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Old 1st February 2012, 15:10   #1
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Default Maruti Dzire : Test Drive & Review

The 2012 Maruti Dzire has been launched in India at a price of 4.79 - 7.09 Lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you’ll like:

• Priced lower than the outgoing Dzire. Noticeably better in most areas (quality, comfort, interiors etc.)
• Competent engine range. Very refined motors
• Absorbent ride quality, even over rough roads. Neutral road manners too
• Terrific fuel efficiency, especially from the diesel
• Effortless to drive in the city; light steering, clutch and gearshift. Automatic transmission available
• Maruti’s excellent after-sales service & wide dealer network

What you won’t:

• Oddball boot design. Side profile looks particularly awkward
• Small 316L boot & no folding rear seat either. Limited practicality
• Mediocre brakes (LXi / LDi & VXi / VDi), just like the mechanically-identical Swift
• Limited rear seat space is incomparable to the Manza, Etios, Verito et al
• Hefty 1.2 lakh premium for the Automatic transmission variant
• Long waiting period for deliveries of the diesel variant

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

Last edited by GTO : 5th March 2012 at 10:18. Reason: Adding "2012"
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Old 1st February 2012, 15:10   #2
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Default Re: Maruti Dzire : Test Drive & Review

Undoubtedly the worst profile to view the new Dzire in. The small boot looks completely out of sync with the rest of the car. Rear door is longer than the Swift's:




The outgoing Dzire sure had the quirkiest boot integration of all hatchback-based sedans, yet it managed to dominate the marketplace and went on to become the best selling sedan in the country. For a chunk of the market, a well-priced Maruti sedan with a diesel engine is reason enough. From the time of its launch in March 2008, the Dzire has sold ~3,30,000 copies, and it's not even finished the booking backlog yet. The Dzire leaves on a high note and has enjoyed a wait period throughout its shelf life (current wait period is anywhere between 2 - 6 months, depending on the city). To me, the Dzire was a mediocre sedan. It didn't excel in styling, space, comfort or ride quality. But it built the reputation of a VFM work horse...a reputation that the 2012 Dzire will undoubtedly benefit from.

It was always obvious that a sedan version of the 2011 Maruti Swift would be launched. We even knew that a "compact-sedan" variant is coming. No one expected Maruti to launch only the sub-4 meter version though. As things stand today, the previous-generation Dzire will continue to be on sale, and specifically target the commercial (fleet & cabs) segment only. The sole trim level will be a stripped-down version (no V or Z variants).

The 2012 Maruti Dzire is based on an all new platform and is the second sub-4 meter sedan in India (the Indigo CS was launched in January 2008). Incidentally, the Indigo CS is also the world's first sub-4 meter sedan, while a third - the shortened Mahindra Verito - will be joining this pair soon. Tata sells the new generation Indigo (i.e. Manza) in full-size and the older gen Indigo as a compact-sedan. With Maruti, it's the exact opposite. So, why a Maruti Dzire that runs less than 4,000 mm in length? 2 reasons actually:

Excise benefits : The Indian Government, in its effort to promote small & fuel-efficient cars, imposes a discounted 10% excise duty on cars that are <4 meters in length, and have an engine capacity of less than or equal to 1.2L (petrol) / 1.5L (diesel). Cars that don't meet this criteria pay the regular 22% excise tax. The 12% difference is H-U-G-E in an industry that is already heavily taxed.

Differentiation with the SX4 : The previous-generation Dzire had a large boot capacity of 464 liters; that's bigger than some 1 million rupee sedans like the Chevrolet Cruze & the Honda Civic. Customers who wanted a Maruti sedan with a proper boot looked no further than the Dzire, much to the SX4's dismay. The differentiation is now more distinct between the two Maruti sedans. Take a look at the specs page on the official website and you'll see that Maruti categorises the 2012 Dzire as a notchback. Simply put, if you want a full-size sedan, buy the SX4. Remember, one reason for the SX4’s average market performance was product cannibalisation with the Dzire right below.

Maruti Dzire : Test Drive & Review-maruti-dzire-specs.png

Effectively, Maruti now has three carefully positioned sedans in the C segment. Fleet segment : Old Dzire. Chunk of the personal owner segment : 2012 Dzire. Full-size sedan : SX4. In the times that Maruti didn't suffer from labour problems, the Dzire usually managed 10,000 sales a month in 2011. Do I think a majority of those will look away because of a boot that's 150 liters smaller? No ways. The boot is smaller, but the car has improved in many other areas. A good part of the market still prefers a "boot" over a "tail-gate", whatever the reasons may be. Conversely, I don't think the new Dzire will sell much higher than the old car either (unlike the new Swift which keeps going from strength to strength) in the private segment. Market share increase might come from the old Dzire, if it's well accepted in the commercial segment.

Maruti needs to recover lost ground. Their stock & market-share took a royal hammering last year because of the labour troubles in Manesar, while the October - December 2011 quarter was the weakest for the company in 3 years. This year is all about the bottom line and the Dzire will be a significant contributor there. There are some other blockbuster products in the pipeline as well; the 7-seater Ertiga and the Maruti 800's replacement.

