Two of India’s hottest selling premium hatchbacks; the i20 and the Swift recently went under the knife to receive facelifts. So which one of these premium petrol small cars is the better option, post the tweaks they received? We help you decide.

i20 vs swift

Hyundai gave a cosmetic facelift to the i20 last month and launched it silently with a marginal price hike. The new i20 also gets some segment-first features like rain sensing wipers, auto headlights etc. Maruti Suzuki too launched the new Swift in August 2011 with cosmetic changes and a few additional features.

Let’s see whether the new i20 petrol is a more ‘value for money’ proposition than the Swift petrol.

Performance

The new i20 is powered by a 1.2-litre Kappa2 petrol engine that puts out 84 bhp of power, which is close to the 86 bhp power output of Swift’s 1.2-litre K-series petrol engine. Because of the light weight, the Swift accelerates faster than the i20.

The Swift leads this race in terms of handling with its precise steering and stiff suspension that curbs body roll even when it is driven around corners. The new i20 has the same light steering of the old i20 which is great to use in city traffic, but doesn’t feel comfortable at highway speeds. The suspension setup on the new i20 has been tuned for a better low speed ride but at three digit speeds, it will likely be a little unsettled compared to the Swift.

Summing up, there is no clear winner in terms of performance, but handling wise, the Swift leads the new i20. Also read: Maruti Swift diesel road test and review

Space and comfort

Space is one aspect where the i20 remains unbeatable. The new i20 is 145 mm longer, 15 mm wider than the Swift. The Swift is 25 mm taller and has a 5 mm longer wheelbase than the new i20. The boot of the new i20 can gobble up 295 litres of luggage which is 85 litres more than that of the Swift. Overall, the new i20 is more spacious than the Swift.

hyundai i gen i20

Photo: The i20 surges ahead of the Swift in this comparison when it comes to space

The front seats of both the cars are equally comfortable, but at the rear the i20 offers slightly more legroom than the Swift. The shoulder room in the i20 is also slightly better than the Swift. Hence, three passengers will feel more comfortable sitting in the i20’s rear seat than in the Swift’s.

Looks

The new i20 gets the now familiar fluidic design language and has more attractive curves than the earlier model. The new i20 has grown in length by 55 mm and its length is now 3,955 mm and that is because of the redesigned front and rear bumpers. The side profile of the car doesn’t have any major changes but at the rear, the new tail lamp cluster gives it a fresh look.

The Swift on the other hand looks sporty from all angles. The large upswept headlamps, tail lamp cluster with vertical slits gives the Swift, a mature look. The boot door however, doesn’t gel with the overall design of the car.

Though looks are subjective, we feel that the new i20 is slightly better looking than the Swift.

Features

With regard to base variants, the Swift LXI and i20 Era come with minimal equipment  like AC and electric power steering.

Among the mid variants, the i20 Magna features, rear parking sensors, a digital clock, two front speakers and two tweeters that are not offered on the Swift VXI. The Swift VXI comes with ORVM mounted side indicators, a rear fog lamp and electrically adjustable side view mirrors which are not available on the i20 Magna, but are available on the i20 Magna (O) variant.

Photo: The Swift is better at handling but lacks in terms of features when compared to the i20

When it comes to top-end variants, Hyundai has loaded the i20 Asta (O) with six airbags, sunroof, rear camera, auto headlights, auto-folding and heated mirrors, push button start and rain sensing wipers. These features are not offered in the Swift ZXI as it comes only with two airbags and climate control.

Summing up, the new i20 has more safety and comfort features than the Swift.

Price, mileage and VFM

Variant to variant, the new i20 commands a premium over the Swift. The Swift LXI is Rs. 29,000 cheaper than the i20 Era. The Swift VXI is Rs. 37,000 cheaper than the i20 Magna (O) while the Swift ZXI is Rs. 97,000 cheaper than the i20 Asta (O). The claimed mileage of i20 petrol is 18.5 kmpl which is close to the claimed mileage of Swift petrol (18.6 kmpl). Hence, there is no winner here.

Though the Swift doesn’t offer as many comfort features and a few safety features like side and curtain airbags that the i20 offers, it is still a better VFM package than the i20.

Pros and Cons

ModelProsCons
Hyundai i20 petrolImpressive features listSlightly over priced
Spacious and comfortableHandling
Maruti Suzuki Swift petrolSporty looksLess space for rear occupants and tiny boot
Great handlingLess features

Verdict

Performance wise, the new i20 and Swift are a close match. However, the i20 has more space and offers more features than the Swift. So, if you are particular about features and rear seat space, choose the i20, but be ready to pay the premium. On the other hand, if you are on a tight budget and maintenance costs and resale value are your top priority, go for the Swift. You will have to adjust with its tiny boot and slightly cramped rear seat though.