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Old 27th September 2011, 10:41   #1
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Default Maruti Swift : Test Drive & Review

The Maruti Swift has been launched in India at a price of 4.22 - 6.38 Lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you’ll like:

• Snazzy styling packs appeal. Interiors are well-designed too
• Competent engine range. Very refined motors
• Balanced ride and handling. Superbly tuned suspension
• Terrific fuel efficiency, especially from the diesel
• Effortless to drive in the city; lots of fun on the highway
• Maruti’s excellent after-sales service & wide dealer network

What you won’t:

• Small, impractical boot. Luggage capacity is severely restricted
• Mediocre brakes (LXi / LDi & VXi / VDi). Inadequate for emergency braking conditions
• Looks nearly identical to the outgoing generation car
• Rear seat space, though improved, still isn't "spacious"
• Pricey ZXi / ZDi variants
• Long waiting period for delivery. Runs over 6 months in some cities

NOTE: Click any picture to open a larger higher-resolution version in a new window.

Last edited by GTO : 6th November 2014 at 20:36.
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Old 27th September 2011, 10:41   #2
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Default re: Maruti Swift : Test Drive & Review



The Hyundai Getz was the 1st truly premium hatchback in India, but it's the Maruti Swift that gave the A2 premium segment the first successful car. Right from the time of launch in 2005, the Swift has been a game changer. To say that it annihilated the Hyundai Getz, Ford Fusion & Opel Corsa Sail would be an understatement. The Swift is perhaps the only Indian hatchback with a waiting period from introduction to the final day of production. While the petrol variants (1.3L Esteem powerplant initially, replaced later by the contemporary 1.2 K series) fared decently well, the Fiat-sourced 1.3L diesel took market performance to an entirely different level. In its 6 year shelf life, the 1st generation Swift sold a whopping 6 lakh copies! And in the final 6 months of production (Jan – June 2011), the ol’ Swift managed an average tally of 11,200 units / month. Talk of saying goodbye in style, eh? The wide appeal of this car is mind boggling. You as an enthusiast like it, your conservative father likes it, the fashionable aunt likes it, the college going student likes it, and the well-to-do semi urban / rural customer likes it too. The Swift is a rare mass market car that is also fun to drive, a hatchback that appeals to the gearhead as well as the common Anand. The 1st generation garnered a cult following for itself in India, and I don’t expect the 2nd gen to be any different.

No surprise then, that Maruti Suzuki played it very safe with the new Swift. Their conservative approach to the next generation car is similar to that of the new WagonR (launched last year), which also boasted of the "same formula, only improved" methodology. Smart decision? Here is your answer : 100,000+ bookings in less than 2 months of launch! That number is higher than the total annual sales of most of its competitors. Additionally, ~80% of these bookings are for the diesel. It may be noted that the diesel : petrol ratio in 2010 was 65:35. On a related note, Maruti’s labour problems couldn’t have come at a worse time, and it’s unfortunate that the Maruti management & workers haven’t been able to see eye to eye yet. Trouble really intensified on 29th August 2011 after Maruti asked its workers to sign a “good conduct” bond. Fortunately, production levels increased in the last week, with Maruti producing 600 odd Swifts daily, from the Manesar & Gurgaon factories.

Maruti Swift : Test Drive & Review-swiftcomparo.jpg

The 2011 Swift looks nearly identical to the car it replaces. In fact, save for the trained eye, the masses won't be able to tell the new from the old. Your unassuming neighbour won't ever know you got the latest model home, the cars look that similar. On the flip side, there isn't a doubt that the 2nd generation Swift looks fresh and still has the spunk. Make no mistake, it's based on an all-new platform that is 90 mm longer now, with an additional 40 mm of wheelbase length thrown in. Personally, I love the looks and find it fascinating how the same design ideology that was revealed a decade back (Suzuki Concept "S") can still be tweaked to look modern enough. The increased length is obvious when viewed from the side; this along with the wider stance makes the new Swift look more substantial. The large headlamps are stretched out, while the ORVMs get integrated blinkers. If there's one area I find fault with, it's the ungainly rear end design. The bumper has become too big, and the actual hatch (lid) too small. the vertical area appears to be taken up by the massive bumper itself! The new Swift is bigger, yet lighter thanks to several weight saving measures such as a plastic fuel tank (instead of metal), super-thin window glasses (more on that later) and the overall use of lighter metals. The petrol tips the scale at up to 30 kilos lesser, and the diesel by 15 kg (variant to variant). Panel gaps pass the test for the most part, though there are some areas where the clearances are unduly large (like where the hatch meets the C Pillar, for example). Build quality is par for the course; no, there’s no European solidity or even the “thud”, but its good enough for the price point at which the Swift starts. The use of lighter weight metal is seemingly obvious; the rear “spoiler” feels as thin as a tin can when you tap on it, while the rear hatch is also extremely light.

