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Old 4th September 2013, 20:49   #1
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Default Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box

Hi everyone! I just managed to get time today (After 5 days) to create a thread here. We just took delivery of a brand new Swift ZDi (Diesel variant) a few days back and I am elated to share the news with you.
I have very little time, but here's a small background around how and why we got the car.

The Civic (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...ight=workhorse) was bought in September, last year and has done 21000 km in the last 11 months. The car is still in great condition and has served us gracefully over this period of time. CNG made it immensely cheap to drive and a lot of it's fun edge was still there so it was a popular car in my house.

But there comes a time when one must make a few decisions, and I decided to buy a brand new car, purely because I wanted a fun to drive diesel.

ABS and Airbags were first on the list of pre-requisites, even above some of the oft publicized features these days, like auto wipers and auto lights, and even auto climate control. I am not a fan of many things auto in a car (but the Civic is an Auto )

Test Drives taken:

1. Honda Amaze 1.5D VX: First on the list of priorities.
+ Powerful, torquey engine with minimal lag
+ Soft ride, sturdy suspension
+ Spacious with a big boot
+ The OOMPH from the Earth Dreams diesel in second gear. Honestly, this made me a fan

- Startling NVH levels (the word Matador comes to mind)
- Horrid interiors
- Lack of many creature comforts
- Lop sided looks
- 9.58 lacs is too much for a Brio with a boot

2. Ford Figo 1.4 Titanium: An all time favourite
+ Tried and tested reliability
+ Space, boot space
+ Handling
+ Build quality

- Ride
- Under specced
- Spartan interiors
- Poor plastics
- Starter button a tacky add on in a weird position
- Old, generation old looks

3. Volkswagen Polo 1.2 Highline TDi: Almost settled for it!
+ Legendary (for an Indian small car) build quality
+ Loved the interior design
+ Beautiful instrument binnacle
+ Great switches
+ Comfortable seats
+ New features in revised model
+ Decent space
+ Good suspension (ride. Handling not too great.)
+ Super Volkswagen finance deals (3 years insurance and service free)

- 1.2 3 cylinder, the biggest turn off (psychologically, though. To drive, it was quite nice. Maybe because that was the first car I TD'ed)
- Suspect A.S.S.
- Long term reliability and outside A.S.S. availability of spares not established since I damn as hell won't go to VW for service
- I am going to be installing a Race Dynamics tuning box shortly, and I didn't really want to risk putting the Polo engine components at a higher risk for wear and tear as I know well that it's not a Maruti and performance gains on the Swift were way higher than what the Polo would give with it's 3 pot.


4. Ford Ecosport Titanium (O): Disappointing
I know there are a lot of people who will be pisssed off on reading this but I found the Ecosport unexciting, cramped and uninvolving to drive. The Ecoboost is not something I would recommend, and the TDCi was driveable but there was some oomph missing. Something that distanced me from the car the moment I drove it. They are selling like hot cakes, though, but I am not one to be fooled by the Ford design, masquerading a smaller Fiesta in an SUV like design.

5. Chevrolet Sail UVA LT: Cheap to look at, cheap to sit in.
+ Well tuned engine
+ Space
+ Good ride
- Uninspiring looks
- Dated interior design. WHO bends down to shut and open windows?
- BIGGEST turn-off: Rattling interiors within 4k km and a loud thud on hitting larger bumps.
- Iffy build quality
- Chevrolet is a troubled company in India and the Tavera and recent Sail twin recalls made it quite easy to ignore them.


6. Nissan Micra XV: MOST driveable engine of the lot!
+ High levels of equipment
+ Likeable looks
+ Good build quality
+ Nissan reliability
+ Renault engine: Most city-friendly engine. No lag and good linear performance
- Poor suspension
- Small car like levels of space and ride quality
- NVH levels, the achilles heel of this gem of an engine
- Suspect Nissan service

Which brings us to the story of how I chose to buy the Swift ZDi.

Here's the thing. It wasn't even ON THE LIST of probables! I always abhorred Maruti build quality and didn't really appreciate the ride and build quality (which conveniently was called a Rattlesnake endearingly by many of it's owners) of the earlier Swift. With that impression in my mind, I thought it best to skip the Swift.