That the Dzire is a compact sedan, there isn't a doubt. Get this, the Punto is a mere 8 mm shorter and the Polo only 25 mm. It looks especially weird from the side profile and takes a lot of getting used to. The squarish boot doesn't match with the Swift's curvy body lines. That the boot runs so short in length doesn't help matters at all. Where the Swift is quite a looker, the Dzire ends up looking awkward. On the other hand, view the Dzire bang from the rear (refer to picture below) and it looks really good. The design is definitely better than the Swift's short hatch + large bumper look. The face is very similar to its predecessor, the casual observer won't even notice the difference. Changes from the 2012 Swift include a different bumper, radiator grille (I prefer the Swift's) and a wider air dam. This car looks best from the front or the rear, no doubt, but the side & rear 3-quarter profiles are a big no-no. Compared to the previous-generation car, the 2012 Dzire is 165 mm shorter, 5 mm wider and 25 mm taller. Importantly, the 40 mm longer wheelbase results in improved cabin space.

Panel gaps pass the test for the most part, though there are some areas where the clearances are unduly large (like around the boot area, for example). Build quality is par for the course; no, there’s no European solidity or even the “thud”, but it's good enough for the price point at which the Dzire starts. The use of lighter weight metal is seemingly obvious; the boot lid feels as thin as a tin can when you tap on it. The Dzire overall uses lighter metals, a plastic fuel tank (instead of metal) and super-thin window glasses (more on that later). Interestingly, the kerb weight of the Swift & Dzire is identical for the L variants. Remember, hatchbacks require additional strengthening around the C pillar & hatch area from the safety point of view, and for structural rigidity. Due to this point, I wouldn't be surprised if the Dzire actually costs lesser to manufacture than the Swift.

Maruti Dzire : Test Drive & Review-maruti-dzire-prices.png

So, for a difference of 40,000 odd rupees, what do you get over the Swift?

• A reclined, more comfortable back seat
• Beige interiors
• 112 liters of additional boot space
• Softer, more compliant ride quality in the city & over rough roads

And, what do you lose?

• Handling : The Swift is far more fun to drive. The Dzire's rear is too soft
• Fold-down rear seat. The Swift is actually more suited to those airport runs, or when you're moving home
• A better looking derrière

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 Dzire. Maruti did not share any information on whether the brakes of the Dzire L & V variants have been upgraded over that of the Swift. Thus, it is safe to presume that the two cars share identical braking systems. It's only the "Z" level that receives the "brake assist" feature. From my drive in the Swift VXi & ZXi last year, I am pretty sure that the Z variants get a bigger brake booster. I think, for the additional equipment you get (namely BETTER brakes, ABS with EBD, Driver / Passenger Airbags, better audio system, Rear wash & wipe, Driver seat height adjustment, Climate control and 185/65 tyres on 15" alloy wheels), the ZXi / ZDi are completely worth the difference over the VXi / VDi. However, the ZDi when viewed in isolation does come across as pricey. If you live down South, the on-road price will nearly nudge Rs. 8.5 lakhs. That's quite a lot of money for a compact Maruti sedan.

Maruti Dzire : Test Drive & Review-maruti-dzire-features.png

The Swift 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 (which it shares with the Dzire).

Unlike in the opening image of this post, the Dzire looks great when viewed head-on. Nearly identical face to the outgoing car but hey, I'm not complaining. The radiator grille, air-dam and bumper have changed from the new Swift:


The rear design is pretty tight too. Viewed in isolation, this is one of my favourite derrières. Massive chrome strip is a love-it-or-hate-it:


The small boot is nearly invisible in front 3-quarter shots:








Smart looking large headlamps:


Fog lights aren't powerful:


Radiator grille design differs from the toothy one of the Swift. I prefer the latter:


165/80 R14 tyres on the lesser variants, while the Z level (our test car) gets a 185/65 R15 size:


Asymmetric Goodyear Duraplus tyres clearly specifying how the tyre is to be mounted:


Front wheel wells get partial cladding only:


The ORVMs now feel sturdier than the fragile units of the outgoing car. Bikers will no longer leave you with 4 figure bills. Note the integrated blinker:


Classy tail-lamps do draw some inspiration from the Kizashi:


Wafer-thin boot lid feels like it's made out of tin foil!


Rear quarter glass has a more conventional design (unlike the Swift's):


Thank God that Chris Bangle's bustle-back inspiration has been toned down. The brochure insists that there is an "integrated spoiler" on the squarish boot:


Should have been named simply "Dzire":


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


Integrated mud-flaps are hardly that; too small to be purposeful:

Last edited by GTO : 6th February 2012 at 12:58. Reason: Updating Attachment
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Old 1st February 2012, 15:11   #3
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Default Re: Maruti Dzire : Test Drive & Review



Compared to the outgoing car, it’s on the inside of the new Dzire where you will really notice the improvements. The interior design is nearly identical to the 2011 Swift, except for a generous treatment of beige. And what a difference it makes! The dash wears a dual-tone shade, with a black top and a beige lower half. Faux wood replaces the tasteful silver accents of the Swift. I'm not a fan of the wood, yet agree that the masses will like it. Compared to the all-black cabin of the Swift, that of the Dzire feels decidedly bright & airy. In fact, the claustrophobic feeling of the Swift isn't present at all in the Dzire.

