Here is a little exercise that you can do for fun. Go down to any major street and take a pan shot of the traffic. You will notice that at least one of the cars in that traffic is a Maruti Suzuki Swift.
Such is the reach of this little urban run around that change the hatchback segment forever. The reason for this reach you ask? Well the answer is Maruti Suzuki sold 12000 odd units of the Swift almost every single month from the 2005 to 2011. More than 600,000 of the original Swift have been shifted into the market.
But as competition got fiercer, more and more cars with better features invaded the Swift’s territory. The sales of the Swift looked in trouble. The Swift was still outselling the competition by a huge margin but instead of 12K units, it started to show signs of slipping to four figures. The market demanded more features, more space, more fuel economy and Maruti Suzuki finally responded with the– All new ‘More’ Swift.
The story that started way back in 2005 has received a new lease of life. Maruti Suzuki has finally launched the 2011 Swift in India and that too with a huge bang! On the day of the launch, Maruti Suzuki had 50,000 pre bookings for the Swift and already a waiting period of three or more months.
Maruti Suzuki is expecting to sell 18K units every month from here on. That 5K more than the previous Swift and second only to the Maruti Alto. So will this little hatchback re-revolutionalize the hatchback space? Has the King of the Hatchbacks finally returned? Let’s find out:
For those who think that this Swift sort of looks similar to the old one thus making this update a facelift, let me point out this is a whole new platform. Each and every component is brand new and this new Swift is a whole new car. One doesn’t spend 534 crore rupees on a facelift !
Design wise, the new Swift has been given a complete make over although the essence of old car hasn’t been completely changed. The new Swift gets a whole new set of head lamps which are stretched back into the body to make it look more sporty. The front bumper has also been modified to incorporate the headlamp changes. The new Swift is also 5 mm wider than the old one.
The new Swift is 90 mm longer than the old one and that is quite evident in the side profile. It unmistakably looks longer, bigger and bolder. The new signature alloy wheels blend in with the overall design very nicely. Another significant change in the side profile is the addition of electric ORVM with turn indication which make the car look more premium.
The flare of the wheel arches is more prominent than the older one. The new Swift also looks a bit jacked up than the older one as the space between the fender and the wheels has been increased. A part of the rear overhang mixed with the quarter glass for a strange reason reminds us of the Nissan Juke (see the image above).
At the rear, the tail lights have been stretched into the body as well. The new tail lamps cluster completes the ‘stretch’ of the design. You also get a tiny spoiler at the rear for better aerodynamics.
Overall, the design effort is subtle and significant and certainly makes the car look more sporty and ‘ready-for-action’
On the inside, you will notice a whole new dashboard layout along with a new steering wheel design. The steering wheel gets aluminum spokes instead of plastic ones to make it look more premium.
You will also notice that the plastic quality has gone up by a huge margin. There is a generous dash of silver over the carbon black interiors.
Hop inside the rear seats and they don’t feel cramped anymore. You get ample space in the front and rear. It also feels roomier inside than the old Swift although the height of the car is not changed.
And then you lift the tail door and you notice the most important flaw in the new Swift. It has appalling boot space for a car this size. Forget travel bags, you will struggle to fit your monthly shopping in the boot.
On the feature front, you get steering mounted controls, climate control, stereo with 6 speakers and USB and Aux compatibility, Dual SRS airbags, boost assist braking system and ABS.
On the engine front, Maruti has worked on increasing the fuel efficiency of the car. It is powered by the same 1.2 K Series engine that delivers 87 PS @ 6,000 rpm and 114 NM of torque @ 4,000 rpm. The fuel efficiency has gone up by 4% to 18.6 kmpl.
It goes from 0-100 km/hr in 12.6 sec. The diesel engine is the same 1.3L DDiS engine from Fiat which generates 75 PS of power at 4,000 rpm and 190 NM of torque @ 2,000 rpm. The fuel efficiency has been increased by 6% to 22.9 kmpl. It travels from 0-100 km/hr 14.8 sec.
The Swift is now offered in a total of 6 variants - 3 variants in petrol (LXi, VXi, ZXi) and 3 variants in diesel (LDi, VDi and a new ZDi) and 5 color choices - Red, Grey, Blue, Silver, White and Black.
Leaving aside the boot space, the new Swift is ‘More’ on ever aspect than the older one. Considering the old one was hugely successful, we have no doubts that this new one will also do well; except for one major factor.
The very next day the Swift was launched, Honda India decided to launch the new Jazz at an entry point of 5.5 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi). Thus, a typical buyer who has opted in for the middle or the top variant of the Swift (Petrol) will certainly re-consider his decision.
But we don’t expect the Swift numbers to be hit very hard because out of the 50,000 bookings that Maruti has received, only 20% are for the petrol Swift. The rest are all for the diesel engine which the Honda Jazz doesn’t offer.
It will be exciting to see what the August sales numbers for B segment hatchbacks are because the Swift is sure to make a huge dent in the market. For now, we can safely say – the King has returned :)