The Swift was launched in the Indian market in 2005 and little did Maruti know that this car would go on to create records. It has been the highest selling car in its segment (mid-size hatchback) since its launch and has sold over 1.7 million units since its inception. The all-new Swift made its global debut last month and it’s time for the hatchback to make the Indian entry. We drove the car around the picturesque city of Lonavala and here’s what we think about it.
Quite the looker
The new Swift looks bonkers. We can’t help but imagine how it would look with low profile tyres slapped on 17inch alloy wheels and a contrasting roof color. This hatchback has all the ingredients to be a stunner and should become a common sight outside modification shops.
As expected the front end is similar to the new Dzire. But there are changes. The Swift sits lower and this lends a very sporty stance to it. Also makes it look a lot like a famous international hot hatch.
Keeping in mind it’s “sporty” and young nature, the chrome package around the grille has been given a miss. The grille itself looks different and has multiple slats. The bumper is all new with a horizontal black stripe running along the lower side.
Moving to the side, the low stance of the new Swift is clearly visible. The highlighted feature here is the handle for the rear doors. There isn’t any. Instead what you get is a Chevrolet Beat and Mahindra KUV look-alike handle which is housed in matt black plastic casing and this extends all the way back towards the rear windshield. It gives a camouflaged look to the handles and adds a two-door look to the vehicle. The D-Pillar also gets a black plastic part just below the roof and added with the black A-pillar, the roof gets a floating effect.
The rear of the Swift is unique and has a lot of resemblance to the old BMW 1 Series, again a resemblance that will go down well with owners.It looks way classier than the previous generation Swift in every aspect.
The new Swift is also wider than the outgoing version. Ground clearance has decreased by 7mm. As for the wheels, while the L and V versions come with 165/80 R14 tyres, the Z line up gets wider 185/65 R15 ones. Alloys are standard on Z with the range-topping Z+ getting dual tone laser cut versions. These do look great.
The top end Z line comes with LED DRLs and LED projector headlamps, which are first in the segment. They add a very niche feeling to the Swift and makes it feel truly premium.
The all-new interiors
The cabin of the Swift is also all-new and looks stunning for the segment. The all-black theme works well and we love the flat bottom steering wheel. There are a few differences as compared to the Dzire here: red surround for the dials, rotary Air-con vents and different climate control knobs that have inbuilt LCD screens that show the temperature. The steering wheel itself is nicely wrapped in leather and there are buttons to control the infotainment on it.
The seats are all-new too and they are body hugging. Even on the high-speed turns, you will not feel displaced from your seat. The seat can be adjusted for height in the top end versions and lets you to be in a comfortable position from the word Go. However, the steering wheel can only be set for height and there is no telescopic adjustment available.
The all-new Swift also gets Smart Play infotainment system with the top end Z+ trims. The system is similar to the ones that we see in the other Maruti models and it gets Android Auto and Apple Car Play integration. The screen also acts as a display for the wide angle rear camera. You can also say voice commands to control the infotainment if you’re connected to it through smartphone connectivity options.
The new Swift has become wider as mentioned above and the wheelbase too is longer, even if by a few millimeters. The result is increased legroom for the front passengers that also allows for more room at the back. The boot itself is 58 litres bigger than the previous generation of the car. It can now hold 268 litres of luggage, which is adequate in the segment.
The rear seats are contoured too, and with the increased shoulder room, three people can now take the rear bench seat. However, two rear seat passengers will still be more comfortable. There is enough room for a 5″10′ person even after the front seat is set for a person of 6″ tall. What we would have loved to have is more headroom for the rear passenger and rear AC vents.
The Swift gets a lot of space to keep your knick-knacks. There are two cup holders in the front and a bottle holder between the front two seats. All the four doors get water bottle holders and there is space to keep your phone among other items just below the 12V socket and USB and AUX input.
Maruti also offers ABS and two-airbags as a standard feature across all the variants. The new Swift also confirms with all the Indian crash testing and pedestrian safety norms as per the company.