The previous-gen Dzire had bare bone interiors; the 2012 Dzire will keep its owners happier. Mind you, the overall grade of plastic is only ½ a level up; it's the design & the way that parts have 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 Dzire has in common with the old. While the Dzire still isn’t exactly premium, overall look & feel are considerably better now. The textured plastic on the dashboard & door panels is a nice touch, as are the chrome door handles. The center console wears an obvious Kizashi inspiration, while the 3 spoke steering wheel looks fab. Don’t get me wrong though, there’s no plushness inside. Even some hatchbacks (like the i20) beat the Dzire on quality. The interiors do have some cheap bits (seat adjust handle, for instance), but that is expected from an entry-level Maruti sedan. Let me put it this way : Those who buy the L & V variants will be pleased with the quality. On the other hand, ZDi owners who pay 8 lakhs OTR for their diesel Dzire will not be raving about the quality or the space.

I liked the quality of seat fabric & compound. The seats of our test ZDi were soft & really cushiony, more than in the Swift and much like your favourite couch at home. It is imperative to mention that, while soft seats are great for shorter drives, firm compound seats are more suited to long-distance touring. The textured upholstery feels great but it is an all-out dirt magnet. The seat fabric of our 1,500 kms test vehicle had marks & spots all over. And over the course of the day, we added some more! The front seats are snug-fitting, Suzuki engineers have gotten the driving position spot on. Support from the driver's seat is absolutely spot-on. The driving position is higher now, lending the driver with superior frontal 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), while 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 and 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 side of the clutch pedal to rest your left foot. The dashboard is positioned on the higher side, but not enough to be a cause of complaint (like in the Polo & Vento). While frontal & lateral visibility is good, rearward view is pathetic, thanks to the high parcel tray (2" taller than the rear seat). I advise extreme caution when reversing, especially to the shorter drivers. The useless inside rear view mirror makes the situation worse. It is 2 sizes too small and doesn't even cover the entire rear windscreen. Thankfully, the ORVMs are big enough and offer a good field of view.

Just like in the Swift, 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 a while of driving & constantly changing gears. Some of you might find your left knee hitting against the waterfall console in an annoying manner. If you are anything over 5’8” in height, I'm willing to bet you will face either of the two problems mentioned here.

The rear seat is far better than in the outgoing Dzire. This is an all-new seat that is different from even the one in the Swift. The seat compound is very soft and cushiony, just like the front seats, while the bolstering on either side has been beefed up too. Sitting on it is akin to resting on a sofa. It's nicely reclined...reclined to an extent that you can really lie back & relax. Back & under-thigh support are satisfactory as well. The wide fold-out arm rest (absent in the Swift) is useful & can easily accommodate large forearms.

Unfortunately, passengers on the well contoured rear seat don't have the space to truly enjoy being driven around. Space is incomparable to most of its direct competitors; if you want to be chauffeur-driven, look at competing sedans like the Manza, Etios & Verito instead. There is simply no comparison in terms of knee room or width. Sure, you can fit in two 5'10" adults on the Dzire's back seat, but sitting behind a tall driver will make them sharply bend their knees. The Dzire is a compact sedan and space is at a definite premium. The side windows run a tad longer than in the Swift and the quarter glass has a more conventional design. 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 cushioned. The door armrests are wide enough to rest your forearm on. 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 the perfect support. The adjustment range is pretty long too. They aren’t super-soft pillows like the Etios' though, that you can bury your head into. Sadly, 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.
If and when you have a 5th occupant in the car, he won't complain of the back support, as the underside of the center armrest is soft. However, considering the limited space on offer and the floor hump, this sedan is best suited to 4 onboard. Lastly, ingress to / egress from the rear seat is inconvenient and surely won’t suit the elderly. I forget the number of times I banged my head on the roof while getting into the car.

The OEM stereo (ZXi / ZDi variants) and its 4 speaker + 2 tweeter setup sounds superb for a stock unit. Treble fans will love the very-prominent front tweeters (though most will find them too bright). Bass delivery is amongst the best I've heard from the entry-level sedans. Most owners won't see the need to upgrade the stereo, except for the nutjobs from 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 accommodating 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 Dzire falls flat on its face is in the luggage compartment area. While the old Dzire had a respectable boot capacity of 464 liters, the new car loses a whopping 148 liters, bringing capacity down to 316 liters. That's less than even the Honda Jazz (384 liters with the rear seat up). The most logical reason behind buying a sedan over a hatchback is the boot, this is a critical area where the Dzire fails. All of its direct competitors offer significantly larger cargo capacity. At best, the Dzire can hold a weekend's luggage of a nuclear family. Considering the upper variant’s pricing, this could be a deal breaker to many an Indian family. To make matters worse, the rear seat doesn't fold down either. It's ironic that the Swift with its foldable rear seat is more suited to the airport runs. There isn't a doubt that the Indigo CS has superior space packaging...the Tata scores on cabin as well as boot space (380 liters).

