the automatic IRVM, improvement on the seating comfort, lights in the boot etc,… Thank you once again

    1. I don’t think there will be any changes to the Ritz in near future. It is selling reasonably well so far and Maruti wouldn’t make any changes unless the model is not selling well. Best of luck for your new car.

  11. Update on mileage.

    Golu has completed 1400 KMs and mileage is on the improving side. 2nd Full tank returned 15.80 KMPL in City with 70% AC ON. Overall very happy with the way car is behaving.

    Took it to half day trip to Krishnagiri some weeks back. It performed really well on highways. As it is still under run-in, didn’t want to push too much. I kept the average speeds hovering around 85-90 KMPH, touching 100 KMPH once in a while. Mileage for this 250 KMs trip was 21.60 KMPL with 100% AC ON.

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