2022 Maruti Grand Vitara: The making of the bigger Brezza



Situated around 60km from Delhi is an integral part of the Indian automotive story. It’s the birthplace of a few best-selling cars in the country. It’s where cars jump out of computer screens and clay modelling studios into the real world. A world that has 33 test tracks and around 250 testing and validation labs. And it’s here that Maruti has shaped and honed its most important model in over a decade, the new Grand Vitara. 

Welcome to Maruti Suzuki’s research and development centre in Rohtak, Haryana. This 600-acre facility was built with an investment of 3,800 crore to test and validate everything from new components to powertrains to new technology and, of course, deliver cars with good crash-worthiness. It’s also a place so secretive that one has to give up their belongings like cellphones and bags and what have you and seek permission to use the john. A typical R&D facility, then… 

Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara Left Front Three Quarter

Consumer focus

In some ways, yes. But the fact that it shares co-development responsibilities with Suzuki’s R and D centre and proving ground in Japan, and is built to the same spec and adherence limit as the latter, does give it great cachet. Now, the Rohtak facility might develop global models, but its focus continues to be on serving the Indian customer needs best. And it is in this context that we were invited to check out some of Rohtak’s 250 R&D labs since the new Grand Vitara owes its customer-centricity to them.

This centre has additional responsibilities too. It is supposed to be the incubator for future technologies and a trend reader for what will happen. On that count, Rohtak is already working and readying itself for the introduction of ADAS, 5G connectivity-related tech, and democratising aspirational features, which are currently the dominion of luxury cars. Furthermore, the facility is also working on getting Maruti – and Suzuki with it – further ready in terms of powertrain solutions. 


It is working on updating its IC engines to meet upcoming emission norms as a short-term solution. It’s also working on developing new engines to run on alternate fuels like ethanol-heavy E85 and E100, as well as Bio-CNG. This is Maruti’s medium-term solution to the expected change in government norms for passenger vehicles. And finally, for the long term, it is developing hybrids and EVs that are affordable, practical, and aspirational.   

And now to the labs…

Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara Right Front Three Quarter


The first lab we visited was the Semi-Anechoic Chamber. It’s here that the Grand Vitara’s NVH was worked upon and improved. Now, when we drove the new Vitara during the same visit, it was apparent Maruti has upped the refinement levels to match Vitara’s expected pricing, which will almost touch Rs 20 lakh. And it was done using this chamber and on-road testing, of course. 

Maruti uses all sorts of microphones in this lab hooked to relevant software – including a 3D acoustic camera on the inside of the car – to gauge the overall noise levels and isolate abnormal noises. Then it’s up to the engineers what they want to do with the findings based on its intrusiveness to human hearing and the cost and weight associated with adding insulation. Naturally, the benchmark on what’s acceptable and what’s good is a function of the segment the car operates in instead of it being an absolute value. 

Next, we popped into the Drivetrain Testing lab. It’s here that Maruti works towards squeezing out a million miles to a litre of fuel from its powertrains. Something the new Grand Vitara showcases as well. But that’s not all that the lab does. It also runs engines on test beds for cycles on end to test durability, effectiveness, and NVH. These test beds simulate real-world driving and usage conditions and sometimes in extreme temperatures as well. According to Maruti, this lab can handle testing and evaluation of different types of powertrains, from manual and automatic-equipped ICE to hybrid and EVs. Furthermore, with the Jimny and the Grand Vitara using 4WD and AWD drive configurations, respectively, this lab can handle FF, FR, 2WD and AWD layouts too. 

Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara Left Side View

Road and lab

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The one I enjoyed watching the most, however, was the tyre-coupled load-simulator which is part of the full vehicle durability test facility. Here – in layman terms – a car’s four wheels are placed on four separate posts. These posts are hydraulically actuated and work independently of each other. These are, however, connected via a software program, which can be fed with real-world road conditions. 

So, one can simulate low-frequency, high-amplitude undulations to high-frequency, low-amplitude impacts, which are your rumbler strips or a row of closely packed plastic speed-breakers. And then, this data can be used to configure the suspension honing the travel, stiffness, and damping characteristics to help return a pliant but stable ride. And that’s precisely what we found on the Grand Vitara when we drove it over speed breakers at low speed and high on the city test circuit. It didn’t jar us on impact, and its rear stayed well planted, showcasing a good balance of suspension travel and unhurried damping. And like almost every other lab at Rohtak, this one too is designed to run continuously to speed up the ageing process and reduce testing times. 

Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara Left Side View

The big deal

Finally, we headed to the crash test facility. And here’s the icing on the cake: visiting such facilities and getting briefed on crash test procedures isn’t uncommon for journalists. But, to witness an actual crash test is extremely rare. In over 20 years of my motoring journalism career, I have only seen it five times, this being the fifth occasion. And no matter how prepared you are to witness it, the impact, both visually and aurally, never fails to jolt you. But, it’s the aftermath that tells the real story. Was there any significant deformation to the passenger cell? Did the doors open? Were there any life-threatening injuries to the million-dollar, super-sensitive dummies? And it’s only when the test engineers walk away with positive answers to these and many other such safety-related questions that a car gets a green flag.   

Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara Right Side View

We witnessed the 64kmph, 40 per cent offset crash of the Brezza, which is what GNCAP carries out for its star ratings. For those not in the know, the Brezza and the Grand Vitara are built on the same Suzuki TECT Global C platform. And with the older Brezza having scored four stars in GNCAP, we expect the new Brezza and the Grand Vitara to do as well, if not better. And it is this facility that helped Suzuki get these results. Furthermore, with Maruti concentrating on both 56kmph and 64kmph going forward, the crash-worthiness of its cars is only expected to get better.

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