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:


The steering-mounted audio controls:


Gearshift is ergonomically perfect & smooth to use:


Classy dial arrangement. Similarities with that of Honda are evident. I love the silver outlines, and the fact that the Dzire retains an engine temperature gauge (unlike some recent launches):


Soft-compound front seats offer sufficient support:


Z variants get a height-adjustable driver's seat:


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


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:


Front doors get a touch of faux wood (rear doors don't). Front door pockets are accommodating, and can hold a 1 liter bottle too:


Window glass is of the super-thin variety; traffic noise too prominent inside the cabin. A cost cutting measure:


A close look at the tasteful faux wood design. It doesn't look or feel cheap:


Power window switches (from the previous gen Dzire) 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:


Stock ICE offers surprisingly good bass & treble. The black colour should have continued onto the climate control panel; one of the rare times you'll see one in full beige. Considering how often you'll use these controls, expect the panel to get soiled and fast:


USB / AUX audio inputs and a 12V power socket:


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 is too small:


High parcel tray leads to extremely poor rearward visibility. Shorter drivers should be extremely cautious when reversing. The Baleno is parked a short length away and still, its front end is hidden away:


ORVMs offer a good field of view:


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


Rear seat is all new. Backrest is superbly reclined while the seat offers excellent overall support:


Due to the larger wheelbase, legroom has improved over the outgoing Dzire. It's not as cramped, but neither is it spacious. Feels just like a B-segment hatchback on the inside. You simply cannot compare available space to that of the Manza, Etios & Verito:


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


Soft, wide armrest. Good place for the upcoming "seth" to rest his forearm on:


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...


Yep, the rear windows do roll all the way down:


Practical back pockets on both seats:


Small 316L boot is a letdown. Loading bay is high & narrow; you better have a strong back. The rear seat doesn't fold down either:


Spare is a full-size alloy wheel:

Last edited by GTO : 6th February 2012 at 11:40.
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Old 1st February 2012, 15:11   #4
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Default Re: Maruti Dzire : Test Drive & Review

The 2nd generation Dzire has the same engine options as the outgoing car. 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 Dzire 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 sedans from a full segment above. 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 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 Dzire. 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 Fiesta, Verito & Sunny diesels are in a different league altogether with their zero-lag power plants. While turbo-lag is reduced, the punch of the older Dzire past 2,000 rpm is gone. The new car 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 Dzire 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 Dzire. 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 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 Dzire, 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 maximum efficiency, and the tamer nature is immediately evident at the bottom end. The engine feels weaker at lower rpms, where the older Dzire 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. 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 notes 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 Dzire 1.2. Competing petrol sedans like the Fiesta Classic & Etios will leave you in the dust in a drag. 0 - 100 is rated @ 12.6 seconds. 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 Dzire 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. The Dzire's ARAI fuel efficiency rating is actually higher than that of the new Swift and the old Dzire. Petrol = 19.1 kpl and diesel = 23.4 kpl.

Engine noise is well-controlled in the petrol & diesel Dzires, and vibrations are also well within the limit. On the other hand, thanks to the super-thin glass windows (refer to pic in the previous post), traffic noise filters through to the cabin at an alarmingly high rate. Another fly in the NVH ointment is that, in the diesel, you can feel drive-train movement on the clutch pedal.

Anshuman drove first and he immediately commented that the rear is softer than in the previous-gen car. He's dead right. A firm, unsettled ride was complaint no.1 from Dzire owners. Maruti had even gone to the extent of softening up the car in its later production years. The 2012 Dzire rides noticeably softer than even the Swift. The advantage? Absolutely superb ride quality within the city. I was pleasantly surprised at how supple the suspension felt when driving over broken roads too. Mind you, this is on 15" alloy wheels and a tyre sidewall height that's shorter by ~10 mm. The L & V variants (14" wheels) should ride even better. The cushiony urban ride quality has actually gone from being a Dzire disadvantage to an advantage over its competitors. You will never complain about ride comfort <100 kph. On the flipside, the rear end of the car lacks that planted feeling on an undulating highway road. Even the Swift, with its firmer rear suspension, rides significantly flatter at speed. The 2012 Dzire reminded me a lot of how the Manza is on typically Indian highways, with a rear end that gets bouncy on uneven roads. The vertical movement is without doubt excessive and will cause discomfort to rear passengers. Anshuman adds that the suspension of the new Dzire is a lot more silent than in the outgoing car.

The comfort-oriented suspension set up also takes away from the swift handling that its hatchback sibling is now famous for. Overall behaviour is very neutral and there are no nasty surprises. The front end of the car remains eager to change direction. However, body roll is significantly higher than in the Swift. Also, on uneven roads, the soft rear & its bouncy nature take away driver confidence. Maruti might have softened the rear suspension a li'l more than they should have. It's best to adapt a conservative driving style with the new Dzire. Straight line stability is satisfactory by entry-level sedan standards. The Dzire feels sufficiently stable at 120 kph and importantly, feels like it can do 120 all day without breaking into a sweat. In summary, the Dzire now has a suspension tune that will appeal to the mainstream customer. Yes, it does lack the edgy behaviour of the old Dzire that enthusiasts will miss, yet the enhanced urban ride comfort should keep a majority happy. If you ask me which petrol in the C1 segment is the most fun to drive, I'd say the Etios 1.5L.