Maruti Swift : Test Drive & Review-swiftprice.jpg

Maruti used to offer ABS as an option on the earlier "V" variants, and it's inexplicable that the same has been taken away on the new Swift. What makes matters worse is that the "L" and "V" variants have poor brakes, since it's only the "Z" level that receives the "brake assist" feature. While Maruti is tight-lipped on what brake assist means, from my drive in the ZXi, I can assure you that brake assist = bigger brake booster. The elusive ZDi variant is finally offered on the new Swift. I think, for the additional equipment you get (namely BETTER brakes, ABS with EBD, Driver / Passenger Airbags, Audio with Radio / CD Player, Aux / USB inputs, 6 Speakers, Rear wash & wipe, Driver seat height adjustment, Climate control and 185/65 tyres on 15" alloy wheels), the ZDi is completely worth the difference over the VDi. However, thanks to the VDi’s higher range pricing, the ZDi when viewed in isolation does come across as pricey (most BHPians seem to agree on the launch thread). If you live down South, the on-road price will cross Rs. 7.5 lakhs. That's quite a lot of money for a budget Maruti hatchback. It’s not going to have too many takers at this price point and, if you are absolutely keen on safety features, the Figo Titanium looks like super value for money. Also, I noticed that many BHPians who were considering the ZDi inevitably brought the i20 CRDi into the picture. The new Swift is between 18 - 35K more expensive, variant to variant, depending on where you live. The Ritz now becomes Maruti's entry-point car in the A2 premium segment, while the Swift's "Z" variants move up against the Polo, i20 and gang.

This car has received a 5 star rating in the NCAP (Link). Sure, the European Swift gets more safety kit & airbags, yet the 5 star rating says a lot about the crash worthiness of the monocoque.



Identical face to the outgoing car but hey, I'm not complaining. New Toothy grill design works:


Ungainly rear end looks weird. Bumper is simply too big, and the hatch too small. Notice how number-plate position has moved up. Rear fog lamp placed stylishly, just like the old Swift, at the bottom. Exhaust tip is almost fully concealed from view:


Increased length obvious. Shockingly, the rear window has gotten even tinier!!


Smart looking large headlamps:


Fog lights aren't powerful:


Slick tail-lights:


165/80 R14 tyres on the lesser variants, while the Z level gets a 185/65 R15 size. Our test car was equipped with after-market 185/70 R14 rubber. 14" wheels - and even the ZDi's 15" alloys - simply fail to fill the large wheel well adequately:


Blackened A-Pillar is an extremely classy touch. Also notice the integrated blinkers on the wing mirror:


Front wheel wells are only partially cladded:


The ORVMs now feel sturdier than the fragile units of the outgoing car. Bikers will no longer leave you with 4 figure bills. Wide wing mirrors offer a sufficient field of view:


Gives head-banging an all new meaning! Ingress / egress is pathetic, and you will frequently bang your head when getting into the car:


A look at the short length of the rear hatch:

Last edited by GTO : 12th October 2011 at 20:44.
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Old 27th September 2011, 10:42   #3
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Default re: Maruti Swift : Test Drive & Review



It’s on the inside where you will really notice the improvement. Compared to the bare bones interior of the older car, that of the new Swift feel decidedly superior. The overall grade of plastic is only a level up; it's the design & the way that they've been screwed together that is a step in the right direction. Except for the gear lever, lousy power window switches (which look completely out of place in this car BTW) and some other buttons (like the one for the fog lamps), there is nothing that the new Swift has in common with the old. While the Swift still isn’t exactly premium, overall look & feel are considerably better now. I really liked the generous use of silver accents all over the inside, and how they break the sea of black monotony. The textured plastic on the dashboard & door panels is a nice touch, as are the chrome door handles. The center console wears a Kizashi inspiration, while the 3 spoke steering wheel looks great. Don’t get me wrong though, there’s no Fabia-style premiumness or even quality that’s equivalent to the Polo or i10. The interiors do have some cheap bits (seat adjust handle, for instance), but that is expected from a Maruti in this segment. Let me put it this way : Those who buy the entry-level petrol @ 4.22 lakhs will be pleased with the quality. On the other hand, ZDi owners who pay 7.5 lakhs OTR for their diesel Swift will not be raving about the quality, as i20 owners do. I must add that the all black effect can get heavy and make one feel claustrophobic. In fact, black makes the cabin look smaller than it actually is. Atleast as an option, beige interiors should have been offered. Beige would greatly make the cabin feel bright & airy.