With a closed mind, I went to Maruti (Vitesse showroom) at Worli to have a look at the A-Star automatic (since we were looking for a small car for mom as well). Drove it. HATED it.

Anyway, I was about to leave (it was a long day. 6 test drives at 5 different dealers) and I saw a Swift standing there. I looked at the SA (more about him later) and asked if it's a Diesel. He immediately asked if I wanted to take a drive. I had totally lost faith in Maruti after driving that aberration of a car (A-Star) with that abomination of an auto gear box. I said, what the hell? What do I have to lose? I am not going to buy the car anyway. Let's see how badly this Maruti rattles and how harsh and noisy the ride is.

He went to arrange for the key. Immediately my roving eyes caught some fine details of the car that made her look quite attractive and a good looker despite being on the road for over 2 years.

The Swift in her ZDi livery had very attractive 15 inch alloy wheels and the swooping tail lights and large headlights made her look quite grown up. The car looked bigger than the original Swift and somehow lost that wannabe Mini Cooper looks. EXACTLY what it needed!!

I sat inside. A word escaped my mouth. I can't write it here. My jaw dropped at the all black interiors and the way the waterfall console looked, with it's integrated head unit and attractive climate control screen, the interiors looked very smart. I was amazed at the jump in quality over the older Swift. Shut the door with a light pull, thinking it will make a tinny sound and rattle shut. It didn't! Instead there was a muted thud, and I looked at the SA and said that this is not bad! It was later in the evening, so I switched on the dim lights, in turn lighting the entire console up. This was looking better and better!

The dials were readable, and so was the MID. The music player and climate control with their well matched colours and screens, looked supremely beautiful. I was taken aback. The four letter word comes to mind again!!
I thought to myself, "if this car rode as well, I would buy it!"

I had no doubts about the engine and it's prowess. It was reliable as well. But I still had my reservations on the ride and rattlesnake impression. I turned the key and she settled into a muted thrum. Very refined, I thought. But I already knew that.

Slotted her into first and left off gingerly. Where's the 'scalded cat' performance, I thought! The car was not really taking off the blocks as well as the earlier Swift.

The car was not really taking off the blocks as well as the earlier Swift. And mind you, this car had done 25000 km. So the question of the engine not being run in didn’t come up. The car felt like it was a few BHP down and lacked that eagerness to take off the blocks. I bet that the older Swift can still beat the new one in a drag race off the blocks. I mentioned this to the SA and he said that Maruti concentrated the most on the engine this time, and I was wondering whether this was just marketing crap. Anyway, I got out of the lane, gingerly, because there were a lot of people around. The car felt very very smooth and was just rolling the moment I took my foot off the surprisingly light clutch. Not bad at all, I thought, since it was a test drive vehicle and most of them reach EOL at 25k km due to the hard life that they have to face. But coming to the performance bit, I was a little disappointed at the response in first gear.

I did exactly what needs to be done on a test drive. Rip the car from the moment you see open roads. I was in third gear. Slowed down for a second. Pushed the slick and stubby gear lever into second and just dabbed the throttle and she took off like a bullet (AKA the national engine thrust) and kept accelerating through the gears. 2nd, 3rd, 4th, BAM! Aim and point. And ANNIHILATE! This is how I would like to describe how she was flying! Throttle response was great, for a diesel. There was some amount of lag, but not as much as Gen 1. This is what the SA must have spoken about. Linear power delivery, less lag, less need to stand on the clutch. We approached some slow moving traffic and immediately I realized how easy she has become to punt around in the city. Keep her in second gear and she can crawl at city speeds. The older one was stubborn as a mule in city traffic. And I was pleasantly pleased at that.

The moment of reckoning came when we were about to hit a big bump. I geared up to face a neck snapping, bone crunching and back breaking thud with a loud rattle and plastic rubbing against metal sound (of the dashboard). In true test drive style I maneuvered her into the bump at a speed of 40 kmph. The bump was of crater standards. What happened after that just shocked me out of my seat! We sailed through that bump. And how! I expected her to behave like a disgruntled, truant, rebel, snorter of a teenage girl but she displayed the demeanour of a manicured, well learnt, cultured queen. Trust me, the ride was so well sorted and cushioned us so well from the bumps that the ride back home in my Honda Civic felt a little harsh.

