Back in 2005, Maruti was still by far the biggest car maker in the country, but their products were uninspiring and getting long in tooth. Cars like the Esteem, Wagon R, Baleno and the Zen were well past their prime and they were merely selling because of the peace of mind ownership experience. But the landmark car that changed how people perceived Maruti and showed company the way for future products, was the Swift.
It felt young, was fun to drive and appealed to the youth, as well as the brand loyalist. With over 1.7 million units of the car sold in the past 12 years, Swift’s success story is unprecedented. Now the third generation of this sporty hatch is about to be launched at the Auto Expo and we were lucky to get behind the wheel to find out if it can live up to the high expectations.
Previously we reviewed the petrol version and came away impressed. Is the diesel variant as exciting? Read-on to find out.
Starting with aesthetics, Suzuki designers have tried hard to differentiate the Swift from the Dzire. Upfront the single piece matte black plastic grille looks sporty and also more purposeful thanks to the omission of the chrome surround from the Dzire. The new front bumper with a sharply cut chin further adds to its appeal. In profile it looks exactly the same as the Dzire till the B pillar, post which the rear door and tail section is all-new. The unusual placement of the rear door handle, while not the most convenient when your hands are full, makes it look like a sporty three door. The top ZDi plus variant gets diamond cut 15 inch alloys, while the lower ZDi variant gets smaller 14 inch simple wheels. At the back, the Swift looks a bit too simple, especially the large boot section, where Maruti could have added a crease or two to jazz it up a bit. In fact it reminds us of the Nissan Micra, which isn’t exactly a compliment.
Based on the new Heartec platform that also underpins the Baleno and the Dzire, the Swift has shed around 85 kg as compared to the old car despite it being a larger car. Maruti also claims the new Swift to be crash compliant to the upcoming safety norms. With Maruti being the only manufacturer to have their own crash test facility in India, it is hard to argue with that assertion.