The front seats are snug-fitting, and Suzuki engineers have gotten the driving position spot on. Support from the driver's seat is absolutely fab. The seat compound is on the softer side. While most prefer the softer seats for short urban commutes, I can assure you that firmer seats offer better support over long drives. The chosen upholstery feels durable, albeit the quality of stitching is crude. The driving position is higher now, lending the driver with superior visibility. In fact, even shorter drivers won’t miss seat height adjustment (unavailable on the lower L & V variants). The long-travel front seats will easily accommodate those of you who are over 6 feet in height. The 3-spoke steering wheel is great to hold (though I'd have preferred it to be meatier), and the smooth gear shift lever falls right into your hand. Unfortunately, the horn pad doesn't extend out, and you will have to stretch your thumb to honk (somehow, a frequent occurrence in India!). The instruments are easy to read, while the silver outline on the dials looks classy. The MID now throws out information on real-time & average fuel efficiency, along with a useful distance to empty counter. Foot well width is par for the course; no dead pedal, yet there is sufficient space to the left of the clutch pedal to rest your foot. The dashboard is positioned on the higher side, but not enough to be a cause of complaint (like in the Polo). While frontal & lateral visibility is good, rearward visibility is pathetic, thanks to the small rear windscreen and interior mirror. Thankfully, the ORVMs are big enough and offer a good field of view.

Shockingly, the “shin” area of my leg kept hitting against the plastic panel right above the clutch, when fully pressing the clutch pedal. To the point where it started hurting after 60 minutes of driving & constantly changing gears. Note that this is down to the driving position, and friendly Moderator Stratos didn’t face the same issue. On the other hand, in his driving position, his left knee kept hitting against the waterfall console in an annoying manner. If you are anything over 5’8” in height, you can bet that you will face either of the two problems mentioned here.

The rear seat is better than the outgoing Swift (Maruti claims 20 mm more of knee room), and two 5'10" adults can fit on the back seat. This still isn’t a bench that I would term as very comfortable or “spacious” though. The Swift is a compact hatchback and space is at a premium. The scooped-in seat back (of the front seats) helps in releasing some extra knee room for rear passengers. And, as a thoughtful touch, the part where your legs would hit the underside of the front seat is soft & cushioned. The rear seat does feel flat, especially after sitting on the awesome front seats. While back support is good, under-thigh support is strictly average, thanks to the shorter length of the seat. The door armrests are wide enough to rest your forearm on. Also, the rear seat is placed noticeably higher than the front and thus, helps that much more with frontward visibility. The rear neck restraints protrude out, and can be height-adjusted to provide perfect support. They aren’t super-soft pillows like the Liva’s though, that you can bury your head into. Unfortunately, head-room is severely limited by the sloping roof. The taller amongst you will have less than an inch of clearance from the roof (check picture below). And in that situation, if your driver misses a speed bump, you will definitely hit the roof. Further, the small rear windows will make you feel like you are traveling in the cargo compartment of a train. Believe it or not, the windows are now smaller than even the tiny ones of the outgoing car! Lastly, ingress to / egress from the rear seat is inconvenient and definitely won’t suit the elderly. I forget the number of times I banged my head on the roof; BHPian Vikram18 was even banging his head when getting onto the front seat.

The OEM stereo (ZXi / ZDi variants) and its 4 speaker + 2 tweeter setup sounds rather good for a stock unit. The bass, especially, is amongst the best I've heard from factory audio. Most buyers won't see the need to upgrade, except for the nutjobs who visit our ICE forum section . The OEM head-unit also gets the very useful AUX / USB inputs.

In terms of storage, there are the ubiquitous cubby holes right ahead of the gear lever. All 4 doors get door pockets (the one’s at the front are well designed), and the glovebox is reasonably large too. The novel pop-out can holder (under the side air-con vent) will be liked by front passengers. The two seat back pockets (behind both front seats) are very practical. The rear door pockets get a bottle holder and a segregated compartment for the odd item (e.g. cell phone). The recessed area above the glovebox can be used for oddities as well. Space between the gear lever and the handbrake could have been utilized better to offer a long cubby hole (like in the Ritz). Where the new Swift falls flat on its face is in the luggage compartment area. While the old Swift had a boot capacity of 230 liters, the new car actually loses 26 liters of cargo space, bringing capacity down to 204 liters. Also, loading is more difficult now, because of the higher + narrower mouth. You better have a strong back! Considering the upper variant’s pricing as a premium hatch, this could be a deal breaker to many an Indian family. Even the Santro gets a bigger boot, while most competitors offer capacity in the range of 275 – 300 liters. The Honda Jazz has all of 384 liters. I don't understand why a 60:40 splitting rear seat is missing, especially when the cheaper Ritz & WagonR (all variants) get this feature.

While an overcast day with frequent showers didn’t make for ideal conditions to test the air-con, suffice to say that it kept the cabin chilled. Owners of the previous generation Swift were satisfied with the car's air-conditioner and I don't expect the new car to be any different. On a related note, I must add that the side air-con vents are meek and don't throw out a respectable amount of air.

3-spoke steering wheel is nice to hold & light to use. Too bad that the horn pad isn't wide enough. You will have to stretch your thumb to honk:


Classy dial arrangement. Similarities with that of Hondas evident. I love the silver outlines, and the fact that the Swift retains a temperature gauge (unlike some recent launches):


Gearshift is smooth to use. The one mated to the petrol is even lighter:


You can toggle through data on average fuel efficiency, instant FE and distance-to-empty:


Budget-quality stalks are rock-hard to the touch, yet feel durable:


Front seats offer superb support:


An ergonomic failure. The shin area of my leg kept hitting against the plastic panel on top of the clutch pedal. It actually got painful after a couple of kms:


While Stratos didn't face the previous issue, his left knee kept hitting against the waterfall console. Terribly annoying!


