Get past the impressive trim on this base model—get used to it as the new normal, actually—and you’ll be more impressed with the Ciaz GL M/T’s powertrain that mates the small but VVT-equipped 1.4L K14B Suzuki engine with the nicely balanced ratios on a manual gearbox topped with an exquisitely positive stick-shift.

img20170223074202You can start by rolling her out like a diesel. Put her in gear and, with your foot off the gas, slowly let off the clutch pedal (letting the clutch plate ease onto the pressure plate) until you feel that initial bite. That’s when you press on the gas and further ease off the clutch pedal at the same time. The engine that can be quick to rev otherwise will then have all its revolutions pushing the sedan forward before you step on the gas in earnest, thus keeping revs down to under 1500rpm.

img20170223075050Then after, even still with just 1500rpm, the impulse to short-shift to save fuel in crawling city traffic is easy to give into. Topping out at 1500rpm, I could shift to second gear at 10, then to third at 25, then fourth at 40 and then finally to overdrive 5th gear at 50 km/h. And all these even with a full passenger load. The result was a quiet drive (onset of throatiness happens at 2000rpm) and fuel savings on city sorties that can impact the entire nation’s bottom-line.

Imagine getting to fourth gear by 40km/h and being able to stay there, lingering at a 1:1.00 direct drive ratio even if your speed drops down by as much as 5km/h, and cruising along with less than 1500rpm that gets you realtime mileage of 13km/l … to repeat, at 40km/h! The number gets to an astounding 20km/l, far as the trip computer is concerned, if you’re lucky enough to hit a fast moving patch and bring it to an overdrive fifth gear, city cruising at 50km/h with under 1500rpm.

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