Bumps at low speeds, paver blocks and expansion joints at high speeds. Maruti has injected some magic potion into this car and the balance and stability of this car on bumps has to be seen to be believed. Very uncharacteristic of this company, I thought.

I drive a Civic with an all disc brake setup. I half expected braking to be slightly weak (reading LDi and VDi reports on team bhp). But surprisingly, the brakes were very well modulated and the larger booster on the ZDi was showing it’s prowess. Stopping power was adequate and ABS kicked in only a couple of times on a familiar road where my Civic ABS just goes ballistic when I am braking hard on uneven and asymmetrical surfaces.
The interior was super silent. NO rattles. Again, weird for a test car that had completed 25k km. The interiors also looked as good as new. Somehow, the age was just not showing on this car. On the inside, and on the engine front. On the outside, well the car had seen a fair share of abuse, but it held well where it mattered.
On the drive back, I was just thinking to myself. This car was not even on my list. She was just standing there and I took a drive for the heck of it. And now she’s such a contender. THE ONE! Love at first drive! All the other options remained just that. Options. And I did have options at the back of my mind, because I knew that there used to be a long waiting period for this family of cars, and I was not prepared to wait as the keeda to get a new car soon was already sitting in my head.

I went back inside the showroom and sat on the chair. Bristling with excitement, but again, having this waiting period thought in my head. I was thinking, what would I buy if this one is not available? I had almost made up my mind. If it’s not the Swift, the second choice is the Polo Highline TDi. But I was hell bent on having a Swift, and I was trembling when he sat with this inventory list. What he told me next was shocking as well as soothing. “All colours are available in stock except Grey,” he said. I looked at him with confused eyes. HOW can you have the ZDi available and in stock in all colours?? Is the ZDi a slow moving model?? Are the cars old stock? Is the Swift not selling?? I was a little apprehensive. But the next answer was assuring. Vitesse being Vitesse has a HUGE inventory of cars at any given point of time and Maruti is also suffering from a stock surplus. So the Midnight Black ZDi that was lying in the stockyard was a May 2013 model. Not bad at all, I thought. Hence I decided to put down the money for the Midnight Black ZDi. There was a Superior White ZDi but he said it’s a 2012 model. I had made my mind up on the Black one but also wondered why there was a 2012 model of the highest selling colour of the highest selling family of cars. I asked him. He said I shouldn’t go in for the 2012 model and it was just on the inventory list that they had and they had been advised against selling that one. One more assurance that Vitesse will not sell an old car or a bad car to any of it’s customers.

A word on the Sales Advisor. Mitin Udeshi from Vitesse. Never met someone with this much dedication to sell cars. To be honest, I didn’t really show any enthusiasm on the first day. Interested I was, but didn’t really speak about the finance part once. The next day, I got calls from all the dealers who gave me test drives with the customary question, “Sir, KYA DECIDE KIYA AAPNE?” This guy was firmly planted. Not fickle minded. No cheap tactics to sell cars. No false claims. Not even a sales call. He even highlighted some points of the VW Polo over the Swift, while comparing. I was sure. If I was buying a car, it was going to be from Mitin. And Vitesse only. We have a long history with Vitesse since 1985 and have bought as many as 12 Marutis from them and have only good things to say about them. Their service, delivery deadlines and promises are realistic. Their service workshop at Prabhadevi is par excellence and we are privileged to have Vitesse in Mumbai. Since 29th of August, we have liked Mitin and his honesty so much, that we have bought another 3 cars from him in a matter of 3 days. More on that later!! (Yes, it involves the addition of another car in our stable). Till date, he hasn’t said no or shown any negativity for anything we have asked him. He has even kindly offered a few accessories and accommodated special discounts for all the cars we bought from him. YES, EVEN THE SWIFT! In fact, we got a 25000 rupee discount on it, plus 6k worth of accessories.

Delivery:
The run-up to the delivery was short, but painful. Every night, I was up till 2-3 am reading fellow bhpians’ reviews and straining my eyes, watching YouTube videos related to the Swift. After a few days, I was so bored that I downloaded the entire User Manual from the Maruti website and read it once over
(to be continued...)

