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Old 20th May 2009, 00:14   #1
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Default shibujp's Swift Diesel Long term report - 1,30,000 kms update

May 21st, 2008 was the day we first met. A white Swift Vdi and me. The first car I bought with the Gandhis that I earned. My 101st post and a long term review of the Swift. i think its fitting.

I was never in the market for a car per se. It just sort of happened. Late Feb 2008 I took a passing interest in a Swift diesel. I had fixed a budget of 6 lakhs for a new car, alloys and a music system. The Swift at that time was round about 20k above my budget so I decided it would have to wait. And to be frank I was pretty happy with my 800 - freeflow and all. But then the Indian government decided to help my cause by lowering the excise duty which effected a 18k cut in the price of the Swift. From a passing interest I was now VERY interested. Took a test drive and the DDiS engine floored me with it's rev happy nature. At that point the deal was done.

Arranged a bank loan from SBI. I was prepared for the lengthy processing time and hence did not have any problems with the fact that it took me 2 weeks to get the loan approved. The car arrived after around 45 days initially being promised in 25 days. Seems that the Maruti factory ran out of white paint due to the unanticipated demand for white Swifts.

Tyres and Alloys
In the meantime I got a set of Neo alloys from Mumbai. The finish could be improved but I liked the design and they were a value buy at 12,500/- including freight. I started shopping around for the Bridgestone Potenza GIIIs 195/65 R14s. This was round the time that Bridgestone started manufacturing the Potenzas in India which earlier used to be imported from Japan. This created a shortage of 65 profile tyres. My regular dealer had only two tyres left. duh..uh...I could not run a Swift on two tyres could I? So I began phoning up dealers all over Kerala for the tyres. I turned up at a shop in Kottayam that assured me they had 4 tyres to spare only to find that this was a problem with their stock taking software and they had only 1 left. On the bright side that only left me with one more tyre to find. Shot off a mail to Bridgestone Cochin and they very kindly checked with their dealers and located a dealer in Chalakudy who had 5 tyres. So I drove 150km to Chalakudy and got the tyres.

A week before the car was delivered I got the tyres mounted on the alloys, balanced and ready. Now all that was ready except for the car. Here was I, an example of the malayalam saying "Got the mahout and the elephant stick, the only thing that is missing is the elephant!!"

On May 20th the sales person at AVG motors called me up with the wonderful news that my car had finally arrived and would be delivered on May 21st. 5 PM on May 21st saw me turn up at AVG and there was my white Swift waiting at the front of the showroom. The alloys were unloaded from my trusted 800 and fitted on the Swift. Final formalities of the key handover and a photograph later and I fired her up for the first time. The smell of the interiors of a new car - boy do I love it. After few years of test driving new cars here was I with a new car of my very own.

That was a year ago and now as I sit here writing this the Swift's done 33,000km and spoiling for more. I am here to write a long term review aren't I? So let me get down to it.

The Swift is a looker. You either love the design or hate it. It's got a personality and I loved it. Wider tyres and alloys - they complete the package. The little design changes on the front and rear bumper improved the design if anything. The flared wheel arches, high waistline, the fighter plane cockpit-like look with the blacked out A and B pillars just look awesome. Especially on the white cars, when viewed from a distance the greenhouse looks almost black and the contrast is awesome. The black bits like the edge of the door mirror, the grill, the fog lamp enclosure and the lower bumper opening are just spot on without carrying the black theme overboard. Black alloys complete the look.

I got a set of original Suzuki mud flaps for the car. Cost me around 250/-.

Well, some are of the opinion that the dark grey interior looks dull and boring but I love them. Even a year on, I still haven't tired of them. The plastics are not the best in the business but are not low quality either. I love the kind of design on the interior plastics of the Swift.

The only addition that I made to the interiors other than the ICE was a good steering grip that gave the steering a good meaty feel.

The Swift's cabin is not a practical place. It's dark and slightly claustrophobic for people who love a sense of space or airiness. There is a certian lack of cubbyholes to store the knick knacks that you accumulate over time. This results in stuff overflowing out of the cup holders, the door pockets, the seat pockets etc. When it gets a bit out of hand, i have a simple solution - I throw the excess into the boot and concentrate on the fun stuff - driving the Swift. This means that once in a while I have to embark on a spring cleaning mission to clear the junk out of the car.

