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2024 Maruti Swift : Our observations after a day of driving

Good dynamics along with a precise steering and a sporty soundtrack make the Swift a fun car to drive.

Driving the Maruti Swift 1.2L Petrol MT

1.2L, 3-cylinder Z-Series petrol engine makes 81 BHP @ 5,700 rpm and 112 Nm @ 4,300 rpm:

The fourth-gen Swift is powered by a 1.2L, 3-cylinder petrol engine. This unit is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission and puts out 81 BHP and 112 Nm. These numbers are lesser than the outgoing car (4-cylinder, 89 BHP & 113 Nm). With a kerb weight of 920 kg, the power-to-weight ratio & torque-to-weight ratio are 88 BHP/ton & 122 Nm/ton respectively. These are considerably lower than the outgoing car. This means that the new Swift is not as fast a performer as the previous generation car. It can be termed as brisk at best.

Maruti claims that the 1,197cc, Z12E unit has improved low-end torque delivery. It is equipped with an electric water pump for better engine cooling and a Lambda air-flow sensor for up to 12% lower CO2 emissions and higher fuel efficiency.

Start the engine by pressing the light clutch and hitting the engine start/stop button. Ease off the clutch and the Swift moves off the line smoothly without any throttle input. Throttle response is good and power delivery is linear. Driving about at city speeds, the car feels smooth. Good driveability is the key here. The car can pull from as low as 500 rpm without any clutch input albeit with a judder. The engine doesn't struggle at low revs and the car can keep up with the traffic without the driver having to shift down too often. This trait combined with a small footprint and light controls makes the Swift very easy to drive around in the city. The engine starts feeling comfortable at 1,500 rpm. The car is relaxed doing 50 km/h in 4th gear with the engine spinning at 1,500 rpm. It starts pulling well above 2,500 rpm.

On the open road, the Swift can be described as a brisk performer. It is not as fast or exciting as the outgoing car. The power delivery is linear and doesn't feel urgent at all. Enthusiastic drivers won't be very impressed by the performance. However, it's not slow and with proper use of the gears, good progress can be made.

There is decent mid-range delivery, but in order to facilitate quick overtaking manoeuvres, it's advisable to shift down to a lower gear. The engine revs up to 6,000 rpm, which is where the redline starts. At this point, the fuel cuts off, which can catch you out in the middle of an overtaking manoeuvre. This, coupled with the lack of power means that passing slower vehicles needs some careful planning. In terms of cruiseability, in 5th gear, 100 km/h is seen at 2,500 rpm while 120 km/h is achieved at 3,000 rpm.

The engine note needs a special mention here. While the typical 3-cylinder thrum is present, the engine sounds very sporty when revved. It's genuinely one of the best-sounding motors out there. It's extremely addictive and enjoyable, which urges you to rev hard and drive fast.

The 5-speed manual transmission is an absolute joy to operate. The throws are short and the shift action is very smooth. With well-defined gates, the gearbox is sure-slotting and it's very hard to miss a shift. The clutch is very light and the travel range is medium.

Noise, Vibration & Harshness (NVH)

Straight off the bat, the 3-cylinder Z12E lacks the refinement of the K12 motor that we've been so used to. It is not terrible by any means and there is a slight shake of the body as the engine cranks and at idle. You will feel mild vibrations coming in through the floor and on the seats. But, there is no engine noise heard at all. If it were not for the vibrations, one would be hard-pressed to tell if the engine is running.

While driving around calmly, the engine sound doesn't bother the cabin. However, as the revs climb, the engine makes itself heard a lot more in the cabin. While it's a likeable sound for enthusiasts, other occupants might complain as things get louder at higher revs.

There is a hint of wind noise above 100 km/h and gets louder with speed. Even so, it’s not excessive at 100-120 km/h. Road noise and tyre noise are average.

Mileage & Fuel Economy

Maruti claims that the fourth-gen Swift is the most fuel-efficient hatchback in its segment with a 14% improvement over its predecessor. The 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol has an ARAI-certified fuel efficiency of 24.80 km/l for the MT and 25.75 km/l for the AMT.

Maruti has equipped the Swift with an idling start/stop function to improve fuel efficiency. This feature worked seamlessly on our test drive and was not intrusive. It can be turned off by pressing a button on the centre fascia.

Bonnet gets insulation underneath and helps keep the noise levels low:

Sufficient insulation on the firewall:

Suspension

 

Ride Comfort

The Swift comes with a McPherson strut suspension at the front and a torsion beam suspension at the rear. The setup is on the firmer side and the slow-speed ride is stiff. The car feels jiggly on concrete surfaces with joints. Even small bumps on the road are noticeable. As the speed increases, the ride improves. At highway speeds, most bumps and undulations won't bother you. Large potholes do register themselves in the cabin though. What is impressive is how silently the suspension goes about its duty.

The ZXi and ZXi+ variants of the Swift ride on 15-inch wheels with 185/65 section tyres and the recommended tyre pressure is 29 PSI. Lower variants come with 14-inch rims fitted with 165/80 section rubber. These should provide a better ride.

Torsion beam suspension at the rear:

Handling & Dynamics

The Swift's stiffer suspension setup shows its true worth in the handling and dynamics department. Straight-line stability is very good for a car in this segment and occupants won't even know that the car is cruising at triple-digit speeds. Expansion joints on the highway do not unsettle it.

On long curves, the car holds its line well. Push the car on twisty roads and you will experience some body roll, but it's very well-controlled. The car changes direction without fuss and feels very sure-footed. Our test car came with 185/60 R15 Bridgestone Ecopia tyres, which provided enough grip for the power on tap.

Good dynamics along with precise steering and a sporty soundtrack make the Swift a fun car to drive. But we couldn't help thinking that a more powerful engine could have taken the experience to a whole new level.

Steering

The Swift gets an electric power steering, which is very user-friendly. It's light in the city and most owners will appreciate that. The compact dimensions of the car, light steering and a tight turning radius of 4.8 metres make the Swift very easy to drive in the city. At higher speeds, the steering weighs up well. There's no nervous feeling or twitchiness at all while cruising on the highways. On twisty roads, you will find that it is quick and precise. That being said, it doesn't relay much feedback.

One point to note is that the steering has a stronger return to centre action than some of the Maruti cars we have driven in recent times. It does need some input from the driver while taking on switchbacks, but still, it's a big improvement over the outgoing car. 

Braking

The Swift is equipped with disc brakes at the front and drum brakes at the rear. The performance is as expected and the car comes to a halt without much drama. Under hard braking too, the car doesn't lose its composure.

The pedal feel is good too and there is a little bit of travel before the brakes bite.

Niggles & Problems

The Swift is likely to be trouble-free like most offerings from Maruti. We did not face any problems in our test car and do not expect owners to do so either. However, as is always the case, we strongly recommend extended warranty coverage.

Continue reading the discussion on the 2024 Maruti Swift on our forum.

 
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