Ladies and gentleman, in the tiny history of compact sedans in the Indian market, there has been never been a moment as important as this. The segment leader Maruti Suzuki has taken the wraps off the latest generation Dzire compact sedan. This car gets a new design, updated interiors and a new light weight platform, all for the purpose of ushering this vehicle into the modern age. How then, does it stand up to its main competition - the Hyundai Xcent and the Honda Amaze. Read on to find out.
There is a major change in the minds of consumers with regard to the perceptions of compact sedans. They are no longer seen as just optional body styles to hatchbacks, but as individual choices by themselves. Sensing this change, two of these manufacturers have tried their best to keep the exterior design as different as possible.
In this round of the fight it is the Hyundai Xcent which seems to have made quite a leap. From a plain Jane design it has moved to the wide grille seen on the Elantra as well as the Tucson. The tail lamps too have changed significantly and bring quite a bit of attention to the rear of the car.
It is a similar story with the Dzire but to a lesser extent as it still does share a face with the new Swift, albeit a chrome laden one. Where it does manage to stand out is the tail lamps which get a C-shape and have the indicator sections made out of LEDs.
The Honda Amaze was the first of the compact sedan to have a complete design and this has managed to keep it in the running. But compared to the more dynamic looking Xcent and Dzire, it has a softer and less attention grabbing design.
Interior and features
The Dzire has been upgraded to meet the expected requirements of the segment like touchscreen infotainment system, climate control, electrically adjustable ORVMs, power windows and reverse camera. The Amaze is the only car where the touchscreen system is not offered but it has all the other options. They are evenly matched in terms of layout and cabin space with all three offering beige and black colour packages. Where the Dzire manages to stand out is its external features, thanks to its chrome detailing as well as tail lamps with integrated LED indicators. The Xcent and Dzire offer dual airbags across their range while in the Amaze it is available from the SX variant onwards only.
Engine and gearbox
The trio are matched in terms of petrol engines as they are all 1.2-litre units producing 87bhp/109Nm, 82bhp/114Nm and 83bhp/115Nm in the Amaze, Xcent and Dzire respectively. A five-speed manual is the norm while they can also be had with an AMT in the Dzire, four-speed AT in the Xcent and a CVT in the Amaze.
The Amaze has the most powerful diesel which is a 1.5-litre unit producing 98bhp/200Nm while the Xcent and Dzire are evenly matched as their 1.2-litre unit and 1.3-litr unit produce 75bhp/190Nm respectively. However, here the Dzire has the upper hand as it can be had with a five-speed AMT in addition to the standard five-speed manual option.
We believe that Maruti Suzuki will price the Dzire in the range of Rs 5.5 lakh to Rs 8.5 lakh, putting it smack dab in the middle of the competition. This combined with the kind of image the car already has should help it continue the kind of numbers it has already achieved. An added bonus in terms of numbers will also be the diesel AMT option offered on every variant except the LXi/LDi trim level.