The first edition of Maruti Suzuki Swift had hit the Indian roads, way back in 2005. The Swift revolutionized the market by introducing the concept of a ‘Hot-hatch’ for the Indian customers. Later, the addition of the Dzire variant further helped to build a mass following for the Swift brand. The second generation Swift was launched later in 2011 and brought in elements which helped it compete with the product offerings from the competition, namely the Hyundai’s & the Honda’s.
It is not a surprise that Swift & Dzire have consistently been featuring in the top-5 selling cars in the country, just their sheer number on the road gives out the cue. As far as figures are concerned, we have 1.7 million+ Swifts (hatchbacks only) on the Indian roads and 5.8 million+ across the globe. The volume numbers speak volumes! Don’t they?
Now, Maruti has finally brought in the third generation Swift for the Indian customers. However, this is the first time that the sedan version, the Maruti Dzire (which has shed the Swift badge) was launched before the Swift.
The latest iteration has the HEARTECT platform (also shared by Dzire & Baleno) at its heart which makes it lighter by around 85 kg when compared with the outgoing Swift, improving its power to weight ratio, and thus making it swifter by 10% in flat-out acceleration.
A first look at the car tells you that it carries over the typical Swift proportions. The front looks familiar to the latest Dzire but is yet distinctive from the sub-4 metre compact sedan. The grille on this hatch is all-black and gives it an aggressive front.
The floating roof, coupled with the wrap around windows give the car a sporty stance. Lighting duties are taken care-off by the LED DRLs & LED projector headlamps. Rear tail lamps also feature LED clusters which give the hatch a more premium appeal.
The rear entry doors’ handles now come integrated in the C-Pillar, which is a first for Maruti, however has been tried by GM (Beat) & Mahindra (KUV100) in the past. Color options include the standard Midnight Blue, Fire Red, Arctic White, Silky Silver, Magma Grey & the latest addition, the Prime Lucent Orange.
There have been some changes with the dimensions of the car too. The breadth of the new Swift has been increased by 40mm and the overall length sees a reduction of 10mm, making it wider and improving its road presence. The wheel base too has been tweaked a little (an addition of 20mm), which has carved out more space for the occupants.
Just like the previous generation, ingress & egress is very easy with the new Swift. Step-in to the Driver seat and the cabin treats you with multiple goodies. The flat-bottom steering wheel feels chunky and further builds upon to the sporty feel which the all-black interiors provide.
The cockpit inspired Instrument Cluster hosts dials which are easily readable during the drive. The SmartPlay infotainment unit provides multiple connectivity options, including Bluetooth, FM, AUX, Apple Car Play, Android Auto & Mirror Link.
Reverse parking camera’s display output too is integrated in the same unit. Quality of plastics has also improved, however there are certain parts which have been carried over from the previous generation Swift, like the power-window cluster.
The comfortable front seats give you the feel that they have been inspired from the bucket seats, found on track cars. The wider body further helps to improve the shoulder room for all occupants.
The redesigned back seats now feature a higher slant angle accompanied by an additional head space of around 34 mm. So, all in all, the new Swift has more space for you, irrespective of which seat you choose to occupy.
Similar to the interior space, the boot too is larger by 58 litres, around 28% more when compared with the previous generation Swift.
First Look Video
The new Swift is the safest and the strongest Swift till date. Dual Airbags, ABS with EBD and ISOFIX mounts now come in as standard in all variants. The new Swift complies with All Indian Safety regulations along with the upcoming Pedestrian Safety norms.
Engine Specs and Mileage
Under the hood one finds 2 engine options, both carried over from the previous generation Swift. The familiar K12 VVT 1.2-liter petrol produces 84hp & 115Nm of torque, whereas the DDiS 190 1.3-liter diesel unit dishes out 75 hp & 190 Nm of torque. Power is transmitted to wheels via a 5 speed gearbox which is available in MT & AMT (Automated Manual Transmission) options.
Variants on offer include LXi/LDi, VXi/VDi, ZXi/ZDi and ZXi+/ZDi+. All variants get the standard 5MT gearbox however, only VXi/VDi and ZXi/ZDi trims get the option of an AMT. The combination of the HEARTECT platform, a more aerodynamic profile and the retuned engine configurations result in a more economic drive, with the petrol variant claiming to do 22 km to a litre, whereas the diesel unit claims fuel efficiency of 28 kmpl.