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 Dzire around town. The steering feels direct and is well-calibrated. That, combined with the short length, makes the Dzire extremely agile in the city. I’m no fan of EPS steerings but will admit that the Dzire’s gives a reasonable amount of feedback on what the front end is up to. It also weighs up satisfactorily at expressway speeds.

The brakes of our ZDi variant test car were excellent. Stopping power was satisfactory and the pedal was easy to modulate. However, we haven't received any information if the braking system of the lower Dzire variants ((LXi / LDi & VXi / VDi) have been upgraded over that of the Swift. Thus, it is safe to presume that the Dzire lower variants have the same, poor braking capability that the 2011 Swift suffers from. The Lxi / Ldi & Vxi / Vdi don’t get the powerful brake booster of the Z variants. 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. When I drove the Swift VDi, I was actually surprised that the brakes even passed Maruti's internal pre-launch tests.

Last edited by GTO : 6th February 2012 at 12:29.
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Old 1st February 2012, 15:11   #5
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Default Re: Maruti Dzire : Test Drive & Review

The Dzire 1.2L Automatic



The AT is only available with the VXi trim level. ABS & EBD, fortunately, are standard (unlike on the VXi manual transmission):


A straight-gate shift pattern. AT gearlever requires a very light hand to shift between the different positions:


Illuminated gear selection points:


VXi AT gets a basic head-unit compared to the ZXi. No climate control either:


The instrument console houses a gear position indicator:


The AT footwell:


LXi & VXi variants (AT included) get wheel caps that are identical to the Swift's:


The Dzire AT is the sole car from this segment to offer an Automatic gearbox. At 6.54 lakh rupees, it's also the cheapest AT sedan in India. Maruti makes the 4-speed AT available with the VXi trim level only, and with ABS brakes. The V variant is usually the best-selling, while a ZXi AT might have proven too expensive. Here's hoping that the Swift & Dzire see a diesel Automatic some day. For the record, the VXi AT @ 990 kg weighs a mere 20 kilos more than the VXi MT.

This 4-speed Automatic is no DSG in terms of response time; it's an old-school gearbox really. Drive it with a light foot in the city and you will be satisfied. You can still tell when the upshifts actually take place; the action is nowhere as seamless as in a dual-clutch, yet the shift quality is satisfactorily smooth. Throttle response at low rpm is instantaneous. There is none of the lag we see in the CVTs & DSGs. The first 3 gear ratios are extremely tall, with 1st topping out at 60 kph and 2nd at 110. It must be noted that the gap between 2nd & 3rd ratios is quite a lot. Maruti has tuned the Dzire AT for efficiency & the box will shift up gears at ~2,000 rpms under a normal driving style. In most driving conditions, the highest possible gear for the current speed will be selected. Yes, at 60 kph, you are already in 4th gear! Due to the early upshifts & high level of refinement, engine noise is barely audible when pottering about in the city. The Dzire AT offers a very relaxed drive and if you are looking at a stress-free experience, this is the compact sedan for you.

If you're in the mood for enthusiastic driving however, then look elsewhere. The autobox noticeably saps the engine of power, and the car doesn't feel as sprightly as its manual-transmission sibling. Kick-down response time has a definite lag. Reaction time is somewhat similar to the Hyundai automatic gearboxes (from the i10 & i20). The gearbox is old-school and it shows when you have to suddenly overtake slower traffic. It doesn't always choose the right gear either, albeit you will get used to forcing an upshift or downshift by playing with the throttle. On the open road, the petrol motor is spinning away at ~2,600 rpm at 100 kph in the 4th (overdrive) ratio. While performance is acceptable upto 100 kph, it does taper off after. In kick-down mode, the engine revvs to 6,000 rpm easily. But at that rpm, it seems to be making more noise than actual progress on the road.

You can define the upper limit for the gearbox. L mode should be chosen on steep inclines / declines with the gearbox utilising 1st gear only. 2 will have the gearbox alternating between 1st & 2nd gears, depending on the driving conditions. You can switch overdrive off, thereby setting the 3rd gear as the top ratio, via the O/D button on the gearlever. This might be useful when driving on fast, hilly stretches of tarmac.

Due to the absence of engine braking, you need strong anchors in an Automatic car. Luckily, the Dzire AT is equipped with the ZXi's brake hardware (including ABS & EBD) and not the VXi MT's mediocre non-ABS braking system.

