The Maruti Suzuki Swift is quite popular in international markets, and has been a very successful car in India as well. This 2021 model is the third-generation of the hatchback that gets a major update since its launch in February 2018. This includes some styling tweaks, a new Dual Jet engine, add-on features, and enhanced fuel efficiency. We give you a low down of the five things you will like of this updated hatchback, and two that you might give a thumbs down for.
1. Hot looks
The Swift has been in our market since 2005, and its design has changed quite a lot from its first to the current-gen avatar. Yet, it’s still one of the most stylish-looking hatchbacks in our country. The car has aged well, become a household name in India, and continues to have a solid presence even with its third-gen model. This 2021 model year update then brings in a cross mesh grille and chrome slat up front with attractive looking dual-tone colour options. It continues to be quite sporty and has only got snazzier in its appearance.
2. More powerful and refined engine
The new K-Series Dual Jet Dual VVT petrol engine produces 89bhp of power, which is up from the previous gen’s 82bhp. The maximum power from this engine shows a substantial jump of 7bhp, which now takes it closer to a power-to-weight ratio of 100bhp per ton. As a result, there's not only an increase in performance, but enhanced drivability as well. Our V-Box figures also determine that the new Swift is indeed a little quicker, but also picks up from a higher gear at lower revs without being very reluctant. And, even if you are revving it up, it remains fairly silent and with a smooth throttle response. No unwanted vibrations could be felt pointing at the excellent refinement levels as well.
3. Improved claimed fuel efficiency
Fuel economy is one aspect on top of a car buyer's list. Consequently, the Swift's fuel efficiency has been improved upon by the carmaker, while also lowering the emissions of this K-Series engine. They've done this by adding an idle stop-start tech (ISS) and improving the EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) system. This has boosted the claimed fuel efficiency, which is now as much as 23.20kmpl for the manual, and 23.76kmpl for the AMT version. This has certainly improved over its previous model rated at 21.21kmpl. We are yet to test this, but the new claimed figures look promising enough for it to be very fuel-efficient in the real-world as well.
4. Compact, practical and fun-to-drive
The Swift has compact dimensions making it quite the ideal choice for an urban setting where car owners often face a space crunch. This car doesn't take up much space, fits in tricky parking spots, and its tight footprint makes it easy to manoeuvre as well. The light steering with more than three turns lock-to-lock is no more a hindrance as it self centres now despite the slight slack at the centre. This combined with the car’s light weight and agility, the Swift is still fun to drive.
5. Maruti service
Maruti Suzuki has the most widespread service network in our country as compared to any other car manufacturer. Excellent after-sales support and ready availability of spares has also lead to fuss-free ownership experiences for customers. The carmaker has also taken the lead in introducing many new ways to improve customer service which includes 24x7 roadside support and even a night service initiative. And you know, a competitive product like the Swift with an excellent back-up of after-sales support, goes on to be a winning combination.
1. A little firm ride quality
Maruti Suzuki continues to use the suspension set-up like its previous model with McPherson struts in the front and a torsion beam setup at the rear. Its tuning is more towards the stiffer side, so don't expect a very plush ride. You can hear the suspension noise over small bumps, sharp-edged potholes, and slightly ridged-up sections of bad roads. Instead of going flat out, you will have to slow down over these sections. That said, it still does take all of this in its stride without fuss and in no way is the ride quality jarring or uncomfortable for passengers.
2. Misses a modern touch inside
The Swift continues with its stylish black cabin but with mediocre plastic quality, which still makes its interior look very ordinary. And though it’s a well-packaged car in terms of features, it still misses out on rear air-con vents and an auto-dimming IRVM. It's 2021, and cars from a segment below are also offered with modern features like a fully digital instrument cluster, ambient lighting, wireless charger, and even an air purifier. Agree, these might be considered more of a gimmick than adding true value. But, it was an opportunity for Maruti to offer some new gizmos to add to the delight of customers.
The Swift then, with all its positives still stacks up well against its competition. And despite the lack of a diesel model, it’s a well-rounded product and doesn't have many negatives. The few afore-mentioned ones aren't deal-breakers anyway. No wonder then, the Swift continues to be chosen by many customers over its prime rivals - the Hyundai Nios and the Ford Figo.
Pictures by Kapil Angane