While the engines have been carried forward from the outgoing version, the new Swift offers slightly different driving dynamics. For starters, both the engines have been re-tuned to suit the new model. The petrol version, as we expected, is high on refinement. Akin to the new Dzire, NVH levels are really good.
While the motor’s peppiness remains high as ever, the fact that the new Swift is lighter translates into the car feeling sprightlier and quicker. There’s adequate torque throughout the rev-range and the car is sufficiently tractable – it’s fairly easy to drive it at low speeds in a high gear. The engine goes on to impress even when in some mood for fun.
We have always loved this K-series motor for its rev-happy nature and a rather rorty exhaust note. The motor loves to rev all the way to the redline and its eager performance, along with a low overall weight of the new car, leads to brisk acceleration. The gears are well spaced out and transmission offers slick and precise shifts. The AMT is pretty impressive, too. Of course, the shift speeds aren’t comparable to those of the lightning-fast DSGs, but the gearshifts are pretty smooth and well-timed.
While the petrol version impresses with its rev-happy nature and impressively low NVH levels, it’s actually the Diesel model that’s more fun. Believe you me, Maruti has done wonders with the way it has tuned the Fiat-sourced 1.3 Multijet motor for the new-generation Swift and Dzire. The turbo-lag is really well-controlled and there’s enough torque post 1200 RPM to keep things interesting.
There’s some Diesel engine clatter that creeps into the cabin but the NVH levels still remain impressive. While the oil-burner doesn’t have a strong top-end performance like the petrol sibling, a higher torque translates into better in-gear acceleration. Of course, lower fuel bills are a bonus. Here, again, the AMT is well-tuned and has a positive feel to it.
Ride & Handling
Underpinning the new Maruti Swift is the same HEARTECT lightweight platform that made its debut on the new Dzire. The manufacturer goes on to claim that the new platform is not only lighter but also enjoys a higher rigidity and strength. While this is sure to have lead to a stronger structure, better ride and handling characteristics are easily apparent. There are no two ways about it, the new platform plays a huge role in enhancing the vehicle dynamics and safety of the company’s best-seller. Also, the lightweight construction leads to a higher performance and fuel efficiency.
The new Swift offers a comfortable ride over most tar surfaces. The suspension is set on a slightly softer side. It can get a bit jittery over sharp undulations but the things stay pretty plush on most surfaces. Of course, the new Swift can’t match the matured ride characteristics of more expensive cars but let’s not forget about the price bracket this car will retail in.
The steering feels good to hold and isn’t too light either. There’s definitely some vagueness towards the centre but it is something that we are already quite used to on other low-cost EPS units. The car feels reasonably sure-footed in the corners, though a bit of body roll creeps in while pushing the car too hard.
The keenest of the driving enthusiasts won’t buy this car for its handling characteristics but most of the buyers should appreciate the comfortable ride and the not-too-light steering. The best part is the high-speed stability, which is a huge improvement over the predecessor. The brakes are a bit spongy but offer sufficient bite to haul down the car from high speeds without breaking a sweat.
Pre-launch bookings for the new Swift have commenced from 18th January, 2018. Customers can visit any of the 2,300 Maruti Retail outlets, which are spread across the country and make a booking by paying an amount of INR 11,000. Pricing details will be revealed during the official launch at the 2018 Auto Expo, scheduled to be held next month in Greater Noida. We expect the pricing to start around INR 5 lakhs and stretch upto INR 9 lakhs for the top-diesel variant. Deliveries shall commence from the revamped Maruti Suzuki Arena outlets, post the launch.
So, should you buy the new Swift? The answer is a big YES. The new Maruti Swift is all that the earlier car was and more! It’s definitely a generation ahead of the outgoing version. The Swift has improved in most areas, whilst maintaining the traditional strengths of the best-selling compact car. The design is an evolution of the original and looks more modern. The cabin is far more spacious and there are many new features, too.
The tried-and-tested engines have been retained, which means a high reliability and fuel efficiency are a given. The company has managed to strike a good balance between ride quality and handling characteristics. And then, you get the trust that comes associated with owning a Maruti Suzuki. The new Swift really has a lot going for it. Yes, this car is really very good. We are ready to witness yet another success story from Maruti Suzuki.