To the top left is a shift lock override button. Pressing this button bypasses the gear lock system whereby you cannot move out of position "P" unless the key is inserted and the brake pedal is pressed. Use the shift lock button when you park on an incline and can’t move the lever out of "P". The feature could also be used when towing the vehicle:


Pressing the O/D button disengages the overdrive (4th) gear, thus making 3rd your top gear. There's also an indicator on the instrument console to remind you that O/D is switched off. Why would you ever switch O/D off? Say, you are driving in hilly conditions and the gearbox is constantly shifting between 3rd & 4th. Or when you are coming down a fast ghat section:

Last edited by GTO : 6th February 2012 at 12:50.
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Old 1st February 2012, 15:12   #6
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Default Re: Maruti Dzire : Test Drive & Review

Other Points:

• Many thanks to Anshuman for accompanying me on this drive, his valuable comments and shooting the photographs. A big shout out to Rudra Sen for processing the opening shots, and to Jalsa777 for the rest of the images.

• All pending bookings for the old Dzire will be automatically transferred to the new car.

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

• There is a single cabin light positioned in the center. Well, if you have to have only one light, center placement is preferred over the front.

• The stereo has inverted controls. Head-units universally have the volume knob on the left-hand-side. Not so in the Dzire. Whenever Anshuman and I wanted to crank up the volume, inevitably, we ended up changing the radio station. Delhi radio is far better than Mumbai BTW!

• There are 3 things in common with all-new generation Marutis, it seems : Better fuel efficiency, a softer ride & a smaller boot. Consider the new Wagon R, Swift and the Dzire.

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

• I expect the previous gen Dzire to hold on well to its residual values. After all, it's got all that boot space and the same fuel-efficient engines.

• The Automatic transmission is imported from Japan. I expect things to stay that way for a couple of years. We'll remain a manual-obsessed country for a while, wot?

• All of my cars (except the Jeep) have beige interiors, but none like this. There's something about the fabric used in the Dzire. It's a h-u-g-e dirt magnet.

• Maruti & its vendors have invested 120 crore on this boot-adding exercise (to the Swift hatchback).

• You need to keep a light hand while operating the climate control. The gain points are not well defined and the rotary controls have a very light operation. Thus, you will frequently end up adjusting the level a little more than you originally intended to.

• Small turning radius of 4.8 meters. Ground clearance = 170 mm.

• I wish the Dzire had gotten the 90 BHP MJD motor, just as Tata gives it to the Manza (over the Vista).

• Roof-mounted antenna has moved to the rear of the car. In the previous-gen Dzire, it was positioned toward the front.

• The Swift also has a small boot for its segment. Expect roof-top carriers to be a popular accessory with the Dzire.

• Unlike with the Swift, the Dzire ZXi / ZDi variants get a boot open lever on the inside.

• The 2012 Dzire is OBD2 compliant (Related Thread (Advantages of OBD 2 over OBD 1).

• Let's consider what contributed to the success of the Dzire and whether the new Dzire matches it on the same parameters. Maruti sedan? Check. Diesel option? Check. Low maintenance? Check. Service backing? Yep. To understand why the Dzire is such a success, read this BHPian’s post and why he’s sold on the car : Direct Link (Maruti Suzuki to launch new Swift DZire in February).

• Maruti expects demand to shoot through the roof. They even tied up with Fiat for more diesel engines: Direct Link (Maruti seals deal with Fiat to source 100,000 diesel engines per year). That said, expect long waiting periods, atleast in the initial months. Remember, the Swift still has a hefty backlog to work its way through.

• Even though the fuel tank is merely 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).

• 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.

• If you unlock the driver's door, the other doors will still remain locked. A good thing when you have valuables (e.g. laptop) on the back seat. The separate central locking button has to be used for unlocking all 4 doors.

• The Lxi / LDi & Vxi / VDi are severely under-tyred (165/80 R14 rubber). For your safety, and those around you, please upgrade the tyre size on your Dzire.

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

• 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.

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

• In other news, the SX4 is long overdue for an upgrade. I expect one in the coming year.

• Isn’t it strange that the Dzire was not present at Maruti's Auto Expo pavilion? The Auto Expo is the year's biggest automotive event!

• 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.

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

• Two new colours for the Dzire : Metallic blue & metallic grey.

• 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.
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Old 1st February 2012, 15:12   #7
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Default Re: Maruti Dzire : Test Drive & Review

The Smaller & Significant things:

A dashboard view from the passenger side:


A small laptop bag & camera case have been placed to give you a size perspective of the small boot:


Close look at the nicely textured seat upholstery. It's quite the dirt magnet though:


Adjustable rear neck restraints (head rests) are perfectly positioned for support & comfort:


Bright front tweeters are placed on the front doors:


A glaring error = Full floor carpeting is in beige. Good luck with keeping it clean!


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


The rear door trim. Pockets have a bottle holder and a segregated compartment for the odd item (e.g. cell phone):


Here, the front seats have been positioned to show minimum / maximum legroom:


Neat chrome door levers:


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


Parcel tray is placed too high and obstructs the driver's vision. Speakers are closer to the center than to the side:


The rear seat's side bolstering has been beefed up for comfort:


What a difference beige can make! There's none of the claustrophobia you feel in the hatchback sibling (click here to view an identical shot of the Swift):


Budget-quality stalks are rock-hard to the touch:


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


A typical review lunch @ 1600 hours. Burgers, paneer wrap & a giant coke:


This is from last week. See what Google's autocomplete algorithm suggests (twice at that!). Thanks for the love, guys!