Last edited by Eddy : 18th September 2013 at 13:30. Reason: Add paragraph spacing for better readability
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Old 12th September 2013, 18:35   #2
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Default re: Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box

Anyway, as the delivery day inched close, I started getting butterflies in my stomach! This was more exciting than even my wedding this year!!!
It was obvious. The first diesel car in the family. MY FIRST CAR EVER (I was paying for it) and this was going to be our daily driver. I would be technically spending more time with her than my entire family!!

Anyway, went to Vitesse, Worli to get her home on the 29th of August, 2013. I had purchased 3D Kagu Mats for her already and requested Mitin not to bother putting the sad mats that Vitesse had on offer.

Accessories Provided:
1. Mud Flaps
2. Rear Spoiler
3. Door Sill guards.

Post delivery Additions:
1. Kamyo paint sealant treatment
2. Autocop Rear CAMERA + BLUETOOTH + Parking sensors all integrated into the mirrors
3. Kagu 3D mats

The rear spoiler would be delivered a few days later as the paint hadn't dried. Well, I did get it fitted a few days later but the finish was not upto my standards. So going there and getting it done in a few days.

I started writing this review when the car had done 250 km and within 7 more days, the ODO stands at 1093 km today.

I fueled up at 640 km (odo reading) which means I got 570 km to the tank. Which equates to roughtly an average of 15 km per litre. Not bad for the first tankful. The trip meter stands at 453 km as of now and she still shows a little less than half the tank remaining.
The whole pleasure of owning and running in a brand new car is unparallelled. The engine shows signs of opening up daily. As the days have passed, she has started becoming a whole lot smoother and tractable. I still need to get used to the slightly iffy clutch (I drove an auto everyday) and it still bugs me when I am in traffic, but I can live with it. Will show it in the first service.

SO, round up:
Positives:
1. Hugely tractable engine
2. Great brakes
3. Looks
4. Ride (unbelievable when compared to the earlier Swift)
5. Handling: You can chuck her into corners and she won't make a mess out of it.
6. Air conditioning
7. Front seats: A very comfortable squab and highly adjustable
8. The swooping waterfall like interiors
9. Stock ICE
10. Gearshift has improved over 1000 km. I was not happy with it earlier, but it's now smooth through the gears. Except 5th and reverse. Will take a bit of time to become less stiff in those gears.

Negatives:
1. Space
2. Rear seat is not satisfactory
3. Poor choice of fabric for seats and doorpads
4. THAT WRETCHED HORN!
5. No adjustable intermitted speeds on wipers. A glaring omission in a 8.5 lac rupee car!
6. No bluetooth in ICE
7. No parking sensors. One more glaring omission in a 8.5 lac rupee car!


Some photos. I will be updating this thread regularly so questions are welcome.
Attached Thumbnails
Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0388-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0393-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0401-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0407-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0409-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0411-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0412-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0414-hdtv-1080.jpg  

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Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0425-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0428-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0429-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0430-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0438-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0441-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0442-hdtv-1080.jpg  

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Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0445-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0446-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0448-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0450-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0452-hdtv-1080.jpg  

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Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0458-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0459-hdtv-1080.jpg  

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Old 12th September 2013, 18:41   #3
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Default re: Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box

A few parting shots...
Installed the IND nameplate too!
Attached Thumbnails
Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0460-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0461-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0462-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0463-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0464-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0465-hdtv-1080.jpg  

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Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-dsc_0467-hdtv-1080.jpg  

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Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-img_20130911_214753.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-img_20130910_135723.jpg  

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Old 12th September 2013, 18:45   #4
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Default re: Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box

Last set of photos. Mobile ones that had to be resized!

PS: SHE's a MILE MUNCHER! Did a long trip with her already (to Uran) and her engine felt like it was improving in response every 10 km!!!!
Attached Thumbnails
Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-imag0081-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-imag0085-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-imag0112-hdtv-1080.jpg  

Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box-img_20130902_083535-hdtv-1080.jpg  


Last edited by frankmehta : 12th September 2013 at 18:47.
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Old 15th September 2013, 18:03   #5
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Default re: Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box

About MY car:
I have beaten around the bush so much that I forgot to mention how my Swift ZDi has been doing over the last 15 days that I have got her.
Before this, a Honda Civic was my daily driver, hence this car has seen the same stretches of road and driving pattern over similar traffic and weather conditions, so please don't mind a few direct comparisons with the Civic. Try as I might, I won't be able to exclude her from my thought process in evaluating the Swift.


