What’s hot and what’s not in the new Swift

The new 2011 Maruti Swift has had a big response among buyers of premium hatchbacks with nearly 50,000 bookings even before launch. Here’s a snapshot for buyers wanting to know what is good about the new Swift, and what it is missing.

What’s Hot

Handling: The new Swift’s electronic power steering has been tweaked to make it even more responsive. The handling is precise and steering feedback is good.

Suspension: The Swift has been given a rally-spec suspension system, which means it has been stiffened in the right areas to keep body roll and diving characteristics to a minimum. This means the car can be driven hard and enthusiastically without upsetting its poise.

Gear shift: The Swift’s gearshift has been given a detent pin system that makes shifts easier and quicker giving the car a sporty driving feel.

maruti suzuki swift
Photo: The new Swift is actually an all-new design that is longer and wider than the old car

Dashboard: The new-look dashboard gives the Swift an upmarket feel with its integrated audio system, steering mounted audio controls and climate control system. The multi-info display in between the sporty-looking tachometer and speedometer displays instant fuel consumption and range, crucial information that a driver would want. The electrically adjustable mirrors are more convenient to operate.

Seat design: The redesigned front seats have a deeper squab and tighter lumbar support that hug you. This gives the driver a sporty, yet comfortable driving position.

Looks: With the new Swift Maruti has retained the overall look and feel of the old Swift, as it has a kind of cult following. The new Swift is actually an all-new design that is longer and wider than the old car. The swept back headlamps and chiseled rear give it a more contemporary and sleeker look.

Performance: The 1.2 litre K-Series petrol engine in the new Swift now gets variable valve timing which has improved power from 84 bhp to 86 bhp and torque is up to 114 Nm, making it far more sporty.

Mileage: The petrol and diesel Swifts now give improved mileage thanks to some weight reduction and tweaking of gear ratios. The petrol Swift gives a claimed mileage of 18.6 kmpl and the diesel Swift gives a claimed mileage of 22.9 kmpl.

What’s not so good about the Swift

Rear seat design: Maruti had the opportunity to improve the design of the rear seat with the new Swift, but hasn’t taken it. The seat back is a single fold design which makes it less versatile in terms of luggage carrying flexibility.

Legroom: The legroom in the rear seat has been improved by 28 mm compared to the older Swift. But yet, it’s not good enough. The large transmission tunnel in the centre interferes with legroom for the middle passenger.

Cabin space: The use of dark colors and the high rear windows give the car a bit of a claustrophobic feel especially in the rear seats. It does not feel as airy or spacious as some of its rivals like the Honda Jazz, Ford Figo or Toyota Etios Liva.

Boot space: Even though the new Swift is longer than the old Swift, the boot space is just 210 litres compared to 232 litres in the older model. This loss of boot space is because Maruti has tried to improve the rear seat space and eaten into the boot, and also the new design of the hatch has reduced some space.

Features: The Maruti Swift is reasonably loaded with features on the top-end ZXI and ZDI models, with climate control, ABS and airbags, alloy wheels and integrated music system. But they still lack some features such as power-fold mirrors and Bluetooth phone system, and button-start, some things which are available on rival models.  The lower end trims – the VXI, LXI and VDI, LDI don’t get too many features as well.

Verdict

If you are a person who loves driving and wants a car that handles well with a sporty characteristic, the Swift will meet your needs. If you are a couple with no need for space, but want a car that’s reliable, gives good mileage and space for two at most time, the Swift is a good choice. Also read: Swift First Drive

Those looking for more space or features can look at other choices such as the Honda Jazz, Hyundai i20, Ford Figo or Toyota Etios Liva.