The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza has always been a mouthful to say out loud. Now consider this - Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza AGS - and you're almost thankful they used an acronym instead of Auto Gear Shift, eh? Well, this was the long pending variant for this bestselling subcompact SUV from the market leader in India, and we have finally got it after waiting for months. And now we are also happy to bring you the first official and therefore exclusive review of the much-awaited Maruti Vitara Brezza AMT! The automatic Vitara Brezza was always something the market and people like me had been demanding. Maruti has been selling around 12,000 units every month, and so didn't really need any help with trying to keep volumes up. In fact, it really was manufacturing capacity constraints that have held back variants of certain popular models. After all, the Vitara Brezza was launched in February 2016 with only a diesel manual drivetrain, and the petrol and automatic were expected ever since.
The Autumn Orange colour on the Vitara Brezza AMT is now available on all variants
Read: Maruti Suzuki launches Vitara Brezza AMT
So, Maruti has taken its tried and tested Magneti Marelli sourced automated manual transmission actuator system (or AGS in Maruti speak) for the familiar 5-speed manual gearbox and brought it to the Vitara Brezza range. The same system has been seen on the Swift, Dzire, though I have to say feels better on the Brezza. So let's get down to it. Any AMT involves some subtle jerks and pauses when gear shifts happen. And unless there is a 'creep' function, AMT cars usually start from a standstill with a lurch forward - and boy have we seen that on the Maruti AGS systems of yore. Not any more! Unlike the Dzire's AMT, the Vitara Brezza's is a lot smoother.
The AMT unit on the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza is sourced from Magneti Marelli
The creep function is there too (like in the Tata Nexon AMT), which helps achieve smoother take-off! The gears change is much smoother now and I am quite impressed to find that there is a recalibration on the system based on throttle input. So, if you're driving in city traffic, you will get the little tug when gears change - coupled with that split second lag. However, when you are keen to get sporty, and push the pedal to the metal, the gears hold much longer - all the way to say 4500 rpm in 3rd gear, for instance. This allows the car to move much quicker, and for you to get a better response than you'd expect from an AMT. The same is partly true for downshifts too. The gears hold longer - when coasting along, or slowing down in traffic. And if you want a quick downshift, push the throttle down and a kickdown like response gets the car to drop a gear much quicker. And a lot smoother too!
The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza AMT gets new black wheels which is available in the top-spec variant
The AMT is therefore a welcome addition to the Vitara Brezza lineup. How it compares to the Tata Nexon Hyprdrive is best left to a proper shootout that we will no doubt bring you soon. But I will say this - where the Nexon has more power, and a slightly smoother gearbox, the Brezza has commanding SUV-like ride height, and sportier handling. So it shall be a rather pitched battle, I would reckon! It has not escaped me that both cars donned orange to step out in the automatic avatar. The Autumn Orange on the new Vitara Brezza AGS is a bit more burnt rust and is the same as the one offered on the Baleno. You can get this colour on any variant, not just the AMT, and also without the contrast white roof. Of course, I believe it would have looked way nicer with a black roof to go with the new black wheels, that are also now on offer on the Vitara Brezza. Those are only offered on the top spec variant though. Speaking of black, the interior has also been spruced up, and given an all black treatment. So all the grey bits are gone and the dash now gets an interesting texture in its black finish. All the other things you expect - dual airbags, keyless start and the touchscreen - are all available as per the initial trims. So equipment has not changed and Maruti has played it very smart when it comes to prices.
The Vitara Brezza now comes with all black interiors across variants which look a bit more premium
Read: Maruti Vitara Brezza AMT and Rivals price comparison.
Unlike many others, the market leader has offered the AMT on the top three trims and not just one variant. This means prices range from Rs.8.54 -10.49 lakh. Compare this to just the top trims on offer on the Tata Nexon AMT and Mahindra TUV 300 AMT and the Maruti move looks even more attractive. We already reported how Tata, for instance, is likely to now offer the Nexon AMT in lower variants too. Maruti has also made safety features standard on all variants of the Vitara Brezza.
What sets the Vitara Brezza apart from its rivals is its SUV proportions
So ISOFIX restraint for child seats, a speed limiter warning alert that you can set, reverse-parking sensors, seatbelt pre-tensioners and force limiters, and like I mentioned before - dual airbags and ABS with EBD. That's great news. Now all we wait for is news of the petrol (dare I say 1-litre boosterjet?) model of the Vitara Brezza. For now, the AMT will no doubt boost sales of an already in-orbit superstar.
Read: Tata to launch more Nexon AMT variants