Air Conditioning
The Swift has a very very efficient air conditioning system. I always thought that my Fiesta (and then the Honda Civic) had good air conditioning, but this one trumps them. I will tell you why. My car stands in the harshest of conditions under the sun for 6 hours daily. This makes the cabin a very unwelcome place to be in, when we are going back in the car. This is where the Swift performs better than the Fiesta and the Civic, because the cabin cools before I even start driving away. The Fiesta and the Civic would cool the cabin within 1 km of driving her. The automatic climate control is intuitive to use and the buttons are of decent quality. The display is dot matrix, Casio calculator type but has an old school beauty to it.

Build Quality
  • This is something Maruti has always been average at. I don't say BAD, because those posts are already filled by Tata, Mahindra and recently, Toyota (for the Etios). Maruti still has a long way to go, in terms of body gauge and thickness, to compete with the likes of VW or Skoda, but it does the job. The doors shut with a completely non-Maruti like thunk and need to be shut with more force. Impressive.
  • Paint quality leaves a lot to be desired, as the slightest of brushes cause a chunk of the paint to come out. Experienced it yesterday, as the car was standing unattended and someone might have rested his or her bike against the car. 3-4 cm of paint peeled off, exposing the sheet metal within. Damn you, irresponsible public! Paint sheen is good, but the car could have done with a few more layers of paint.
  • The bumpers are thin but that sometimes is a good thing because they pop back out if they are pressed in due to a blow (not had the opportunity to experience this thankfully)
Cabin
  • The cabin again, is very UN-Maruti-like. Decent quality of plastics. Nice, even backlighting and well sculpted center console. The choice of colour for the Swift (Jet black) was the reason why I picked the Swift over the DZire. I kid you not! Budget was not the reason.
  • The glove box shuts with an assuring click the passenger side cup holder opens and closed in a damped manner. It's a shame that Maruti thinks the driver doesn't drink any coffee and the driver side cupholder has been eliminated altogether.
  • The way the music system and ACC and the console blend with each other has been mentioned earlier and I am amazed by it's simplicity but still look at it at night with it's orange backlight and wonder whether I am still sitting in my own car! It's surreal. Very upmarket!
  • AC Vents are of good quality. Will last the life of the car. Good directional airflow as well. The rhomboidal vent design is better than the round, almost uniform vents in most cars these days.
  • The rattles after 1400 km (which is what I completed today) are limited to 1. There is a noise from the rear, somewhere in the boot.

Driving Comfort & Position
  • This is where the Swift trumps it's similarly sized rivals.
  • Ride quality and in-cabin comfort (for it's front passengers) is unparallelled.
  • The seats are wide and comfortable. Seat squab is supremely soft as well as supportive.
  • Cabin noise is average due to the thin glass windows in the Swift, but it's amazing how practical it can get. Somehow the traffic noise doesn't filter through much, but you are aware that there is a car on either side of the car. It could be better, no doubt, but is not at all bad.
  • The rear seats are typical Swift-type seats. Upright and lack of reasonable thigh support. The legroom is better than the earlier Swift, but still less. Three together is not a very tight fit on the rear bench, but the transmission hump in the middle robs the third guy from enjoying the drive.
  • The seat fabric is not great. Even on the ZDi model. I am switching over to leather soon.

Engine
  • Now this is the same engine that powers a vast no. of vehicles in India and around the world, in various guises and states of tune. I don't need to say much about it, but a few words felicitating it will give you an idea.
  • I would like to say that, even though this engine has been designed and engineered by Fiat, ONLY Maruti has been able to get the tuning entirely correct. Chevrolet comes close, but Fiats running this engine don't really provide the feeling conveyed by the Marutis. Engine management by Maruti is supreme!
  • This damn thing is a beauty. A creamy smooth, free revving, fun to drive diesel engine! Three descriptions that would never be prefixed before an engine that runs the so called 'dirty fuel.'
  • Three weeks of living with her has gotten me addicted to this engine and it's tractability and eagerness to respond and deliver endears this car to me like nothing else. Power, right when you need it!

