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Maruti Suzuki Dzire Petrol First Drive Review

What is it?

Maruti Swift Dzire’s success over the last decade is unprecedented. In the nine years of its existence, Maruti has sold over 1.38 million units of the Dzire (that’s an average of nearly 13,000 units a month!). We just reviewed the diesel version (click here to read the review) of the car and came away impressed. Will we have the same view of the petrol variant? Or will it seduce us even better? Read-on to find out.

How is it on the inside?

Like the exterior the cabin is all-new and a pleasant place to be in. The dual tone dashboard looks uncluttered and the faux wood inserts on the dashboard gives it an upmarket feel. The ZXi+ variant which we had on the drive gets the familiar touchscreen system as on other Maruti cars, which has a crisp display and is easy to use too. It also features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and it can play music through a USB, Aux-in and SD card ports. Overall, the quality and interior ambiance is a notch or two better than the previous car and the choice of materials gets our thumbs up too. But the Hyundai Xcent still holds an edge as far as fit and finish are concerned and also things like the glove box opening, door pad materials and attention to detail is not as good. Even the lack of cladding on the inner side of the boot-lid shows that Maruti has cut corners to keep costs down.   

Thanks to the new chassis which is not only lighter but also has a larger footprint, the roomy cabin doesn’t come as a surprise. The front seats are accommodating and they offer good support. But it’s at the back where space and comfort has taken a big leap forward as compared to the old car. The new Dzire now gets 55mm more knee room at the back and the wide cabin makes it ideal for three passengers too. The bench itself is well shaped and the backrest is ideal too. What would have made the rear seat even better is a longer squab (seat base), firmer cushioning and a little more headroom. The addition of AC vents at the rear enhances the rear seat experience further and now the Dzire works well as a chauffeur driven car too. 

The new Dzire is a practical car too with the cabin boasting plenty of storage spaces. You get as many as four bottle holders, four cup holders and multiple cubbies for knick-knacks. In pursuit of generating more knee room for the co-driver, Maruti engineers have compromised on glovebox space and unlike the Hyundai Xcent it doesn’t get cooling function either. The boot at 376 litres has grown considerably compared to the outgoing model and the relatively large opening makes loading large bags quite easy too.

In the top ZXi+ trim, the Dzire comes equipped with touchscreen infotainment system which houses Apple CarPlay, navigation and a music system, climate control, key-less go, reverse camera with sensors, auto headlamps, daytime running lamps and a comprehensive trip computer flanked by a fantastic instrumentation. In terms of safety, Maruti sets a new benchmark by offering two airbags and ABS as standard across the range. The new Dzire is compliant with the upcoming safety norms too, which adds to its feel-good factor.

How does it drive?

The new Dzire gets the same 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol motor as the old car and its output figures of 83bhp and 113Nm are unchanged too. Thanks to it being considerably lighter, the performance gain is significant and in any situation the potent motor always feels more than adequate. Prod the throttle and the lightweight Dzire leaps forward with lot of zest. The motor is responsive and has a linear tug from low engine speeds, which makes it great for city commutes. In fact, the motor feels so willing that you can get away in third gear from as low as 20kmph without any judder or vibration from the motor. As a result, you don’t need to change gears frequently. But if you want to, the crisp and quick gearbox is quite nice to use. The light and short throw allows you to execute a quick shift with just the flick of a wrist, and this reduces the stress on the driver even further. This engine revs quite freely but gets quite vocal when you near the 6200rpm redline. As a result it registered some impressive times on our Vbox timing gear. Zero to 100kmph is executed in a quick 11.92 seconds which makes it much quicker than the outgoing car and even drivability test time of 12.84sec for 20-80kmph in third gear is impressive for a naturally aspirated petrol motor. 

We also tried the AMT version of the petrol car. We have driven quite a few AMT gearbox shod cars and most of them are good on the pocket but not so much on performance. But like in the Ignis, Maruti engineers have done a commendable job of tuning this basic auto transmission and made it feel as close to a conventional torque converter gearbox as possible. Slot the gear shifter into D and the Dzire moves forward in a smooth manner. Unlike the diesel AMT, the gearshifts are much smoother and unless you dump the accelerator pedal, it remains relatively smooth. Whether it be ambling along in the city or even cruising steadily on the highway, this gearbox works really well. It shows it’s basic roots when you are in need of instant change of pace, and if you put your foot down hard, the gearbox struggles to drop the gears quickly and there is a brief pause before the power is delivered, which can leave you stranded halfway through an emergency overtaking manoeuvre. So it’s better to plan your overtaking moves well in advance and gently feed in the power so that you can run through the gears smoothly. The best mode for going quickly, however, is the gear lever-operated tiptronic manual, which will hold gears. While for everyday driving, the auto modes work great, its only if you are in a real hurry, will you will feel the need to swap cogs yourself. During our acceleration runs, the Dzire petrol AMT posted decent numbers. Zero to 100kmph was despatched in 12.86seconds and drivability (kickdown) times of 8.28sec for 20-80kmph and 9.95sec for 40-100kmph are respectable too. 

For a car that is meant to be a family sedan, the Dzire is quite stiffly sprung but not overtly so. At low speeds, the ride quality is a bit jiggly over uneven surfaces, but not to the point of being jarring. Increase the pace and the ride smoothens out and the new Dzire always feels planted thanks to the flat and consistent ride. With a full load too, the suspension copes well and there’s none of that bobbing motion you encounter in the old car. 

Thanks to the super-light steering, the Dzire is nimble and easy to punt around town and the tight turning circle helps too. However, enthusiasts looking for fun behind the wheel will be hugely disappointed with the steering which is totally devoid of feel. The steering is also reluctant to self-centre especially at low speeds, which further makes you feel disconnected from the road.

Should I buy one?

In our eyes, between the two engine options, the petrol is the one to go for as it offers better refinement and good performance too. It is more fun to drive and even the AMT gearbox works better with the petrol motor. As you have read in the review, there are no major weaknesses and the Dzire is one of the best products to come out of the Maruti Suzuki factory. This is proven by the reception it has received, where Maruti was rumoured to have received over 50,000 bookings in less than ten days from its launch! The new Dzire not only looks better than before, it has upped its game in nearly every department.

Where does it fit in?

The Maruti Dzire rivals the likes of Honda Amaze, Hyundai Xcent, Volkswagen Ameo and Ford Aspire. Where the old car was priced at par with the competition the new Dzire now especialy in this top ZXi+ variant has become the most expensive compact sedan in its segment.

 Pictures by: Kapil Angane

Click here to read the Dzire diesel review

 

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Maruti Suzuki Dzire Price in India

CityOn-Road Prices
Kolkata₹ 6.4 Lakhs onwards
Chennai₹ 6.61 Lakhs onwards
Hyderabad₹ 6.97 Lakhs onwards
Mumbai₹ 6.66 Lakhs onwards
New Delhi₹ 6.27 Lakhs onwards
Bangalore₹ 6.88 Lakhs onwards
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