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Old 18th March 2007, 15:42   #1
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Default Zoukie Swift VXi, Updated: 4 years, 24000 kms.

I’ve been waiting to write about my father’s Maruti Suzuki Swift for a while now, and thought post second service to be the perfect time. Gave me ample opportunity to know the car a little better, so here goes.

Spanking Silver (Silky Silver sounds less masculine) Swift was picked up from Spectra Motors, Kandivli (East) on 7th October, 2006. Paperwork and pre delivery formalities, including loan issues were sorted out pretty efficiently by them.

First service carried out at 680 kms. Charged for consumables, namely engine oil and oil filter. Spectra uses Castrol GTX Magnatec. Paid Rs. 714 inclusive of taxes.They seemed very cordial at first service, new bakra and all that. My first tankful read horrible fuel consumption figures, suspect bad fuel, filled at a pump which turned out to be notorious for the same. Averaged almost 8 KM/L. What a way to start an ownership, phew!

First impressions were:
• Contemporary interiors, I like dull dashboards, fake silver plastic accents add some life to the interiors. I absolutely love the dials, red needles on backlight orange dials just do it for me.
• Didn’t have much to say about the engine, was sticking to 2000 rpm limit to about 2000 kms. Seems to generate reasonable torque from 1200 rpm onwards. Gear ratios very tall, good for fuel economy, not so good for overtaking when sticking to 2000 rpm limit.
• I took to the brakes instantly, good pedal feel, pretty progressive too. I’m very finicky about brakes.
• Gear shift had precise throw, though had some trouble slotting in occasionally, hoped it’d get better as I would put more kms on the odo.
• Seats are every generous, they contain my flab extremely well, good lower back support, I like the side bolstering as well, though I could have done with more.
• Car felt solid, doors close with a thunk on the outside, but with a hollow rattle on the inside. I knew this was going to be trouble, and I had already read about horror stories concerning Swift’s indecent cost-cutting. The rubber trims on the outside looked horribly aged right from day one. I inspected 5 other Swifts at the dealership before I settled to take mine.
• The steering is nicely weighted at low speeds, eases up at higher speeds. Though it lacks feel.
• Maruti should be kicked for providing 165/80 R14 JKs on the Swift. They seem like pretty hard compound tyres, combined with stiff Swift suspension, let’s through quite a few of the road’s undulations into the cabin. Not so much of a trouble for a 22 year old with extra flab, is trouble for somebody who is closing into 50 and has a bad back. They start to lose grip pretty easily, but more importantly hamper braking and lose traction under braking from as low as 60 kmph, especially with the recommended 33 psi tyre pressure on all fours. The rear also tends to slide out when cornering and you hit an expansion joint, namely on flyovers, they are very skinny. Tyre upgrade absolute must.

Post 2000 kms, and certain issues started cropping up. Namely, RATTLING WINDOWS. Also, a certain screeching sound from the engine when rpm would be between 1000 and 800 rpm. Nowhere throughout the rpm range otherwise. I get very annoyed with sounds emanating from the car, especially those which are not generic. Add to that, I did not have a stereo in the car, which meant I could hear each and every rattle. There was an odd noise from the rear seat too. I read about “theMAG’s” post on fixes for these rattles, and when I was absolutely sure that I couldn’t take anymore, I took it to the workshop at Spectra Motors, Kandivli(E).

The screeching sound was diagnosed to a faulty tensioner belt, and was replaced under warranty. Rattling was “apparently” fixed with something called HITLON and grease. The fix was useless the minute I drove out of the workshop. I took a little test drive and came back. 20 minutes later another futile fix. About a 1000 kms later, I felt an issue with the clutch, so took it back. Also complained of rattling, and gave them fixes which theMAG told me of. Obviously they hadn’t heard of it, and did some “thook-patti” ka job. After that I went back to them 3 more times, to get the rattling and the clutch play fixed, that is exactly how incompetent they are.

And my issues weren’t rectified. I decided I wouldn’t be going to them ever again. They are very indifferent most of the times, and they have massive workload always. They are always in a rush, not something I appreciate. Also the service advisor I was dealing with got on my nerves pretty easily, as he thought I was somebody who had a lot of time on my hands to kill since I would frequent the workshop. Also, he did get an earful from me the last time around, and he considers himself one of the senior people around, so that didn’t go too well. Also ask “ELF” for some choice words on Spectra Motors.

