New Swift DZire driven at BIC

Donec egestas diam arcu, id auctor turpis porttitor ac. Nulla feugiat justo mauris ( Photo by: jont dore )


February 22

With the second generation of the Swift in our market, it was only logical to expect a new DZire. The new Swift sticks to the tradition of being larger and looking more expensive than its predecessor, but things aren’t so well for the new DZire owner. For a start, it looks smaller and from most front three quarter views, the semi notchback is almost hidden from view. Move over to the sides and the much more upright rear glass and thin C pillar makes it appear boxier than before. What’s more, that front grill looks cheap and the wheels are just the most boring Enkeis we have ever seen. So has Maruti lost the plot completely and messed up the biggest seller among entry level sedans?

Not one bit. No one understands Indian customers like Maruti does and this shows in the new DZire. They learnt that while everyone wants a boot, they don’t expect it to be very big. And by making it more compact, they are effectively making it easier to drive and park in congested roads. If all these weren’t reason enough, there is the legislation which favours cars under four metre and the decision was made to make it no longer than 3995mm, a full 165mm shorter than its predecessor. Interior legroom isn’t compromised much, as the new platform is 40mm longer and the car is a wee bit taller (+25mm) and wider (+5mm). The shorter tail makes the car look much more cohesive and together than before. Maruti has gone lengths to differentiate the front bumper with sharper creases, although we still can’t think of a good reason to ditch the Swift’s grille for this. The rear tail lamps take some inspiration from the Kizashi and the antenna has been moved to the rear a.l.a in the Swift.

The interiors are similar to the one on the Swift, only you get beige lower halfs and upholstery. There is also a fake wood finish replacing the classy aluminium (fake again) trim on the dashboard and door panels. The rear seats get better side bolstering and a flip down arm rest that make them more comfortable than the hatchback. They don’t flip forward leaving the 316litre boot with its narrow loading aperture, less practical than the Swift. The equipment levels are similar to that of the Swift, with the ZXI/ZDI variant getting premium audio system with steering mounted controls, ABS, twin airbags and climate control to name a few.

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The engines are carried over from the existing range. The diesel as expected has been tuned for more drivability and delivers its punch much lower in the rev range. The 1.2litre K series gets VVT treatment like in the Swift, and while it doesn’t feel as eager as the early one, it is still hugely entertaining. What is new to the DZire is the 4-speed automatic gearbox – a segment first- based on a conventional torque convertor. The box isn’t particularly fast, but delivers a smooth gear change and goes well with moderate speed cruising and city driving.

Although that wasn’t what we were doing at the Buddh International Circuit where we had our pre-launch drive. We were going flat out on the track whereHamiltondrove his McLaren and enjoying every bit of it. The DZire has a softer setup than the Swift and it rolls a wee bit more, but trust me, it felt very much like the Swift. The delightfully precise steering, the almost never ending front end grip and a tail that is always wanting to come out to play, the moment you take your foot off the accelerator- it was just like the Swift I drive everyday. And there is a very good reason for this- weight. How much do you think, Maruti has added to the Swift, when it grafted on a boot? 30kg? 45kg perhaps? No….you’re wrong! Nothing. They say, the sedan and hatchback weigh almost the same; take a couple of kilos depending on the trim you opt for.

A detailed review, with actual fuel efficiency, ride quality assessment(we were on the smooth tarmac of a race track here) will come later in the magazine. Maruti will launch the car on the 1st of February and we are just too curious to see how they want to price it. The new platform will make the DZire Rs.25-30,000 more expensive (going by the Swift) than the outgoing one, but the excise benefit will save them roughly the same amount. Will they pass on the benefits and make it cheaper than it already is, or will they retain the similar pricing and give you a shorter car that is better overall? Stay tuned….

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