Maruti has carried forward the same 1.2-litre K12 petrol engine and the 1.3-litre DDiS diesel engine. The petrol engine produces a maximum power of 83 Bhp – 113 Nm and the diesel engine has an output of 75 Bhp – 190 Nm. Even with the same power output as the last generation car, the all-new Swift feels a lot better.
That’s because Maruti has used the HEARTECT platform in the Swift that also underpins the new Baleno and the Dzire. It reduces the weight by 85 kg to 100 kg depending on the variants. Also, the engines are fine-tuned to perform better.Gear ratios however remain same is what we are told.
Maruti claims that in terms of outright acceleration, the petrol engine now performs 10% better than the older version while the diesel engine performs 8% better. Both the engines get the 5-speed transmission. The transmission can be availed as manual or Automatic Manual Transmission option that Maruti calls AGS (Auto Gear Shift).
How is it to drive?
We could not drive the petrol automatic version at the drive due to time constraint but we did get a chance to spend time with the diesel automatic, diesel manual and the petrol manual. Here is everything that you want to know.
Diesel AMT: This is the first time Maruti is offering an automatic transmission with the Swift and it will help the brand to capture a larger amount of car buyers. The diesel engine feels solid and it is a tried and tested motor. Maruti has substantially reduced the infamous turbo-lag that was evident in the last generation Swift. The power output is a lot smoother now that helps during heavy traffic situations. The engine has strong low-end torque and the lighter body also helps it in the initial acceleration. With increased power to weight ratio, it won’t be wrong to say that the Swift diesel is a fun to drive car.
The AMT on the diesel feels at home. Gear changes are seamless if you’re driving at regular speeds. If you want to drive fast, expectedly, you will feel a little lag initially but the following gear changes smoothen out. You can also shift it to the manual mode if you want better control and the gearbox responds within a fraction of second too. This is undoubtedly the best diesel AMT that you will drive in India. Period.
Diesel MT: The diesel manual transmission has also improved. The short throw gear lever perfect slots into the gears. Worthy of a mention is the fact that the clutch in the diesel manual is very light when compared to the other diesel cars in the segment. This will immensely help the daily commuters inside the city limits. That said, the engine noise does intrude into the cabin at anything over 2500 rpm.
Petrol MT: The petrol engine is as smooth as always and will be a hit with those looking at purely urban driving. The free-revving engine offers decent low-end torque and we feel this motor will perform well with the AMT ‘box but unfortunately, we couldn’t sample the same. Due to the lower overall weight, the car feels much better than the older version and is light on its feet, ever eager to gain momentum.
Comfortable and easy?
The all-new Swift gets a re-tuned suspension set-up that ends up reducing the body-roll; enthusiasts, rejoice! The suspension may feel slightly firmer over sharp undulations but as speeds rise, the imperfections do iron out. The ground clearance has gone down by 7 mm (to 163 mm), but the firmer suspension keeps the underbody free from any hits.
One aspect we certainly loved was the effortless steering. It is light at slow speeds which is a boon for metro cities. And yet it weighs up perfectly well to keep critics happy. No matter which car you drive back home, switching over to the Swift feels oh so easy. The diesel, thanks to the extra weight, does drive a lot better in terms of overall handling around curves – not that the petrol one is bad, it just feels a bit too ‘light’.
Maruti has also improved the overall NVH level by a huge margin too. The cabin feels very quiet in the diesel version now. Overall, the comfort level has improved by a good margin – for both the driver and the passengers.
ABS is standard across all versions and we were satisfied with the braking performance. To be fair, due to a limited test run, we couldn’t sample how the car would perform under emergency braking and will surely get back to our readers once we do it.
Even though there is a long list of features with the new Swift, rear AC vents and auto door unlock features are sorely missed in the vehicle.
Should you buy one?
The price of the vehicle has not been announced yet. However, it is expected to be in the outgoing model’s range of 5-9 lakhs. The new Swift is a great overall package, one that will attract all set of buyers. The vehicle has improved performance, better fuel economy and is much better to drive. Lack of AGS on the top end Z+ trim is a sore point but knowing Maruti, it won’t be long before we see that happening too.
Maruti knows how to better itself – we have seen enough examples in the past. Upping the ante once again? You bet!