Suzuki Ritz – The Diesel And The Turbo

Suzuki No longer offers diesel motors in their current portfolio, but when they used to, they made it count. and, it wasn’t even theirs.

Maruti Suzuki no longer offered a diesel powertrain in its cars for a long while now, citing to unjustifiable cost of producing a BS6-compliant engine. The daunting reality of ever-present DPF issues in modern diesel engines that could potentially strand you in the middle of a highway if not looked after properly and the fact that their petrol engines are very frugal and offer similar levels of fuel efficiency as the diesel engine in their respective segments, it makes sense Maruti Suzuki refrained from producing another diesel engine just for the sake of it.

I get to drive the Suzuki Ritz Hatchback from the days when their Fiat-sourced 1.3 Multijet engine was almost found in the majority of Suzuki models. I love it, and it made me appreciate diesel engines for what they are and what they can offer at a reasonable cost.

The Tiny Little, Turbo Monster

I’ve driven diesel cars even before I got my hands on the Suzuki Ritz diesel and I’ve driven a lot of them since, but none of them impressed me before, because the majority of those cars were big and bulky people carriers or SUVs with adequate power to weight ratio, at best. So, driving them never felt exciting or something that would get my enthusiastic juices flowing, maybe except for the Verna with CRDI 1.6 Diesel the thing is a rocket ship on the Indian terrain, but that was after I got to drive the diesel Ritz.

Ritz is powered by a 1.3-litre turbocharged diesel engine, that is capable of producing 73HP and almost 200Nm of torque, although on paper these numbers sound lacklustre and tedious, trust me when I say that it didn’t feel like it needed any more power as this car barely weighs a tonne in dry weight and the engine produces almost 200NM of torque, due to all these factors ritz picks up pace rather quickly and touches 100 kph in under 14 seconds.

Although there is a considerable amount of Turbo lag before 2000 Rpm, as soon as the turbo spools up, the car picks up speed rapidly and you do get a decent amount of kickback on the seat, which I must admit was quite exciting to experience that surge in power when the turbo spools and the engine is in its sweet spot, and if kept up under its power band the car is more than capable of doing 150kph + but I must admit it was quite nerve-racking to experience those speeds in a car that is as light as ritz was but fun nonetheless.

Won’t be an enthusiast car in my books if it could handle a few set twisties, but not so surprisingly this little hatchback was more than capable of taking some corners in a fun and predictable manner, but I must admit, it was very prone to understeer a typical trade of FWD vehicle, but you can avoid it before the front wheel starts to lose tractions as the steering and chassis communicate well and give a good amount of sense on what the front wheels are up to, which makes it quite fun around the corners.

But, it is heavily let down by its 165/80 R14-sized tires which I believe is the main reason for this car, heavy understeer’y behaviour and due to its skinny-sized tires braking is also affected, replacing them with a wider tire will change the car’s character and how it behaves around a bend.

It is an enthusiast car if you want it to be, at the end of the day it is a run-of-the-mill hatchback from Suzuki, but, it still embodies the character you expect from a car that can make driving worth your while, and what more do one need from a car to have some fun at a bare minimum, it should be cheap, reliable and more importantly fun and Suzuki Ritz ticked all of those boxes and on Indian roads its more than enough.

You, know what was very surprising to me at the end of the run, all those shenanigans I did in that car, playing around the corners, accelerating hard at every possible instance and all it cost me was 400 /- rupees in diesel with 70 km travelled. Now I wasn’t trying to attempt a hypermiling but the claimed figures of fuel economy from this 4-pot oil burner is 22km/l I would say I got pretty close to achieving it, without even trying. With prices starting from 2,50,000/- Indian rupees in the used car market for the Ritz diesel it makes all the sense in the world to get one if you have the means to, and have all the fun you can while being very gentle on your pocket. 

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