Notice how the long silver streak breaks the monotony of black. Front door pockets are accommodating, and can hold a 1 liter bottle too:


Power window switches (from the previous gen Swift) look awfully out of place in this car. The ORVM adjustment knob feels fragile and won't last the distance. Driver window gets the one-touch-down function:


Pop-out can holder is a novel touch. Air-con vent on top should keep your cold Pepsi....well, cold. In this close-up shot, the nicely textured plastic is visible:




Wide, practical glove compartment:


Useless interior rear view mirror. Too small:


As is the rear windscreen. Poor visibility of the traffic behind you:


Improved leg room. Notice how the scooped-in seat back releases extra space:


Back support is satisfactory, under-thigh support only average:


The taller amongst you will be left wanting for more head room. Barely an inch of clearance from the roof. And if your driver misses spotting a speed breaker...


Tiny rear window + black interiors make the rear environment similar to that of a cargo train:


Floor hump isn't as bad as in the Polo. Will still interfere with the 5th occupant's feet though:


Abysmally impractical 204 liter boot. The high loading bay makes matters even worse:


Thankfully, the seat does fold down for when you need that flexibility. No 60:40 split like the Ritz & WagonR though:

Last edited by GTO : 12th October 2011 at 20:49.
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Old 27th September 2011, 10:42   #4
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Default re: Maruti Swift : Test Drive & Review

The 2nd generation Swift has the same engine options as the outgoing model. The main difference being, the state of tune that they operate in, and that the petrol gets variable valve tech (on the intake side only):

1.3L Diesel:



Crank the diesel Swift and the first thing you'll notice is the substantially improved refinement level. The engine settles into a nice idle. Maruti engineers have clearly worked hard at improving overall refinement levels which are, honestly, better (all through the revv range) than some diesel C segment sedans. While engine noise is well controlled within the city, even on the highway, you would be hard-pressed to tell that it's a diesel when cruising at a 100 - 120 kph.

This 1.3L diesel engine is rated at 74 BHP (@ 4,000 rpm) and 190 Nm of torque (@ 2,000 rpm). There is definite lag under 2,000 rpm, just like in other applications of the same engine, but it's lesser than in the outgoing Swift. The turbo seems to be running a milder state of tune, and power delivery is a lot more progressive. Still, the lag will affect city driveability and cars like the Figo & Micra diesels are in a different league altogether with their zero-lag power plants. While turbo-lag is reduced, the punch of the older Swift past 2,000 rpm is gone. The new Swift has power delivery that's a lot more linear. Boost can be felt at 2,100 rpm, but it’s far tamer. Even as you work your way up the revv counter, the motor just doesn’t feel as aggressive as before. In terms of outright performance, the Swift is about as quick as the model it replaces. 0 - 100 kph is rated @ 14.8 seconds. The engine feels immensely tractable once you are in turbo zone, and can be quite a lot of fun on the open road. For a diesel, the 1.3L is reasonably revv-happy too. It's well suited to long distance cruising; at 100 kph, the motor is spinning over at 2,300 odd rpm, with engine noise superbly controlled. And the best part is, at a 100 kph, you are right in “turbo zone”. For expressway kinda overtaking, a gentle nudge on the accelerator is all that's required (no downshift).

Yes, the lack of the sudden turbo surge has taken away a part of the fun factor. Nevertheless, the mass market might prefer this state of tune. Where the same engine in the older car felt aggressive, it feels more mature in the new Swift. The gearshift quality is butter smooth. It’s slick to use, the gears slot nicely and the gates are well defined. This isn’t a box I’d call a short-throw though, what with its medium-length shifts. The i10 Kappa2 & Polo still have the best boxes amongst hatchbacks.

The 1.2L Petrol:



Maruti's 1.2L K-series has always been considered a jewel. With variable valve tech on the intake (Maruti says this was necessary to improve fuel efficiency), the power output has been bumped up to 86 BHP (@ 6,000 rpm) and 114 Nm of torque (@ 4,000 rpm). That's 2 BHP more than in the older Swift, and about the same torque made at 500 rpm less. Should make the motor even better, right? Wrong. Maruti insists that the engine has been tuned for fuel-efficiency, and the tamer nature is immediately evident at the bottom end. The engine feels weaker at lower rpms, where the older car felt distinctly sprightlier. The low rpm behaviour of the engine is completely different from what the specs sheet would have you believe. And yes, you will need to downshift more often than in the Ritz / outgoing Swift, or a car like the i10 Kappa2. On the positive side, the engine remains very revv-happy & refined throughout the rpm range. The feel above 4,000 rpm is just awesome. Plus, the engine & exhaust note at high rpm sound great. The 1.2L revvs clean right up to its 6,400 rpm redline, and feels at home on the limit. Still, due to the detuned nature, don't expect the outright pace of the older Swift 1.2. Other petrol hatchbacks like the Brio / i10 Kappa2 will leave you in the dust in a drag. The clutch is even lighter (than the diesel), as is the gearshift operation. The enhanced insulation shows here as well, right from the superbly refined idle.