A couple of minor inconveniences that I encountered in the course of ownership was the fact that the headlamp leveling switch is not lighted meaning that at night you are at loss to figure out which level it is set at. Another one is that at 5'11'', my height seems to be at that perfect level that the top of the steering obstructs my view of the turn indicator lights in the speedo console. This means that at times I forget that my indicators are on. I sometimes duck my head to ensure that the lights are not on. Must look peculiar to onlookers on the road.

All in all it's become a most comfortable place for me. The dark interiors, claustrophobia et al dissolve into nothing when I'm at the wheel.

Ride and Handling
If you love cars that handle well, the Swift is a car you'll love. A car that loves being chucked through corners, I love hurrying the car through corners. On flowing corners, it's a joy to string a series of left and right together using only engine braking and smooth steering and throttle inputs. But be warned, there's a wild side. Too much over the limit and she goes wild as i found out after a skid rounding a curve at 120kmph. Yep, it was downright stupid of me and I can only say that I was lucky that it was at 3 AM in the morning when the road was deserted.the car and I came out of the experience unscathed. Bumpy roads do get the car unsettled and this is one drawback of the stiff suspension. However the suspension smooths out after around 10k km in my experience to an agreeable level. The suspension works better on moderately rough roads at higher speeds than at slower speeds. I think this might be a by product of the rally roots.

The ride is fine on smooth roads but it's a bit bumpy for back seat passengers on rough roads. This again can be attributed to the suspension. However the ride improves when the car is fully loaded with 5 people.

Performance, Braking and the ilk
One rev happy diesel this is!! Keep things below 2500 rpm and you're missing the point. Shift at 3000rpm and the drive takes a totally different perspective. The boost roundabouts of 2000 rpms can catch you unawares especially in traffic situations but slowly you learn to hold the revs just below this level and then let her rip to zing into the gap thats just opened up. This also does mean that you're working the shift sometimes holding the car in a lower gear. But then the short shifting gear stick works to your advantage. I've found that blipping the throttle a bit before you shift down helps smooth out the shift. Sometimes you get struck in that spot where it's too high and rpm for a lower gear and too low an rpm for a quick pass in a higher gear. At these point I just grit my teeth and slowly wait till the rpm pick up in the higher gear. Not always but I do get caught out in this zone once in a while.

Blind spots are a way of life and quick looks over your shoulder to check out for motorists on the sides are mandatory. i have taken to using my indicators while overtaking, changing lanes etc much more in this car. Over time you pick up a few tricks to minimise the risk.

Braking is one department where the Swift could use some more punch and I mean it. Even with 195 GIIIs I did have an accident with a scatter brained cyclist(Mr Smart decided to take a U turn on the road after crossing it halfway) when my tyres locked up after some hard braking. Without engine braking the Swift's braking just can't do justice with the pick up this car is capable of.

The OEM headlights are worthless. Both high and low beams are seriously lacking to an extent where it's dangerous to drive on unlit highways at night. A pair a good headlamp bulbs is a necessary investment in this respect. I use 55/60 Osram Silverstars which serve my purposes well.

My car has some quirks. Sometimes grumpy in the mornings, hot days. Looses that smooth edge and becomes all revy with no corresponding increase in power. At such times I take it easy for a few kilometers shifting early and avoid over revving the engine and quick downshifts. Things generally get better and the car comes back to it's natural feel. I usually drive till almost empty and then fill up. Immediately after a fillup I've noticed the above described phenomenon. Might be an effect of the engine adjusting to the increase weight of the fuel.

Services, Maintenances and Mileage
At 17k I noticed an hum at the rear of the car at speeds above 60kmph. This was diagonised as a complaint in one of the rear wheel bearings. The part was replaced free of cost under warranty.

Another problem reported at 20k was a problem with one of the horns. The horn on the right side seemed to conk out at will.Driving over rough roads made it come back to life again. This was diagonised as a problem with the horn diaphragm. The offending noise maker was duly replaced under warranty.

Other than this the Swift has been generally complaint free(TOUCHWOOD). Diet is IOC XtraMile from day one. I get a consistent mileage of 16.5 - 17 kmpl. Best 19 kmpl Worst 14.5kmpl. Oil - Mobil Delvac Super 1300.

