Driven - Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire

01/02/2012 - 05:43 | ,  ,  ,  ,  ,   | Gaurav Malik

Last week got a chance to test drive the new Swift Dzire that is going to be launched today. New? How new is it? Maruti Suzuki claims to have put in 150 new features. The Swift Dzire is already the leader of its segment with a 39% market share i.e. about 3.3 lakh units sold in the domestic market. The company and its vendors have confidently invested over 120 crore rupees towards this full model range.

2012 Maruti Swift Dzire face

Is the car as good or better as the old one? Let's find out!

We'll answer the most important question first - Isn't this just a Swift with a bigger boot?

Yes, but the boot being smaller, is less noticeable. It does look better than its predecessor. Maruti says the new look is based on four pillars namely dynamic, elegant, energetic and balanced. Even without the help of the marketing division's vocabulary, one can say the new design is a step in the right direction.

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While the length stands at a shorter 3.95m, the new sedan is wider at 1695mm (+5mm), taller at 1555mm (+25mm) and has a larger wheelbase at 2430mm (+40mm) adding to the overall vehicle stability. With its class leading 170mm ground clearance and a turning radius of 4.8m, its really easy to maneuver in the city.

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On the inside, the two-tone, multi-layer dashboard with waterfall console, wood finish inserts, leather trims and silver accents looks both sporty and classy. With the introduction of two new colors i.e. Pacific Blue and Glistering Grey, it now comes in a total of 7 colors.

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The car is installed with the same D13A 1.3 ltr DDiS diesel engine but the petrol K-12M engine now has VVT (variable valve timing) which makes it more efficient and lowers the carbon emissions as the engine breathes better. The petrol engine accelerates from 0-100kmph in 12.6 sec and its diesel counterpart completes this challenge in 14.8 sec. Different calibrations for both engines have decreased the engine noise by 3 db.

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The power is delivered to the front wheels via an improved 5 speed manual or a 4 speed auto (only on petrol VXI variant) gearbox that now has changed gear ratios, Detent pin technology and weighs less by 30kg in the petrol variants and 15kg in the diesel models. The combined weight loss has led to a 7.8% increase in fuel efficiency for the diesel, which now stands at 23.4kmpl and a 6.7% increase for petrol which returns 19.1kmpl.

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The manual gearbox was fun as ever with slick, short and accurate shifts. The clutch action is not too long or short, is just about perfect helping you to shift gears very quickly. The difference in gear ratios are hardly noticeable though.

The four-speed automatic gearbox, a first in this segment, is not fun to drive. When you hit the gas pedal, it thinks for two seconds and simply slips into the lowest gear possible, which is not really a pleasing experience. No matter how hard you try, the real-time fuel consumption meter didn’t show more than 18kmpl. The hill starts were useful as the stops the car from rolling backward as you release the brake pedal. Another good point is the shifter's no-frills nature - driving modes are arranged in a simple straight line and there's no zig-zag arrangement like on the SX4 - you get acquainted to the car faster.

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The petrol motor is refined and thanks to its low end torque it performs well in the city. The engine surprisingly does not run out of breath in the highway as there's ample power higher up in the rev band. The petrol engine feels very refined and does not stutter even if you are driving in the highest gear at low speeds.

The car just seems to glide over the potholes its faced with. The ride quality is as good as it gets for this price band. It's even fun to drive around the bends with good levels of feedback from the steering.

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The overall driving experience was one step better than the last generation Swift Dzire be it in the city or the highway. The cabin feel very roomy and the driver seat hugs you from all around nicely. Reversing the car is easier thanks to the new rear windshield design and the suitably shaped ORVMs.

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The instrument cluster looks sportier and the multi-information display is easy to read. Interiors are entirely new and everything is well placed to squeeze out the maximum space. Every button on the console feels good to operate and the plastic quality is a notch better. The AC is very effective and keeps the cabin cool even at the lowest fan speed. The rear seats are much more comfortable thanks to the additional leg and knee room. The hand rest is retractable and is at an appropriate height. With new windows all around, the cabin feels airy as well.

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The boot at 316 litres can ingest a full size suitcase and a couple of shopping bags. The loading lip is a little high.

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The new Swift Dzire is now safer to drive with the addition of a new generation ABS and brake assist system. The brakes are a bit spongy but that's not to say they aren't responsive.

2012 Maruti Swift Dzire positives

> Suspension provides comfortable ride
> Refined and efficient engines - Fun to drive and superbly fuel efficient
> Compact dimensions - easy to park and consumes less fuel
> Great interiors - Material quality, fit and finish have improved greatly
> Loaded with useful features - USB connectivity and steering-mounted controls are our favorites
> Comfortable seats - Body hugging driver seat helps you out on long journeys
> Safety features - improved ABS and dual airbags provide peace of mind
> Slick gearbox - Shifts are quick aided by the almost perfect clutch action
> Handling - I'm happy to report that this car is more fun to drive than its predecessor

2012 Maruti Swift Dzire negatives

> Quality not convincing in certain plastic and metal components
> Automatic gearbox lacks quickness and fun quotient
> Less boot space compared to the outgoing model - what's a sedan without a large boot?
> We have a sneaking suspicion that not everyone will like the Kizashi inspired rear profile!

2012 Maruti Swift Dzire Image Slideshow

can't see the slideshow above? Head over to our Flickr page to see the 2012 Maruti Swift Dzire image gallery

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