To summarize the engine notes, the Swift still has the best application of the Fiat 1.3L diesel engine. On the other hand, I'm going to have to move the 1.2L petrol a position down, due to the timid tuning at the bottom end. I would rank the Hyundai 1.2 Kappa2 as the best petrol engine from the segment, followed by the Swift & the Brio (an equal No.2). The 1.2s from the Beat, Micra, Figo and Punto aren't even close to this trio.

While engine noise is well-controlled in the petrol & diesel Swifts, vibrations are also well within the limit. On the other hand, thanks to the super-thin glass windows (see picture below), traffic noise filters through to the cabin at an alarmingly high rate. I could hear the clattering of a Jeep parked right behind me, even though my windows were rolled up and the air-conditioner was turned on.

The suspension has an underlying firmness that’s evident at low speeds. While it’s never uncomfortable, the ride quality isn’t plush either over broken stretches of urban tarmac. The Swift is acceptably compliant, yet you will feel the stiff edge over large bumps and ruts. As the speedometer climbs though, the ride greatly flattens in a way that the older car could never manage. Above 60 kph, and at any speed on the expressway, the Swift rides F-L-A-T. The rear end, especially, feels like that of some European cars I know. There is a complete absence of the excessive vertical movement that competitors like the i10, Ritz & Brio suffer from on undulating roads. At speed, the new Swift feels extremely mature and the flat ride greatly enhances comfort over long drives. On highway potholes, the older car’s harshness is absent too. No, it’s no Punto and large bumps will still upset it, yet overall ride quality is far better than the previous gen Swift.

The handling remains sharp with good all-round grip levels. Of special mention is the body roll that is very well controlled. The front end of the car is eager to change direction, and responds to your inputs like a faithful servant. I thoroughly enjoyed chucking the car in & out of the Aamby Valley ghat corners. One of the reasons for the poise & super grip levels is the wide footprint of the car, and how the 4 wheels are literally placed at each end of the car. The wider track also, without doubt, helps maintain the Swift’s composure. Straight line stability is satisfactory by premium hatchback standards. The Swift feels sufficiently stable at 120 kph and importantly, feels like it can do 120 all day without breaking into a sweat. She also feels safe enough during lane change manouveurs at expressway speeds. In summary, the Swift now feels grown up (which the mass market will appreciate), but lacks the edgy behaviour of the old Swift (which enthusiasts will miss).

Maruti has managed to hit the hallowed “sweet spot” in terms of ride & handling balance. Note that the ZXi / ZDi have a stiffer ride due to their larger, 15” alloy wheels (our test car was shod with 14 inch wheels). For city driving, the steering is neither too heavy nor too light. It’s somewhere in the middle, and even women drivers will be comfortable piloting the Swift around town. The steering feels direct, well-calibrated, and suits the car’s sporty intentions. That, combined to a tight chassis, makes the Swift feel incredibly agile. Agility that cars like the Punto & Vista can only dream about. I’m no fan of EPS steerings but will admit that the Swift’s gives a reasonable amount of feedback on what the front end is up to. It also weighs up satisfactorily at expressway speeds and will keep most of the mass market happy. No, it’s never heavy, but isn’t nervously light at speed either.

If there is a major letdown in the handling area, it's the Swift's mediocre brakes. Shockingly, the Lxi / Ldi & Vxi / Vdi don’t get brake assist (powerful brake booster) from the factory. The brakes on these variants simply fail to inspire any confidence at speed, and are completely unsuited to emergency braking conditions or an enthusiastic driving style. The only other new car I’ve driven with such mediocre brakes is the Fortuner. Toyota eventually released updates to improve the Fortuner’s braking. Will Maruti? I am actually surprised that these brakes even passed Maruti's internal pre-launch tests. On the other hand, the ZXi I drove definitely had superior brakes and is a far safer hatchback to drive.

Last edited by GTO : 12th October 2011 at 20:50.
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Old 27th September 2011, 10:43   #5
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Default re: Maruti Swift : Test Drive & Review

Other Points:

Heartfelt gratitude to a staunch supporter of Team-BHP, for lending us his 2 week old diesel Swift for an entire day! Also to a friend who lent us her petrol ZXi.

• Many thanks to Stratos for accompanying me on this drive, his valuable comments and shooting / processing the photographs. A big shout out to Vikram18 for driving along with us, and for the many insights he shared on the car.

• Nifty feature for India : The doors auto-lock once you get moving. And unlock when you remove the key from the ignition. Also, the doors will auto-unlock in case of a major shunt.