Service costs so far was 5200 - 20k service and 2600 - 30k service.

Wrapping my long term review...hoping to write another one at 66,000kms .
Drive on!!
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Old 20th May 2009, 00:31   #2
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that is a nice review man! time for some pics now.
it is advisable to use normal diesel with swift d. they say it gives away less smoke.
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Old 20th May 2009, 09:50   #3
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Wowo shiju thats some serious mileage that you have accumulate there .

Well written experince could be made even better with some pictures of your car.

regarding premium diesel , i would prefer to fill in normal diesel for two reasons

1. for longer diesel pump life
2. easy availability on long distance drives.
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Old 20th May 2009, 10:14   #4
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great review shibu!

maruti advises to use only normal diesel as the additives in the premium diesel could spoil the injectors.
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Old 20th May 2009, 10:34   #5
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Great update and review shibu, now why dont you snap some pics and upload it here. Wanna see those alloys also
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Old 20th May 2009, 10:40   #6
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Great wrte up, very informative. Thanks a lot !
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Old 20th May 2009, 13:26   #7
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Default Swift

Nice review shibu....congrats
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Old 20th May 2009, 21:20   #8
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Default Pics

Thanks a lot guys for the nice comments.

Here are a few pics not in my garage.
Pic 1: On the Erode - Coimbatore road. The spots on the front bumper are bug fatalities. I seemed to have killed quite a few on that drive!!
Pic 2 - 4 : Taken when the car was brand new. @Jaggu - the alloys for you.

On the diesel questions - well I've personally noticed that the noise seemed a bit more at first. However it lessened after a few 100 kms of running. The pick-up seems better too (seat-of-pants meter!!). I did test it shifting to normal diesel for a 1000kms or so.

Regarding smoke - have not really checked that out.

I talked to the technical supervisor at AVG. What he told me was they don't have any recommendations as long as I stick to one. No switching back and forth. I used Xtra Premium for around 70,000 kms on my 800 and didn't have any bad experiences. I am of the personal opinion that as long as you stick to one type it's fine.
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Last edited by shibujp : 20th May 2009 at 21:24.
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Old 21st May 2009, 00:46   #9
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Great review Shibu. Its nice to see someone with a Vdi who doesn't have problems touchwood! Your car looks mint!
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Old 21st May 2009, 00:50   #10
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Nice review Shibu! and mint condition the car looks even after the 33000 km run.
Too good !
I ll ask the inevitable question.How is the turbo kick ? and at what rpm does it spool in 2nd gear ?
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Old 21st May 2009, 09:57   #11
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great review. all positives and negatives of the car detailed quite nicely. all the best. enjoy and drive safe.
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Old 21st May 2009, 11:14   #12
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Nice review Shibu. The alloys look good in real life (see your car now and then on by-pass); but it looks more than R14 !

And was wondering how many of you idle after starting and before switching off your car. Most Swift owners dont.

Please PM me your number.

Last edited by jkdas : 21st May 2009 at 11:16.
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Old 21st May 2009, 14:22   #13
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Thanks folks.

@humyum - I hear the turbo whistle start at around 1800 rpm or so. Sometimes when the engine in grumpy as i mentioned in my initial post the kick comes at around 2200 - 2400rpm. But mostly I usually feel the pull just after 2000rpm. I think this is in 2nd. However I don't monitor it all that closely. Again if you've got a cleaner air filter (I usually clean it every 5000km or so. DIY listed in Jaggu's thread) the drive improves.

@JK - I am one of the Swift users who don't idle. Diesel engines take such a long time to warm up(for the dang temp needle to move from cold) when left in idle. What I do is keep the car in the lower gears and restrain my revs till the engine start warming up (the needle moves to about a 1/4th position). Then again this is most of the time. Once in a while I do forget to do this. I do let it idle for around 10 seconds or so before I switch it off.

Drive on,
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Old 21st May 2009, 15:01   #14
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I think the reason for the idle before/after shutdown/start is to prevent the turbo bearings from coking. I suppose restraining the revs should be as good
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Old 21st May 2009, 15:10   #15
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Nice review Shibu. Looks like we are developing some great user stories for prospective buyers.
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