Fuel Efficiency
I have finished 1500 km while typing this review and I have filled her up three times already. The efficiency has improved as the engine has opened up and is being broken in. Also, it took me a good 3-400 km to adapt my driving pattern to suit this car. This is my first diesel car, after all.

Gearshift
  • Maruti has been known for some really smooth gearboxes, and of late, some really bad ones. This one, though, is the best that I could ask for. Well defined gates, chunky shifter and accurate shifting. The engine and the gearbox are amalgamated almost perfectly and the well synced ratios make this gearbox a pleasure to plonk around.
  • I would have preferred a slightly better low RPM response in the second gear, but I am waiting for the car to cross 4-5000 km to really make a judgement on that one.

Handling
  • I have driven the earlier Swift for quite a few km and somehow I always felt that the chassis wasn't really upto the task of keeping up with the oodles of torque and the power didn't really flow as smooth as it should have, hence, not doing justice to an otherwise competent package.
  • When I first started driving my own Swift, I was amazed at the balance that Maruti has achieved, in making the chassis taut as taut can be, and even keeping the weight in check, hence upping the fun to drive factor. AND HOW! Chuck her around in to corners, and you know the chassis can take more. Throw her into curved, or slightly banked roads at good speeds and you will know what I am talking about. Absolutely planted.
  • Fantastic responses to steering inputs and a very very good feeling when powering her through twisties. In fact, I take a very well paved 13 km stretch of road twice daily (Eastern Freeway), and that road has been banked and designed almost perfectly. I approach corners at 90 kmph (around 2k rpm) and I just stamp my foot down and power through the corner. 90-100-110-120-130, and she just keeps going! Sticking to the road like a leech, yet responding to the slightest change in direction. One really does need to experience the way she handles. Almost perfect. Sometimes reminds me of my Fiesta S.

Illumination
  • As is the case with all Marutis, stock illumination is pretty good and the road coverage is even. The low beam is slightly less effective than I would desire, but the high beam does the job.
  • The stock fog lights do a stellar job of highlighting the road just ahead of the bumper and the sides and IMHO, they are useful when taking turns on normal roads. They work 'silently' as in you can't feel their presence while they are on, but you sure as hell miss them when they are off.
  • The cabin illumination is POOR. There is only one overhead light provided, and no map lights or auxiliary illumination is provided near the windshield. There is one solitary central cabin light between the front and rear seats on the ceiling. NOT COOL, MARUTI!
  • The illumination of the dials and center console deserve special mention as they just look YUMMY at night. The music system, the aircon controls, the steering wheel ICE controls and the dials are all lit in a soft orange colour and give a very international feel to the whole affair. Love the orange on black lighting and must give full marks to Maruti for actually making a car that has desirable interiors which are easy on the eyes, yet classy when lit up.
Music System
  • http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/sound-...ght=frankmehta
  • http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/sound-...ght=frankmehta
  • These threads give you an idea about how serious I am about ICE. But I am against opening up the Swift and installing aftermarket ICE in her as of now. Purely because I wanna keep her stock and wish to keep the Civic for a little longer. I will not be blowing up wads of cash on a new set of serious equipment and I intend to install the gear from the Civic into the Swift if we intend on selling the Civic.
  • The ICE, on it's own is at par with what is offered on premium cars of late, and actually better than the aftermarket ICE (with an amplifier!) that I had fit on my Zen (now sold) so that speaks good volumes about how good the sound quality is.
  • The buttons are nice and large and the system is intuitive to operate. Buttons on the steering wheel achieve most frequently used tasks and I am satisfied by the tactile feedback provided by the steering and head unit controls.
  • There are 2 woofers in the front doors and 2 tweeters in the sail panels. The rear doors have 2 full range speakers. The speakers are bright, but toning the Treble down works for me. Bass is ok, but not adequate for someone who has 2 subs in the boot at any given time :-)

NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness levels)
  • This is where Maruti has done a great job over the earlier Swift. You can make out a day and night difference between the 2. This car is just too refined in comparison.
  • Engine noise in the cabin is muted when it is at optimum operating temperature and it's only when the engine is cold that the characteristic diesel clatter enters the cabin. There is a lot of firewalling in the engine bay and the cabin, and that shows.
  • Vibrations are perceptible in the clutch pedal while getting the car moving from standstill, and while switching off the engine (shudder). Otherwise vibes are contained. Hell, even a Jetta passes on a few vibrations to the clutch pedal, even when on song. The feeling of a hot knife cutting through butter is perceived, when running through the gears and there is no harshness felt in the cabin at all. In all, a very impressive performance on that aspect.

On Road Behaviour
  • Driving this car equally on highways and crowded roads has gone to great lengths to show that this car is very well suited to cruising and overtaking at not so normal speeds, but give this car some traffic, and she will act like a different animal. The lag at lower RPMs, the relatively long clutch travel and her tendency to dart off if given a little more throttle makes the car a slight pain in stop and start or bumper to bumper traffic. You might just rear end the car ahead of you, or, inversely stall her if you don't give enough gas.
  • Maybe this is early days for me, and maybe I will get used to this, but yes, she's definitely not a pleasure in traffic. My Honda Civic Auto makes traffic seem pointless.

Passenger Comfort
My co passenger sits in the same comfort that I do, but people at the rear have a collective lack of legroom or sufficient width to seat three in comfort. This is a hatch, but still more spacious as compared to the earlier Swift, but has a long way to go before reaching Tata Vista comfort levels for the rear passengers.

Ride Quality
  • Shocking. One word.
  • Can't describe the composure of this car on the bad roads I do. Driving the Civic after that makes me cringe on bumps. The Swift just gobbles up bumps at low speeds (albeit with a little more pitch and toss than the Civic) and gets even better as the speeds increase. The suspension is MADE FOR INDIA and has a very tight balance between exceptional handling and comfortable ride.
  • The suspension has a lot of travel, and you feel the difference when taking larger bumps at low speeds.
  • The suspension is mature in the fact that the car rides better when loaded with all passengers. The ride quality is great even in the back.
  • The car takes speed breakers in her stride well without touching her underbelly.
  • The 15's with their slightly lower profile do a great job in making the ride almost plush! 185/60R14 Goodyear Duraplus tires were stock and I decided to keep them, considering their poor resale value and higher life. I don't mind the slightly higher road noise, but hell, they are better than the MRF's that come stock!

Stopping Power (Brakes)
  • This car doesn't come with an all Disc brake setup but still, the brakes do a stellar job in stopping the car.
  • This being an ABS equipped ZDi, apparently comes with larger brake boosters and it shows on the roads. The stopping power is more than adequate.
  • Pedal feel is fantastic and bite from the brakes is commendable. The pedal does JUST what it conveys to your foot.
  • In fact, I am loving the brakes so much that it inspires more confidence in me and instills a feeling of 'money well spent' on Safety aids. I would have gone in for a lower version if it would have had ABS and Airbags, such is their priority in my list of requisites!

Transmission and Clutch
The transmission is smooth and gearshifts are effortless, seamless and well mated to the engine.
The clutch, on the other hand is slightly heavy, as compared to Petrol cars and will take some getting used to. Releasing it doesn't offer that snap-in bite that I would have liked.
EDIT: First service solved my clutch pedal feel issue. They bled the brakes and the clutch and now the bite from the pedal on release is JUST how I wanted it to be!

Usability (Day to day use and Practicability)
The PERFECT car for the city.
Small yet spacious, nimble yet stable, safe and sturdy, reliable yet fun. This girl has got it all. I have done only 1500 km with her, but I am so much in love with her already. Goes long lengths to show why people who buy Swifts love them despite it's quirks and shortcomings.

Visibility (Front and rear, while driving and parking)
Visibility is good, save for two grey areas.
The large A pillar is a deterrent while driving in the city but most modern cars do seem to be facing this issue.
Second issue is the slightly projecting rear bumper so reversing does require a good set of parking sensors. I even got a camera installed, since the rearview mirror was too small, and so is the rear windshield. Hence the fisheye lens gives a good view of what is behind the car.