And it doesn't stop there. Look closely at the first "related search":
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Old 1st February 2012, 15:30   #8
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Default Re: Maruti Dzire : Test Drive & Review

Chief Competitors of the Maruti Dzire


Tata Manza

What you'll like:
• Extremely neutral family sedan. Well rounded 6 - 7 lakh rupee car
• Fuel-efficient 1.3 diesel engine. Nice gearbox too
• Unreal back seat comfort. Interior space comparable to two segments higher
• Excellent ride quality. Acceptable handling
• Build quality, fit and finish are way improved. No longer a major turnoff
• Respectable level of equipment and safety kit

What you won't:
• Niggles & problems as reported by Manza owners
• Interior fit & finish still have room for improvement. Below average in some areas
• Lack of outright performance from either engine
• Inconsistent after-sales network

Toyota Etios

What you'll like:
• A practical family sedan. Realistic pricing too
• Spacious interiors can easily carry 5 adults
• Stunning in-city driveability (petrol & diesel, both). Torquey engine & nice gearshift
• Well-tuned suspension. Safe handling and flat ride
• Cavernous 595L boot swallows holiday luggage
• Toyota’s excellent after-sales service

What you won't:
• Dated, plain-vanilla styling. Lacks contemporariness
• Missing equipment (climate control, height adjustable seat, electric ORVMs etc.)
• Economy-grade interior quality & unconventional dashboard
• Cost-cutting glaringly evident in many areas
• Buzzy engine at high rpm. Cabin NVH is poor

Ford Fiesta Classic

What you'll like:
• Solid build quality
• Competent range of engines
• Superb ride and handling package
• Driver-oriented nature
• 1.6L petrol is now well-priced

What you won't:
• Inconsistent after-sales service quality
• Cramped interiors. Smallest amongst the sedans
• Niggles & issues, as reported by owners
• Fuel-efficiency of the 1.6 petrol
• Lack of power from the 1.4 diesel

Nissan Sunny

What you'll like:
• Spectacular rear leg room and comfortable rear bench
• Mature and compliant ride matched by predictable handling
• Excellent city driveability & low end torque (petrol & diesel, both)
• Convenience & comfort features such as true keyless-entry & start, rear fan vents etc.
• Interior quality & cabin fit / finish
• Safety kit across all variants (ABS, EBD, Brake Assist & Airbag/s)

What you won't:
• 1.5L Petrol engine lacks outright performance. Runs out of breath quickly
• Engine and road noise are prominent
• Vague gearbox isn't always keen to slot into gear
• Rear head-room & under-thigh support are in short supply
• Nissan's wafer thin dealer network
• Brakes (in the diesel) feel slow to react and aren't confidence-inspiring

Hyundai Accent

What you'll like:
• Competent entry-level package. Even today
• Engine refinement and drivability
• Well-designed high quality interiors
• Ride quality within the city
• Excellent Hyundai service

What you won't:
• Feels outdated. Getting long in the tooth
• Lack of outright power from the 1.5
• Low and uncomfortable rear seats
• Highway ride and handling
• Low fuel efficiency

Mahindra Verito

What you'll like:
• Strong and robust build. Loves to be abused
• Competent diesel engine. No turbo-lag. Very fuel-efficient
• Excellent ride quality
• Spacious interiors
• High level of practicality

What you won't:
• Feels outdated. Getting long in the tooth now
• Inflated price tag (some variants)
• Cheap & basic feeling inside out
• Lacks appeal & image
• Lacks many essential fittings

Tata Indigo CS

What you'll like:
• Sheer value for money pricing
• Spacious interiors and comfortable seats
• Fuel-efficient diesel
• Excellent ride quality
• 380L boot. Respectable for a sub-4 meter sedan

What you won't:
• Lack of refinement
• Shoddy fit and finish levels
• Inconsistent after-sales service
• Constant niggling issues & problems

Chevrolet Aveo

What you'll like:
• Exterior design and build quality
• Interiors are built & designed well
• Mature ride quality
• Overall comfort and refinement levels
• Hefty discounts available

What you won't:
• Underwhelming engine options. No diesel either
• Compromised power delivery below 2000 rpm
• Clunky nature and long-throws of the gearbox
• Fuel efficiency not class-leading
• Nightmare-inducing resale value. A market dud
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Old 1st February 2012, 15:31   #9
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Default Re: Maruti Dzire : Test Drive & Review

You have summed it up perfectly GTO!

Based on the new Swift, the new Dzire is equally talented, just a little more tuned towards comfort. To add on boot looks ugly and does not go with the design of the car. To squeeze it in under 4 meters to get excise benefits whilst retaining the legroom, the boot space had to be compromised this time. The boot has as much usable space as some of the hatchbacks like i20, Jazz and Punto, without the benefits of split folding seats or even folding seats and large hatch for loading convenience. This may not be concern to most Dzire buyers, as Sedans are mostly bought in our country for the status more than the extra boot space.

