To say that the new-gen Maruti Swift has been selling like hot cakes would be an understatement. The latest generation of Maruti’s popular B1-segmenter has not only given the competition sleepless nights, but has also been very quick in becoming more popular than its predecessor. Attractive prices, modern design, frugal and sufficiently powered engines, good ride quality, precise steering – there’s really a lot that the new Swift offers. Another highlight is the AMT transmission, which is being provided on both the engine variants. The AMT variants account for as much as 15% of the total sales of this new hatchback. Recently, we spent a week with the top-spec AMT version of the petrol-sipping Swift. Here’s our review.
Yes, but there’s really nothing to help you differentiate between the AMT and the MT variants. No, there’s not even a badge to help you tell the two apart. As has been the case with all the recent Maruti cars, the only badges you’ll find on the Swift will be the Suzuki insignia and the model branding. Diesel variants also get the ‘DDiS’ badges on the fenders, but the petrol variants get nothing more than the aforementioned badges.
Also, the AMT variant is available only in the VXi and the ZXi trims, which means you can’t order an AMT-equipped Swift in the top-end ZXi+ trim. So, you miss out on bits like the projector headlamps with stylish LED DRLs and more premium looking alloy wheels. Other than this, the Swift petrol AMT, akin to its manual counterparts, impresses with its modern design that pays homage to the first Swift that was launched more than a decade ago in 2005.
How’s it on the inside?
The new-gen Swift offers a 20 mm longer wheelbase than its predecessor. This has translated into better legroom on the inside. Also, the new Swift is wider by as much as 40 mm, which means seating three in the rear seat is a lot easier now. Also, as per the company-provided figures, the new Swift offers 24 mm higher headroom. So, basically, all this leads to a much roomier cabin. The last-gen Swift has received some flak for being a bit claustrophobic, especially at the rear. The new Swift, however, offers a much roomier cabin that can seat up to 5 passengers in reasonable comfort.
Like we said, the AMT-equipped Swift isn’t available in the top-of-the-line ZXI+/ZDI+ variants. Hence, you need to make do with some feature omissions. For example, you don’t get the pretty user-friendly Smartplay touchscreen infotainment unit. You also don’t get auto headlamps and the reverse parking camera. However, apart from the higher space on offer, the cabin also looks more modern than before. In spite of sharing plenty with the new-gen Dzire, the cabin looks a lot unlike what the compact sedan has on offer. This is mainly due to the all-black theme and a revised centre stash. Also, the leather-wrapped steering wheel has a flat bottom and feels sufficiently sporty to hold. It also offers controls for the music system. Overall, we are pretty happy with the Swift petrol AMT’s cabin. The only grouse is that it doesn’t offer the excellent touch unit that’s available on the fully-loaded trim.
How does it drive?
The Swift petrol AMT carries the same 1.2-litre K12 petrol engine that powered the earlier iteration of the popular Maruti B1-segmenter. This engine outputs a maximum power of 83 bhp along with a peak torque of 113 Nm. True, these aren’t the kind of figures you’ll want to write home about but wait, the new Swift weighs just about 865 kgs, which means you get a bhp/tonne figure of close to 100 bhp per tonne.
Hence, in a straight line, the Swift petrol AMT is pretty quick off the block. Moreover, the AMT has been calibrated in a way that there’s minimal lag and the gearshifts take place as per the throttle inputs. Drive the Swift AMT with a light foot and the gearshifts take place rather seamlessly at slightly above 2,000 RPM. Moreover, in high traffic conditions, the creep feature works brilliantly and you can move ahead simply by keeping the gear-lever in ‘D’ mode and lifting off the throttle to crawl ahead.
Step on it and the AMT will hold the revs till close to the redline. In the process, you benefit from a brisk performance and a strong straight-line acceleration. In manual mode, you can override the electronics and shift as per your will. A quick drive of the AMT-equipped petrol-sipping Swift is more than enough to make out that the new-gen hatchback has moved a few steps forward in terms of outright performance. Much of this has to do with the lightweight HEARTECT platform, which brings down the kerb weight by up to 100 KGs. Other than this, the free-revving K12 motor continues to offer decent low-to-mid range torque and high refinement.
Is it still a fun car?
Oh, yes! In the latest-gen Swift, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd has re-tuned the suspension. Hence, the new car offers lesser body-roll and a more enthusiast-focussed ride and handling experience. The ride quality is top notch and even a tad better than what the slightly pricier Baleno offers. The ground clearance, at 163 mm, is down by 7 mm compared to the last-gen model. However, it’s still sufficiently high to easily deal with most of the craters and undulations our roads have on offer.
Even the electronic power steering has been calibrated in a way that it will be appreciated by most of the users. It is light at slow speeds and weighs up sufficiently as the speeds rise. The only grouse is that all that weight feels artificially induced. But what the new Swift lacks in the handling department is made up for in the ride quality aspect. The new Swift can soak up most of the undulations with ease and won’t lose its composure over the several undulations our roads have on offer. Also, the high-speed stability is pretty impressive, especially for a car coming from Maruti Suzuki. We pushed the hatchback to pretty high speeds on the expressway and was impressed with the fact that it stays planted.
Should you buy one?
Why, yes, of course! The petrol-powered Swift AMT combines the high performance of the latest supermini by the Japanese automaker with the convenience of auto gearshifts. What’s more, you can buy the Swift ZXi AMT by paying less than Rs 50,000 higher than the corresponding manual trim. In return, what you get is a car that performs better than most of its peers.
Additionally, it offers you the convenience of automatic gearshifts. Also, you benefit from all the traits of the new-gen Swift, which includes a roomier cabin, a more modern design, and a better balance between ride and handling. Hence, without beating around the bush, we would like to conclude this review by saying that the new Maruti Swift petrol AMT is worth every penny of the extra moolah spent.