Should you buy the Maruti Suzuki Swift or Hyundai i20?

The Maruti Suzuki Swift and the Hyundai i20 are the two top-selling premium hatchbacks which have huge demand in the market. It is quite difficult for a buyer to choose between these two cars because both are established brands in the premium hatchback market.

i20 vs swift

We asked the CarToq community which of these two cars they would buy; take a look at what the poll revealed. See the poll here: Swift vs. i20

The Swift managed to get 61% votes while the i20 grabbed only 39% votes of the total votes cast. Here we try to find out why the CarToq community believes that the Maruti Swift is a better hatchback than the Hyundai i20 based on a quick comparison.

Where Swift is better than i20

Performance (Petrol) and handling

The Swift petrol is powered by a 1.2-litre motor that puts out 86 bhp of power, which is a bit more than the i20’s 1.2-litre engine that puts out 84 bhp. The Swift petrol is a bit easier to drive in city traffic, which demands quick acceleration without compromising on mileage compared to the i20.

Photo: The Swift is a drivers' car and if you love to drive it will be very rewarding

The Swift may not offer a plush ride, but its suspension setup can take quite some beating. The precise steering feedback, great straight line stability and handling characteristics makes the Swift, a driver’s delight. On the other hand, the Hyundai i20 steering is too light which though helpful for city driving, doesn’t feel connected when driven at three digit speeds. The suspension setup of the i20 offers a good ride at low speeds while at high speeds it is unsettled and may cause discomfort to passengers. Also see: Hyundai iGen i20: Video review

Price

The Swift is cheaper than the i20 across variants. The base petrol variant of the Swift is Rs. 29,000 cheaper than the base petrol variant of the i20. The Swift VXI is Rs. 7,000 cheaper than the i20 Magna variant, while the top-end variant of the Swift is Rs. 97,000 cheaper than the top-end i20 petrol.

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Coming to the diesel variants, the base variant of the Swift is Rs. 43,000 cheaper than the i20 base variant.  The mid variant of the Swift VXI diesel is Rs. 22,000 cheaper than the i20 Magna. The Swift ZDI is Rs. 68,000 cheaper than the i20 Asta.

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Fuel economy

When it comes to mileage, the Swift diesel has an ARAI-certified mileage of 23.4 kmpl, which is slightly higher than the ARAI-certified mileage of the new i20 (21.9 kmpl). However, the claimed mileage of the Hyundai i20 petrol is 18.5 kmpl, which is close to the claimed mileage of the Swift petrol (18.6 kmpl). Overall, the Swift diesel is more fuel efficient compared to the i20 diesel.

Maintenance costs  

Maruti Suzuki cars are known for their low maintenance costs and spare parts. The Swift is a good example as it is easy to maintain and spare parts costs are also lower than its rivals such as the i20. Besides, the wide sales and service network ensures peace of mind even when using the car for long drives.

Where i20 is better than the Swift

Performance (diesel)

The i20 diesel is powered by a 1.4-litre CRDi (common rail direct injection) motor that puts out 89 bhp of power and 220 Nm of torque whereas the Swift is powered by a 1.3-litre diesel motor that puts out 74 Bhp of power and 190 Nm of torque. Besides, the i20 comes with a 6-speed transmission while the Swift gets a 5-speed transmission. Hence, an additional cog, more power and torque make the i20 diesel, more drivable than the Swift especially on the highway, but in the city the i20 requires more shifting of gears.

hyundai i20 front left
Photo: The i20 is more spacious and comfortable than the Swift and has tons of features too

Space and Comfort

The new i20 is longer and a bit wider than the Swift though the Swift is a bit taller than the new i20. That essentially means the i20 offers more legroom and a bit more shoulder room especially for passengers. The luggage space of the i20 (295 litres) is 85 litres more than that of the Swift and it can gobble up a few more bags.

With regard to comfort, the i20 and Swift both have supportive front seats but things change drastically when it comes to rear seat comfort. The i20 offers slightly more legroom and shoulder room than the Swift. Hence, the middle passenger will feel more comfortable sitting in the i20 than in the Swift. Also see: Braking problems in the new Swift?

Features

In terms of features, the i20 has a significant advantage over the Swift. The i20 Asta (O) comes with sunroof, auto-fold and heated mirrors, push button start, reversing camera, auto headlight and rain sensing wipers, as well as daytime running lamps (updated versions). These features are not offered in the Swift ZXI/ZDI variants.

The i20 also comes in more variants that allow the customers to choose the package which most suit their needs. For instance, the Magna (O) which is priced roughly Rs.30, 000 more than the Magna, comes with features such as automatic climate control, clean air cluster ionizer, rear defogger, rear speakers and turn indicators on outside mirrors. But in case of Swift, the automatic climate control is offered only in the top-end trim.

Hyundai i20 front right ext
Photo: In terms of features there is no beating the i20, although you do have to pay for what you get

Similarly, the i20 Sports variant which is roughly Rs. 50,000 cheaper than the top-end Asta variant comes with many features such as driver airbag, tilt & telescopic steering, Bluetooth connectivity, steering mounted audio and phone controls, alloy wheels and rear adjustable headrests.  In case of Swift, these features are offered only in the top-end trim. Summing up, the i20 offers many features with more variants to choose from than the Swift.

Overall, in terms of handling, price, fuel economy and maintenance costs, the Swift has an edge over the i20. But the i20 scores more than the Swift when it comes to features, space and comfort.  This clearly explains why the Swift managed to get 61% votes in our poll.