5000 kms completed on Friday. I decided to give Vitesse, Prabhadevi a shot this time around. Also, I needed a stereo installed. My father being finicky about their warranty scares, wanted me to get it done at an authorized workshop, so I had no choice. Picked up a Pioneer 4950 HU and JBL CS2165C Components for the front and CS2165 Co axials for the back. It had to be a budget system, and I’d like to thank Sam for all his help, myself being the absolute amateur in ICE. They sound good, I’m happy. I can finally leave my discman at home. These go in stock locations in the Swift doors. Vitesse did a good job for the wiring and sort, but could not get the front compos to fit. Quick help from Sam and I was directed to the right people and I’m firing all 4 speakers now. I guess we ought to let people who are good in areas of specialization to handle their jobs.

On the servicing front, Vitesse are much more professional. The service advisor spent a lot of time listening to my gripes, understood the problems too. The car was well presented, on the same day, and my issues were sorted. The rattling has gone down reasonably, surfacing only occasionally, I guess I could blame the roads. The clutch feels much better now, play gone down considerably. My legs don’t hurt anymore while spending hours in Mumbai traffic. Tyre rotation was carried out too. Paid Rs. 0 for the servicing bit. Accessories have been limited to a ZXi spec clock at Rs. 550 and rear parcel tray at Rs. 1000.



Car impressions after 5000 kms:
• Gear shift still an issue, occasionally slots in bad. Will give it some more time. Clutch much better now.
• Engine really gets into it’s act around 3000 rpm. Flies after 4500 rpm where torque peaks. She has hit the limiter around 6600 rpm. Does an indicated 100 kmph in 2nd gear. It’s good to potter around at 80 kmph in 5th gear at 2000 rpm. Overtaking often needs double downshift though.
• Chassis nicely balanced, does oversteer on lift-off though, may catch out unawares. Front end turn-in nice and precise, let down seriously by tyres, steering has little feel.
• Car on an average does about 12-13 KM/L, this includes a mix of highway driving, and some ridiculous city driving in insanely crowded roads. This is usually when my folks are around, this is also when AC is on for 100% of the drive. With me driving, there is no AC, unless it’s on a hot humid afternoon. Haven’t done any accurate fuel efficiency tests though, I’m not complaining either.
• Dashboard is holding up well, no rattles. My gripe still would be the cost-cut interior and exterior trims. I dread the 15000 km mark, hoping the car doesn’t fall apart on the inside.

I’m happy so far, hopefully it won’t spring any surprises in the future.

Last edited by ported_head : 18th March 2007 at 17:35.
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Old 18th March 2007, 16:01   #2
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Nice review, Ported. Your car handles like a dream. I'm surprised you complain about the shift though. Among the new Marutis, it's probably the best.

Congrats on the new ICE!
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Old 18th March 2007, 16:18   #3
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Her Ported head nice review,In my opinion Swift is one of the succesfull car in India,I have driven that car many times of my friends,did not find any problem,i am just crazy for it man,as even i am planning to buy the VXi for myself in about one month.
Your compaints just shook me off dude.
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Old 18th March 2007, 17:23   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v1p3r View Post
I'm surprised you complain about the shift though. Among the new Marutis, it's probably the best.
It's shifts nice, but is temperamental. Sometimes it gets very difficult to slot it into 2nd, it's worse when downshifting from 5th to 4th or sort.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramie2400 View Post
as even i am planning to buy the VXi for myself in about one month.
Your compaints just shook me off dude.
Every car has it's niggles, it's a good car to own. I'd suggest you buy the optional ABS. Or atleast get better tyres.

Last edited by ported_head : 18th March 2007 at 17:25.
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Old 18th March 2007, 17:37   #5
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Apart from the rattles and a slightly bumpy rear seat ride, its a good car.
Nice and honest review ported.

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Old 18th March 2007, 17:47   #6
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Nice honest review Ported.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ported_head View Post
• Maruti should be kicked for providing 165/80 R14 JKs on the Swift. They seem like pretty hard compound tyres, combined with stiff Swift suspension, let’s through quite a few of the road’s undulations into the cabin. They start to lose grip pretty easily, but more importantly hamper braking and lose traction under braking from as low as 60 kmph, especially with the recommended 33 psi tyre pressure on all fours. T
Do try and go lower on the air pressure. Try out 28 psi on all 4 tyres (assuming you are alone 99% of the time in the car). If you are not comfortable , try out 29 - 30 psi what ever suits you fine.

