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Old 31st December 2007, 05:16   #1
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Default Family battle: Swift 1.3D v/s Palio 1.2 NV

It’s been over a year since I bought the 1.2 NV. My decision to buy a Palio wasn’t backed by many. However, against all advices and suggestions I held on to my love for Palio (the discounts offered also played their part). So I finally bought my first car from Manipal Motors in November 2006.

I’ve covered 20,000 km in its first 12 months. The drive has been satisfying to say the least. I simply love this hatch.

My father is a Diesel head. His first car was diesel Ambassador purchased soon after it was launched way back in the mid 80’s. As time progressed, he found himself driving the Maruthi 800, Maruthi Van, Jeep, a few other diesel ambassadors and even a petrol Ambassador! He wasn’t all that happy with the service/maintenance costs these cars came with (late 90s/early 2000).

The next few years saw my father working abroad for some time and hence we didn’t have a car. After he came back (soon after my studies), I moved to Bangalore for employment and my father began contemplating buying a car. I however bought the Palio (as mentioned above) and handed over the keys to my pop when I was on an overseas assignment. This is when my pop first tasted a relatively hassle free car and he loved the experience. His only so called maintenance was filling petrol! However, he wasn’t too happy filling petrol!

My family felt the need for a second car which was more economical to run. The list of requirements is mentioned below:

01. Diesel
02. 5L-6L budget
03. Easy to drive
04. Good service network
05. Cheap/Easy to maintain
06. White in color!
07. Should not be a TATA
08. We don’t need another Palio
09. Hatch/Sedan – no bar
10. Should be safe

I think the requirement clearly points out to only one car. Yes, the decision wasn’t a difficult one and the Swift D was the unanimous choice.

Waiting Period:
Yes like most we too faced this issue. Thanks to Maruthi for offering some interest rates on the booking amount to keep their customers interested. So after about a month’s wait we get a call from the dealer saying that there is a red one available. However, we were determined to lay our hands on a pearl white. So after about a month and a half in total we finally get the keys to a pearl white Swift LDI. It costs around 5.45L on-road. My father had initially booked the Swift VDI (about 5.9L on-road I guess), I however convinced him that we could fit the essential accessories at a much lower price outside.

The delivery process at Mandovi motors, Mangalore was hassle free and satisfactory.

ICE + Accessories:
As mentioned earlier, we needed to fit all the essential accessories to make this a fully loaded car. The list of accessories is given below:

01. Music system (4 speakers)
02. Power windows (4 doors)
03. Central locking / Remote locking
04. Auto window roll-up module
05. Left ORVM
06. Protective rubber strip across all doors
07. Leather steering cover
08. Good quality mats (including boot)
09. Sun film
10. Protective underbody coating

To carry out this task, I chose Over Drive, Mangalore. The detailed specification of the equipments is given below:

01. Head Unit: Pioneer 5950 – 5,950Rs - grey
02. Speakers: Blaupunkt THX 172 (or 173), 3 way co-axial (4 no) – 4,650 Rs – 1 yr warranty
03. Central / Remote locking: Autocop XS 8500 (immobilizer + impact sensor) –4,200Rs – 3 yr warranty
04. Power Windows: Xenos with built in window roll-up module (1 yr warranty) – 10,000Rs
05. Sun Film: Lumar – 1,800Rs – 1 yr warranty
06. Left ORVM – Installed during delivery by the dealer– 1,500Rs
07. Protective rubber strips - Installed during delivery by the dealer – 1,300Rs
08. Mats: Imported – 650 Rs (4 no) + 250 Rs for the custom vinyl boot mat
09. Leather Steering cover: 500 Rs
10. Protective underbody coating: Done by the dealer – 4,500.

Here are some of the pictures depicting the installation:

Power window kit

Sun flim installation

1. Manual window roll-up mechanism
2. Protective under body coating
3. A tar like greasy glue used by the dealer to stick the plastic cover.
4. The plastic cover.

Central lock motor installation

1. The metal wire connecting the motor to the door open switch

The spacer and the THX 172

After the installation, the plastic cover was used again.

1. The power window kit
2. The wire for the power window switch
3. The plastic cover


Main control for power windows

Steering cover

Position of the siren

Pioneer 5950

The installers

The strongest point about the Swift is its engine. This little beast roars and leaps forward and is rev friendly. There is a considerable turbo lag however. The steering is precise and accurate, though I find a slight hint of over steer at times on spirited driving. The aircon is fantastic and beats the Mangalore heat easily. There is absolutely no power drop when the aircon is in operation. Acceleration is strong and matches the Palio 1.6 on most occasions. It is slightly numb when the turbo is not operational and hence Maruthi should’ve provided a VGT as an option at least. Overall a real fun car to drive and throw around corners (assuming roads are good).

Palio 1.2 v/s Swift 1.3D:
I definitely think that we can bring out a fair comparison between the two cars:

Palio: Just about adequate to do the job.
Swift: Little beauty.
Verdict: Fiat v/s Fiat. Fiat is the winner!

Palio: Precise and well mannered. Steering and gear box still one of the best in the class. The soft suspension however, doesn’t allow fast cornering.
Swift: Brilliant. The harder suspension lets you carry at least 20kmph more speed than the Palio over the same curve.
Verdict: Swift wins for its composure.

Palio: Simply smooth. Lovely suspension that soaks up all the humps and cushions the bad road. Ideal for Indian roads.
Swift: Ideal for tracks but real crappy on bad roads. Too bad for the roads I drive (Charmadi / Shiradi / Madikeri).
Verdict: Palio wins hands down.

Palio: TB (Tank build). Exaggeration apart, the build is still the best in the class by a large margin.
Swift: TB (Tin Box). Sadly, this isn’t an exaggeration. Crappy, tinny, delicate, cheap and shockingly poor build quality. The metal inside the door panel is similar to sheet metal.
Verdict: There is no hope for Maruthi in this department. They are all shockingly crappy (excluding the SX4, maybe).

Palio: Too old. Too much metal every where!
Swift: Good enough.
Verdict: Swift wins since there is no competition.

Palio: Good all round space. Adequate boot space.
Swift: Very good front row. Average rear row. Poor boot space.
Verdict: The longer Palio edges out slightly.

Fuel Efficiency:
We aren’t really worried about this since it is a diesel. Even if it returned 10kmpl, it still beats the Palio! However, initial estimate puts the figure some where around 17 kmpl in a mixed mode with 100% AC!

We are happy with this buy and hope that it would be trouble free for a long time. It complements Palio in a lot of ways. Both cars will be used extensively. There is no battle for supremacy here, both offer unique strengths.

Last edited by sushanthr77 : 31st December 2007 at 05:19.
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Old 31st December 2007, 11:37   #2
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A very nice and detailed comparisson. Congratulations on the Swift Diesel. Its a excellent car and the engine is fantastic. The torque is crazy.

Have fun and make sure you run the Swift in slowly and nicely
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Old 31st December 2007, 11:49   #3
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Congrats on the car!

Whew! Long review. Let me read the rest now.
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Old 31st December 2007, 12:10   #4
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Hey Congrats man. Enjoy your ride.
I am also a Fiat Fan and don't forgot that Swift has the Fiat's Engine
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Old 31st December 2007, 20:43   #5
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A very nice review... Its a pleasure seeing old horse still best in few areas compared to a new gen hatch..
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Old 1st January 2008, 07:57   #6
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sushanth, very nice review. while i agree with most of your points, on the build part i'd like to say swift matches palio in all respects and if you consider the stile 1.1 swift will win hands down on the build and even interior looks to a large extent.

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