• Good news : MRF ZVTS tyres are now standard on the Swift. The lousy JK Vectras are a thing of the past. Bad news : The Lxi / LDi & Vxi / VDi are severely under-tyred. For your safety, and those around you, please upgrade the tyre size on your Swift.

• It’s unusual for a Japanese manufacturer to prioritise form over function (best left to the Italians, really). Yet, the Swift's engineering team has clearly followed this line of thought. The tiny rear windows, limited headroom at the back and the tough-to-load boot all illustrate the priority of aesthetics in the making of this car.

• A rear windscreen defogger is sorely missed on the "V" variant, as a tachometer is on the entry-level "L" variant. These are must-have features that should not have been skimped upon.

• Service intervals : 1000 kms, 5000 kms and 10000 kms. Thereafter, at every 10000 kms.

• Localisation level is currently at ~ 95%. That explains the competitive pricing of the LXi.

• The upside of buying such a successful car is the guaranteed resale value; conversely, the downside is the super-long waiting period (already 9 months in some towns).

• Small turning radius of 4.8 meters.

• Even though it’s now a generation older, the Ritz makes a compelling case for itself if someone is looking for practicality. The Ritz has the same engine range, airier interiors, a bigger boot, easier ingress / egress and is cheaper too! But no, it's not as much fun to drive.

• The new Dzire – basically the Swift with a boot – is rumoured to be launching in 2012.

• One reason for Maruti removing the ABS from the “V” variants is to upsell the “Z” variant. Safety-inclined customers are generally less price sensitive. However, this strategy could backfire. Remember, there are many other hatchbacks in the market offering the same space, ABS & Airbags at a lower price point.

• The suspension’s underlying stiffness (at low speeds) is more evident on the backseat than the front.

• BHPian WebbleScott says "The back door of the Swift has an electromagnetic door opener with a delay. Trying to push shut the door without a time interval will not shut the door properly and can spoil the lock. Please wait at least 5 seconds before the second attempt to close the door."

• The ZXi / ZDi don’t get a boot open lever on the inside. Instead, the boot lock / unlock function is linked to the central locking system. Good luck with showing mall security chaps the small release button on the boot.

• A diesel tuning box (for 15,000 – 30,000 rupees) will be a “must-have” accessory for the enthusiasts. It really is the easiest way toward guaranteed power increase.

• Indicator stalk gets a "one-touch" lane change indicator function. Nice.

• Good on Maruti to provide a spare alloy wheel on the "Z" variants.

• The previous Swift was notorious for developing rattles even before the odometer hit 5 digits. Let's hope the new Swift holds up better on our roads.

• Side air-con vents can be shut, but they let a small amount of air through anyways.

• Even though the fuel tank is 42 liters in size, thanks to the diesel's fuel efficiency, you can realistically expect a tank range of 600+ kms (city) and 750+ kms (highway).

• The cabin light has now moved to the center. It’s reasonably powerful too, and is much more useful in its new location.

• The A-Pillar is thick. But it’s positioned far ahead, and hence won’t interfere with your visibility like the 1st gen Indica or Civic A-Pillars do.

• I like the fact that the electric steering doesn’t make any attempt at artificial feedback / center back action like the one in the i10 does.

• Vanity mirror only for the passenger side sunvisor. Driver side visor gets a ticket holder.

• It’s pointless replacing the small interior mirror with a large after-market unit. Reason : The rear windscreen is too small! You’ll only see more of the C pillars with a wider mirror.

• To understand the brilliance of Honda packaging, get this : The Jazz’ exterior dimensions aren't that different. Still, the Jazz is the most spacious hatchback by far, and has a whopping boot size as well.

• Good thing about having a new generation look identical to the outgoing is this : The Manufacturer can’t sell both of them simultaneously, and thank God for that! It’s a common phenomena in India, and one that Maruti is a master of.

• Instrument cluster gets 7-step adjustment for illumination (brightness). Note that the 7th step keeps the meters at the same level as at 6; only the MID gets brighter on the 7th.

Last edited by GTO : 12th October 2011 at 20:51. Reason: Adding the • bulleted point style
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Old 27th September 2011, 10:44   #6
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Default re: Maruti Swift : Test Drive & Review

The Smaller & Significant things:

Window glass of the super-thin variety; traffic noise is prominent inside the cabin. One of the reasons why the new Swift is lighter:


Bet most (if not all) 2011 Swifts you’ve seen so far have been white. Reason? That’s the way production has been planned. We even have a picture to prove it!! Thanks to BHPian Devil_KLM for this one:


Flippy key would have been preferred. Key buttons are made of economy grade material:


Radio antenna now placed at the rear part of the roof (older Swift wore it at the front):


OEM headlamps do a surprisingly good job. They are definitely better than what we’ve come to expect of stock Maruti bulbs:


Neat chrome door levers:


Practical back pockets on both seats:


Cheap & flimsy seat incline lever. It was not even fitted properly in our test car:


Foot well has sufficient width. No dead pedal, yet enough room to the left of the clutch, to rest your foot on long drives:


Deep cubby hole ahead of the gear lever. Another long one should have been provided ahead of the handbrake (like in the Ritz):


Taking the spare wheel out will be a difficult task, thanks to the deep & narrow surroundings. Wheel is made of el-cheapo steel:


Useful bag hook in the boot. I love these hooks for carrying takeaway food bags home:


Small mercy! As tiny as the rear window is, at least it rolls down completely:


Thick, thick insulation on the firewall:


One of the main reasons behind the Swift's stupendous success. Maruti pulled off a master-class strategy by outsourcing what is perhaps the best small diesel in the world:
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Old 27th September 2011, 10:44   #7
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Default re: Maruti Swift : Test Drive & Review

Chief Competitors of the Maruti Swift


Hyundai i10

What you’ll like:
• A well-rounded city hatchback
Best-in-class interior fit, finish and quality
• Refined 1.2L petrol is a sprightly performer. Variable valve timing tech too
• Light clutch, gearbox & steering. Incredibly easy to drive
• Hyundai’s excellent after-sales service quality

What you won’t:
• Unsettled ride on less-than-perfect roads. Rear (especially) gets bouncy
• Narrow width makes it a strict 4 seater. Unwelcome 5th adult
• Missing goodies (No climate control, alloy wheels, dead pedal or adjustable front neck restraints)
• Severely under-tyred. An upgrade to 175/70 R13 is highly recommended
• No diesel variant available yet. Most competitors offer the oil-burner option

Ford Figo

What you'll like:
• Robust build and construction
• Interiors more comfortable than chief competitors i10 & Swift
• 1.4 Diesel's proven driveability and fuel efficiency. No turbolag
• The Ford Figo's mature big-car-like ride quality
• Ford's DNA in the on-road behaviour and quick steering
• Class-topping 284 liter boot space

What you won't:
• Lacks the modernity of recently launched hatchbacks
• Both of the engines in the Figo are lacking in outright performance. Neither engine can exploit the car's dynamics
• No true top-end variant (tilt adjustable steering, rear power windows, MID etc.)
• Average backseat legroom. Not in the league of, say, an Indica Vista
• Ford's sub-par dealership experience

Volkswagen Polo

What you'll like:
• A well-built solid European hatchback
• Clean and contemporary styling. Absolutely no quirkiness
• "Big car like" ride quality. Suspension setup ideal for Indian roads
• Neutral handling & mature road behaviour
• Fuel efficient range of engines
• 280 liter boot. Figo-like & substantially larger than direct competition
• Short-throw slick gearshift (petrol especially). Amongst the best in India

What you won't:
• Commuter 3-cylinder engines. Neither hits the sweet spot nor matches the segment benchmarks
• Some niceties missing. Climate control, USB / AUX audio input, electric ORVMs etc.
• Ordinary rear bench legroom. Comparable to the Ritz
• Thin 40 dealership network
• VW's cost of ownership is yet unknown territory

Toyota Liva

What you'll like:
• A neutral family hatchback with the "T" badge
• Spacious interiors can easily carry 5 adults
• Super light controls, especially steering & short-throw clutch. Effortless to drive within the city
• Well-tuned suspension. Safe handling and flat ride
• Safety package (Airbags, ABS & EBD) optional on middle variant too
• Toyota’s fuss-free ownership experience & excellent after-sales

What you won't:
• 1.2L engine lacks bottom end; isn't a class-topper like the Etios 1.5 (from which it is derived)
• Cost-cutting glaringly obvious in many areas
• Economy-grade interior quality & unconventional dashboard
• Missing equipment (climate control, height adjustable driver's seat etc.)
• Poor insulation. Engine, suspension & road noise are prominent

Chevrolet Beat

What you'll like:
• Funky styling inside & out. Unique superbike-inspired speedometer too
• Nippy city hatch character. Light, easy to drive and chuckable
• Compliant ride quality. No bumpiness
• Well packaged interiors (for 4)
• ARAI fuel efficiency topper
• Chevy's 3 year service guarantees

What you won't:
• Unconventional styling isn't to everyone's taste
• Compact 170 liter boot. 50 - 60 liters smaller than competition
• Very dull dark-grey interior shade. No beige option either
• Horribly undertyred (155 mm width). An upgrade is a must
• Some goodies missing (keyless entry, driver seat height adjust, steering mounted controls)
• Small rear window creates a claustrophobic ambience at the back

Nissan Micra

What you'll like:
• Cheeky styling. A touch of retro too
• Quality, well-designed, interiors
• Driver airbag standard across the range (including base variant)
• Diesel engine offers stunning driveability. Fuel efficient as well
• Compliant ride quality. Suspension tuned for comfort
• Gizmos : Keyless entry & go, engine start / stop button, electric folding mirrors, climate control

What you won't:
• Ordinary three-cylinder petrol engine. Dull to drive
• ABS brakes removed from the diesel Micra
• Inexistent under-thigh support from the rear seat
• Quirky design may not be to your taste
• The wafer-thin dealer network
• Nissan's cost of ownership is yet uncharted territory