Personally I recommend 28 psi on all 4 tyres.
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Old 18th March 2007, 17:58   #7
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Excellent and straight-forward review, Ported.

Quote:
• I took to the brakes instantly, good pedal feel, pretty progressive too. I’m very finicky about brakes.
Likewise : I love good brakes.

Quote:
On the servicing front, Vitesse are much more professional
Agreed : I have had a great experience with Vitesse during my Esteem days.

Butttttttttttttt am a little miffed at Marutis quality control...or the lack of it. The issues you faced (and some other owners) have no place in a premium hatch costing 5 lakhs. Maruti really needs to focus on quality, which they appear to be treating with a loose hand with all them Swift bookings.
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Old 18th March 2007, 18:45   #8
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I'd suggest you buy the optional ABS.

Hi ported,yes after driving a 2001 ikon 1.3 exi without the ABS, and escaped some mishaps,i feel ABS would be a better option in Vxi.
Thanks for the honest reviews for the car Ported.

cheers...Ramie
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Old 18th March 2007, 19:26   #9
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Ported,

Nice technical review. Its disappointing that you've had gear problems - the Swift's gearbox being a slick shifter otherwise. The only characteristic is the reverse gear engagement not being as smooth as the forward gears.

If Spectra Motors claimes ignorance write to Maruti directly, or call their regional office and report the matter. Spectra's current absolvement from your rattling problem is a breach of Maruti's service guidelines.

You're right about the tall gearing. Its a gorgeous highway car. I recently did 180 kmph @ 4000 rpm. The engine ticks lazily even at that speed.

Finally, change those tyres right away. Get 195/60 R15s and watch the further positive transformation in your Swift's handling.

Enjoy.
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Old 18th March 2007, 20:19   #10
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Thats good review Ported, Swift has some quality issues (its common in every maruti cars), Swift is better car in terms of gearshift but I agree what theMAG says reverse is not as smooth as forward!

About rattles and strange sound its all something to do with Maruti quality! Maruti never give importance to quality and build. Thats very bad I just hate it. If we look from economy point of view Maruti cars work out great, We are yet to see at least one luxury car from Maruti. I hope they make new Baleno luxury sedan!

Few Swifts very nice even driven on bad roads but few unfortunate units have defective stuffs :(

Regards,

Ravi.
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Old 19th March 2007, 11:59   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theMAG View Post
If Spectra Motors claimes ignorance write to Maruti directly, or call their regional office and report the matter. Spectra's current absolvement from your rattling problem is a breach of Maruti's service guidelines.
I did call the MUL Regional Office in Mumbai, and they were very helpful. They did get in touch with Spectra right away, and the latter called me in the next 10 minutes. But rather than Spectra breaching MUL guidelines, it's more a case of their technical incompetence, and I rather have them not fettle around with my car anymore.

Quote:
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Finally, change those tyres right away. Get 195/60 R15s and watch the further positive transformation in your Swift's handling.
Yeah man, I know the tyres are the weakest link right now. But I cannot convince my father enough against the 10,000 other stock tyred Swifts he sees on the road everyday.
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Old 19th March 2007, 12:09   #12
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Nice review Ported.

Quote:
Rattling was “apparently” fixed with something called HITLON and grease.
Didn't you ask them what exactly did in this?
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Old 19th March 2007, 13:26   #13
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HITLON must be a lubricant spray.

Quote:
I like dull dashboards
I like them that way too. Just plain black & grey is fine.
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Old 19th March 2007, 20:40   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moralfibre View Post
Didn't you ask them what exactly did in this?
I did, it's some sort of packing material, and it doesn't work! They will also try and charge you for it, don't fall for it.
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Old 20th March 2007, 11:42   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v1p3r View Post
Nice review, Ported. Your car handles like a dream. I'm surprised you complain about the shift though. Among the new Marutis, it's probably the best.

Congrats on the new ICE!
I was reading the autocar and they said the gear box is one of the best around.
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