HI y'all, guess what- i recently got to drive the all-new swift; even before it's official launch!!! and, boy, am i excited!! i'm the first person to test drive the car, other than company officials and auto journos- and the first TEAM-BHPian!!!
(p.s- i hope GTO lifts my probation, as i ain't [ or wasn't] allowed new posts. c'mon, yaar, lemme off the hook- i didn't deserve it anyways....)
well, without further ado, here's my first impression.... STYLING:
well, i don't think you need more enlightenment on this front. the swift is the grandson of the concept s, which, by the way, many liked, but thought would never make it into production.
the styling is attractive, refreshingly new. exactly what the market needs to soothe some sore eyes. the front headlights are distinctive, and so are the flared back taillights. the flared wheel arches do the car justice, and gives it that sporty stance. the ground clearance has been quoted at 170 mm, but the car doesn't look that part, and has a squat look, which, coupled to it's aggressive stance, makes it look extremely sporty.
round1: goes to the swift. INTERIORS
this is where the swift will get divided reviews. i, personally, didn't like the plastic material used for the dash. it's better than all the other marutis, though, and on par with the baleno. the door pads, however, feel okay. but overall, the plastics exude the car's value, and it feels built to a price. and for cribs, there isn't even a clock in the lower variants. i couldn't check this on the zxi- but i don't think a clock is present in that model either- and there's an empty slot in the upper part of the dash, where the multi information display is supposed to be. the gap has been filled by plastic. the driver's seat, is, however, very comfortable, and height adjustable (zxi). the co-passenger seat, is very comfortable,too. the rear could have used additional padding, though. and the thigh support in the rear isn't adequate.
the instrument console, however, is excellently laid out, and is easy to read. the tacho, speedo, and the telltale lights clearly state that this is a driver-oriented car. the gear shift feels and looks good too. FEATURES
the swift has more features than any other car in it's class- but some are missing, too. there are accessory sockets in the front and boot, cup holders in the front, power windows, power steering, central locking, etc. and the zxi gets airbags, abs, ebd, keyless entry, fatter tyres, alloy wheels, electric boot opener, etc. but, some stuff-like a stereo, reading lights for the rear bench (present in the indigo) etc. are absent. that's okay, but since it's an all-new maruti, you intend to expect a li'l somethig more.... but maybe it's just me.there are provisions in the door pads for 4 speakers. DRIVING EXPERIENCE
well, here's where the cookie crumbles. although i didn't get to drive the car for long (i shall post my updated review on this later), i got a fair idea of the car's capabilities.
first, let me begin by saying that i was a little disappointed with the car's performance. but maybe that's because i was expecting too much from the car. i drove the zxi ( i didn't check the features extensively on this one; i was too busy focussing on the mechanicals), and frankly, the performance of the car felt just about adequate. that being said, the car is no slouch either. it will still beat all it's rivals, but it's just that you can't compare it's performance with the esteem or the palio 1.6. the car accelerates sufficiently quick, until the 110 kmph mark. by the way, the gearing is different from that of the esteem or the baleno, and you have to shift to third to get to 100 kmph. after 120, the pick-up is steady, and it'll still leave the getz, palio 1.2 and the indica gasping in it's wake, but it does not feel as peppy as the similar-engined esteem. but that is mainly due to the weight factor.
it's not just the speed, but how the car handles that speed. in this respect, hats off to maruti for getting it's numbers right on this one. the optimal track (read:huge width), wheelbase and the excellent rubber ensure that the car has bucketloads of grip, and the car felt rock-steady uptil 150, the max speed i could push her to. this is a first drive, remember- so i couldn't push her to her limits. the ride quality is excellent, and this is where the swift will whack it's rivals to neverland. it's extremely good at the front, and good at the rear, too. the swift's rivals will be hard pressed to beat her on the "driving experience" front. the ride quality apart, i expected the car to wallow over the one or two high-speed corners that i subjected the car to, but body roll and control was excellent, and the feedback, outstanding. the body control exuded by the car is by far the best in it's class.
the brakes feel good, and the stopping power offered by the disc-drum setup is good. the zxi that i drove comes with abs and ebd- and man, the response and feel is pretty good. i literally stood on the brakes at 140, and the car came to a stop without any drama, exhibiting good poise and control.
the steering, looks sporty, but i would have preffered a leather wrapped one. and i suggest this to all those who plan to buy the zxi- get the steering leather wrapped- it'll be worth it. the steering feels adequately lively under most driving circumstances, and caters to most of our needs. the steering feedback and control is good, but the system lacks fluidity when the car buids up speed. it feels a tad light under high speeds(EPS being the culprit)- the weightage of a hydraulic system is, well, missed- but only slightly. PRICING
aaaahhhh.....the one cookie that all of you have been waiting for ;
well, there are no "official" numbers as of yet, but reliable sources tell me that the ex-showroom pricing for the zxi will be in the region of 4.85, +/- 10%. so, it will be well within the market expectations.....
Summing it up; is the swift worth the wait? HELL YES!! the swift will redefine maruti's reputation, not to mention it's fortunes. remember what happened when the zen was launched? expect maruti to repeat history here. sure, there are a few gripes, like the dash quality, lack of extravagant equipment, etc. but hey, you are getting a fantastic car, and a few compromises here and there are well worth it. the competitors can't hold a candle to the swift in terms of overall package, and she can teach some of the bigger boys a lesson or two in ride and handling. and then, there's maruti's service back-up. and also, not to mention it's resale value. the swift will hold excellent resale value for many years to come, a'la the zen; remember what i said??
at last, maruti has given us a proper car, nay, a hatch- and guess what- the swift is here to stay. and unless the competitors have david blaine in their offices to pull something out of their pockets, they're gonna have a hard time, playing catch up to the swift......
oh, i almost forgot...... here are some "unofficial" road pics of the car....
p.s- forgive the quality- i had to use my phone cam, as i got up at 9.00 in the morning, and rushed to test ride the car....i received a call at 8.45, saying the car had landed yesterday midnight.... man, the "jacks" i had to put to drive the car.... hope i can do the same with the fortuner and the safari crd-i......and many others, to bring all you bhpians, exclusive first drives and reports; from me..... and thanx for putting up with my long review- it's my first one, and hope it lives upto your expectations..
oops, sorry, here are the pics....