Wheels and Tires
I just love the stock wheels and the asymmetrical design works. The colour goes well with the black colour of the car and I don't see myself going in for a change any time soon.
The tires are Goodyear Duraplus 185/60R14 tires and the name itself conveys their purpose. They are supposed to last. And last they will, considering their harder than normal compound. This increases life, but road noise does increase. As of now, with minimal wear, the tires are doing an ok job and I am happy with the combination of handling, grip, ride and noise they provide.
A change in tires is not slated anytime soon.


This was an exhaustive review of my car. Will be updating this thread regularly with the events circling the life of this car. Stay tuned guys!

Last edited by frankmehta : 17th September 2013 at 20:29.
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Old 17th September 2013, 20:41   #6
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Default re: Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box

Update:
Just gave her for her First free inspection/service today.
The service center (Vitesse, Prabhadevi) just cements my faith in our decision to go in for a Maruti again! Unparalleled service, great experience and super quick. I had a slight issue with the clutch release, and with the security system going off with the slightest of feathers touching the bonnet. Everything was sorted carefully and the brakes were bled, hence making them super effective, and giving the clutch some much intended bite.
I am going there again next month for the first inspection/service of our OTHER ACQUISITION that we just made this week. More on that later....


News Flash: Contrary to what other threads mention, the Swift Diesel indeed comes with Mineral oil from the factory and doesn't warrant a shift to Synthetic, unless really demanded by the customer. My Service Advisor says that oil changes will be done with the company recommended MGA mineral oil only and doesn't want me to spend unnecessarily on Synthetic oil.
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Old 18th September 2013, 11:01   #7
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Default re: Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 18th September 2013, 13:17   #8
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Default re: Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box

Thanks for sharing. That was an elaborate ownership thread. Hope you will have many satisfying miles and smiles on your Black Beauty.
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Old 18th September 2013, 13:27   #9
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Default re: Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box

Wonderful review sirjee, How easy or difficult is it for you to drive a manual car since you are coming from an Auto background?
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Old 18th September 2013, 13:31   #10
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Default re: Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box

Congratulations Sir.

I have two questions to ask :

1. Why didn't you consider Fiat Punto ?

2. How much did the Autocop rear camera set cost ?

Cheers !
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Old 18th September 2013, 13:45   #11
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Default re: Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box

Interesting review frankmehta. I just did a TD of the swift ZDI now. I am contemplating on a change of my Indica Vista Quadrajet. The swift's interiors(Front) are very good and the front seats are specially very comfy. BTW, how is the high speed stability after 100kmph???

Last edited by petroguzzler : 18th September 2013 at 13:51.
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Old 18th September 2013, 15:20   #12
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Default re: Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box

Excellent and a very exhaustive review of our national car. The swift is no doubt the best offering from Maruti in its current line of products according to me and even now its very hard to really knock it off your list if you are in the market for hatches.
Rating your effort a well deserved 5 star!
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Old 18th September 2013, 15:28   #13
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Default re: Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box

Hello Frank,

Wonderful buying experience & initial ownership report.

Were you looking for a hatchback only? I mean did you ever considered test driving Swift Dzire? Reason for asking, by paying Rs. 1 lakh more, one can get a sedan like experience in Dzire.

Also what did you finally decide about that Civic?

Thanks,
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Old 18th September 2013, 16:10   #14
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Default re: Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box

Congratulations! A very nice review.
Since you opted for Black, good luck in maintaining it!
I own the previous generation Swift & the current Dzire. Have to say Maruti has done a stellar job by making this Swift such a great car!
The black interiors are not difficult to maintain but after a point of time i personally feel it starts to look dull & boring.
Quote:
Originally Posted by frankmehta View Post
The tires are Goodyear Duraplus 185/60R14 tires and the name itself conveys their purpose.
I guess this a typo. Should be 15inch wheels!
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Old 18th September 2013, 16:18   #15
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Default re: Frankmehta's workhorse : Black Maruti Swift ZDi. EDIT, now with RD Box

Thank you for the exhaustive review and wishing you a great ownership experience. Good to read that your service experience has been good as well.
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