The new Dzire has the same tried and tested Fiat's 1.3 MJD 75 hp engine in the same state of tune as Swift hatchback. To me it is amazing how Maruti has tuned the borrowed engine better than even the company who designed the engine, the MJD engine feels quietest and most refined under the hood of this car. Plus over the last gen Dzire the engine now has more linear power delivery and unlike the old one is a pleasure to lug around in higher gears in city, even with no accelerator input in higher gears with rpm close to idle the engine pulls decently. The gearbox too is very good with nice shifts with click and good choice of ratios.

The best thing i liked about the new Dzire is the super cosy ride, those who have driven the old Dzire will be surprised at the ability of the new Dzire to soak up bad roads. Compared to the Swift, the rear suspension is tuned softer for better ride, this results in more vertical movement but more absorbent ride especially at lower speeds. Swift scores better at Handling and high speed composure, at speed the new Dzire does not feel as planted as it's European cars but better than the outgoing car. Despite the softer rear setup, the new Dzire is a very safe handler, the tail does not stick out at every corner like the old Dzire. The car we were given had Asymmetric pattern Goodyear tires, which seemed to have better grip than MRFs and JK tires we have previously seen in the Dzire, though at speed they were not very quiet.

I am not fan of soft seats but i found Dzire's soft seats to be very comfortable especially the Driver's seat with class best back support. The downside is being a cramped car, you can the rear passenger's knees though the seat, being a soft seat amplifies this.

The new Dzire makes quite a lot of sense to those who need the extra boot space, better rear seat or just a car with boot. For someone who wants to be driven around, Verito(Logan), Sunny and Manza have much more roomier cabin and they come with bigger boot. For me or any other Petrolhead, Swift is a better car, it looks better, it handles better, high speed composure is better, power and performance is similar... BTW my Punto has more usable bootspace than the Dzire.
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Old 1st February 2012, 15:46   #10
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Default Re: Maruti Dzire : Test Drive & Review

Awesome review, surely deserving 5 sitara. The love for Team BHP has a reason, we get the most comprehensive review for any car as compared to any magazine out there in the market, Google is only showing the reality. Its been sometime i have bought Autocar and these days its no brainier, if there is a new car launch Team BHP is the place for reviews.

Going through the review gives me mixed feelings, on one hand i liked the interiors, the dashboard, general fit and finish, and the MID, on the other hand i disliked the rear and side profile. The smallish boot does not do justice to the looks.

PS: Although smaller then the rest of the compatriot, i liked the pricing, it looks aggressive as compared to listed competitors.

Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 1st February 2012 at 15:51.
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Old 1st February 2012, 15:57   #11
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Default Re: Maruti Dzire : Test Drive & Review

Though they priced the Vxi AT variant 1.2 lakhs more than the manual Vxi, the main selling variant would be the AT in my opinion. They are capitalizing on the point that the next AT engine on road costs nearly 9.5 lakhs (Skoda Rapid). People have no choice but to opt for Dzire if they looking for a 'sedan with AT'.

Other than that if the buyer is fine with a hatch, only AStar, i10, i20 have AT variant. A star makes no sense for this segment buyer and i10 has no ABS, i20 AT costs nearly as much as the Skoda Rapid.
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Old 1st February 2012, 16:03   #12
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Default Re: Maruti Dzire : Test Drive & Review

As usual one of the best reviews by GTO to cover the most wanted car of the nation. A well deserved 5 stars !!

The waiting period on this is just about to get even worse, 2-3 months will get into 7-8 months to get a hold on this. Just like before i would really want to meet the person behind the design on the Dezire !!
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Old 1st February 2012, 16:21   #13
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Default Re: Maruti Dzire : Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
• All pending bookings for the old Dzire will be automatically transferred to the new car.
If they will be manufacturing the old dzire simultaneously, why would bookings be transferred automatically?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Wafer-thin boot lid feels like it's made out of tin foil!
I have also observed this on my Ritz. Especially the larger panels bend with slight pressure. My good old Esteem is better off. And I've also observed this on the bumpers. They are just too thin on the Ritz!

EDIT: Excellent review. Rating 5 *

Last edited by benzinblut : 1st February 2012 at 16:29. Reason: See EDIT
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Old 1st February 2012, 16:28   #14
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Default Re: Maruti Dzire : Test Drive & Review

Great review!

However, I spot one problem with this car. Older bookings are transferred to the new dzire.
People who got the dzire because they wanted to put a large suitcase in the boot, will not get a smaller car.

In case of swift upgrade, people who booked older swift, got a newer car, which did not compromise on anything.

However, in case of dzire, they booked looking for a boot, and got a notchback.
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Old 1st February 2012, 16:39   #15
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Default Re: Maruti Dzire : Test Drive & Review

Superbly detailed review! The headlights don't look as sweeped back as the new Swift, they look somehow more similar to old swift.

I think Dzire now ticks right boxes for city dwellers who need boot alongwith small car size. But for original fans of Dzire for whom the boot was very important for carrying huge stuff, they have been surely given the 'boot'

Wonder how a person hoping for large boot will settle for a cut-up version of the boot, almost half in size (?).
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