Ever since its launch in the summer of 2005, the Swift has been a revelation and a revolution. Now the new Swift comes not because of any compulsion of falling sales or intensifying competition but as a routine exercise of product reinvention. The question is whether Suzuki has managed to make the Swift 'swifter'.
From afar, it's difficult to make out if it is a different car. It is a bigger car - 90 mm longer than the older version with 5 mm wider and 30 kg lighter. The headlamps are clearer and bigger now. It is, like in the Hyundai i20, also stretches back to make the car look much bigger. The tail lamps get a dose of clarity and stretches further in at the sides.
The most visible change is in the boot lid that is now smaller as the main frame of the car at the back has gone up. This makes the car sturdier than before but it will also hamper ease of loading and unloading.
Of the 140 odd changes that this car has received, interiors corner most of it. The new Swift has a freshly laid dashboard and instrument panel with better quality plastic and fit and finish. The steering wheel is chunky and solid. Due to its 40mm longer wheelbase, the rear legroom, which was ciriticised for being cramped in the older Swift, is enhanced by 28mm while knee room has also gone up by 20mm. On the flip side though, the small rear windows remain and so the feeling of claustrophobia when three people share the seat.
The only area where the new car misses out is on the boot space, which is marginally less than before. There is also no provision for 60:40 split seats.
The diesel engine remains the same 1.3 litre multijet DDiS but the petrol 1.2 litre K series gets variable valve timing. The car is lighter and with a more powerful engine it boasts of 6% higher fuel economy at over 18 kmpl (ARAI).
Ride and handling
Due to its rallying credentials, Swift was always a peppy car to drive. But between the petrol and diesel, it is the latter that has more spunk. The car is stable on the road. The petrol car does feel a little under powered despite the introduction of VVT.
It is never easy to improve upon an enduring success story but with the new Swift, Maruti Suzuki has been able to do that. It looks stylish and modern, has better interiors and a more solid feel to it. It is also more spacious and frugal. Just when the competition thought it was closing in on the benchmark, Maruti has raised it a tad higher.