Honda Brio

What you’ll like:
• A thoroughly contemporary Honda at a sub-5 lakh rupee tag
• Entertaining performance, sweet i-VTEC engine & healthy power-to-weight ratio
• High quality interiors for the segment
• Light controls, slick gearshift and easy maneuverability for in-city commuting
• Honda reliability & fuss-free ownership experience

What you won’t:
• Equipment list lacks rear defogger, CD player & driver seat height adjustment
• Basic, unsettled ride quality on imperfect roads. Gets choppy on uneven highways
• Small 175 liter boot
• Ordinary space for back seat passengers. Rear seat-back too short
• Quirky rear-end styling is a hit or miss

Fiat Grande Punto
Name:  Fiat_Grande_Punto_Exterior_DSC02712 Custom.JPG
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What you'll like:
• Stunning design. Easily the most stylish hatchback on our roads today
• Solid build quality
• Fuel efficient diesel
• Mature & superb ride quality
• Outstanding high speed dynamics. The new benchmark (amongst hatches)
• Perfectly calibrated & weighted power steering. Deserves a mention here
• 5 star safety, ABS & airbags (even on the diesel variant)

What you won't:
• Rear bench space. Cosy interiors by big hatch standards. Not an Indica Vista
• Interior fit, finish and quality are strictly average
• Low FE of the petrol
• Lack of outright performance (diesel). No high powered engine (a la Palio 1.6 100 BHP)
• Engine noise at speed (petrol and diesel both)
• Service network not a match of say, Maruti or Hyundai

Tata Vista

What you’ll like:
• Variety of engine options (Tdi, Quadrajet, Safire65, Safire90). Take your pick!
• Well-equipped from the second variant & over
• New interiors look and feel much better in terms of overall quality
• Improved gearbox, light clutch and light steering make for effortless city driving
• Spacious interiors. Roomiest in the segment; beats some sedans from 2 segments up
• Absorbent, comfortable ride quality

What you won’t:
• Fit and finish need improvement. Exterior panel gaps are inconsistent too
• Soft suspension setup. Best driven sedately
• Centrally-mounted instrument cluster takes some getting used to
• Niggling issues & irritants persist (as reported by existing Vista owners)
• Tata’s after-sales-service remains a gamble

Last edited by GTO : 28th September 2011 at 10:28. Reason: Adding Vista
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Old 27th September 2011, 10:54   #8
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Default re: Maruti Swift : Test Drive & Review

let me the first to congratulate you on this grand review GTO . excellent stuff.

i was really interested in knowing how she behaves vis a vis Punto.

Last edited by GTO : 27th September 2011 at 10:58. Reason: No discussion on the comparo tables please. Answered in several other review threads
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Old 27th September 2011, 10:57   #9
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Default re: Maruti Swift : Test Drive & Review

Great review as usual, though a bit late. Like the comparisons too.
Thanks.

Cheers!
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Old 27th September 2011, 11:09   #10
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Default re: Maruti Swift : Test Drive & Review

I expected new Swift to a bit longer than the outgoing so that it accommodate more leg room at rear seat and slightly bigger boot. Can it accommodate 3 adults at the rear?

IMO, looks wise new swift is much better looking than the old one, inside out
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Old 27th September 2011, 11:11   #11
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Default re: Maruti Swift : Test Drive & Review

Finally the much awaited review.
Thanks for the review GTO.

Comparison with other Cars, helps an uninformed buyer.

Totally agree on DDiS being the world's best small diesel engine. It is great indeed.
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Old 27th September 2011, 11:11   #12
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Default re: Maruti Swift : Test Drive & Review

After long wait the review is finally here. Thanks GTO for bringing this review for us.

I have lots of expectation from this car as My Maruti WagonR will be due for replacement sometimes next year so I am keenly interested in the Swift diesel. Disappointingly the ZDI is way too overpriced and I guess I have to settle for a VDi.

Overall it looks a good package and will be Maruti's game changing model.
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Old 27th September 2011, 11:25   #13
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Default re: Maruti Swift : Test Drive & Review

Finally after a long wait we got a excellent review. I was waiting for a long time for the review for booking New Swift. Thanks for the excellent review.
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Old 27th September 2011, 11:25   #14
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Default re: Maruti Swift : Test Drive & Review

How come Maruti did not provide the test car?
Are they not able to produce an extra one? Or they are scared of Team-BHP super strict unbiased review? Or is it arrogance?

This car was going to be a run-away hit from the day one.
Good to hear about the NVH control.
Will make Diesel more attractive to fairer sex.

Last edited by GTO : 27th September 2011 at 11:34. Reason: Punto included, check competitors post
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Old 27th September 2011, 11:28   #15
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Default re: Maruti Swift : Test Drive & Review

Thanks for superb review. Swift is a real hit. Here in Surat waiting for swift diesel is 400 days !!!
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