Review: Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire

It is often quite hard to improve on something as good as the original; be it Movies, Autos or Gadgets (no pun intended) When you come to think of it, It's rare that a sequel is as good or even better than the original. Maruti Suzuki’s very own Zen is a classic case in point. Introduced in the year 1993, the original Zen was a class act. With a high-revving engine (that was born to scream) mated to a slick-shifting gearbox; the tiny little hatchback was an enthusiast’s wet dream. However, in the wake of better competition, the Zen lacked a practical side. Maruti tried to fix it by launching a sequel, the new Estilo, a much more rounded alternative to the original Zen. However, the Estilo somehow, lacked character, and character is what the made the Zen such a hoot to own. The car failed to live up to the cult status of the original and without the flair or the aura of the Zen, the Estilo, is still a notch below when it comes to putting a smile on your face every time you get behind the wheel and take it for a spin. Now, to top it off, Maruti has done it again. This time around with its beloved and hot-selling entry-level saloon, the Dzire. That said, there really is nothing wrong with the current Dzire; it’s well priced, comes with ample list of features, the comfort levels are good and best of all, its economical- the Diesel returns over 19 kmpl, for crying out loud! So the big question is: has Maruti nailed it? Is the new, improved Dzire any good than the earlier one? Read on as we take it out for a spin.

A first look at the car will give you an impression that the 2nd generation Dzire is completely different from the car it replaces; it is based on, plainly, the new Swift. Hold on for this one though - Its 165mm shorter, 5mm wider with a wheelbase that is 40mm longer than the current Dzire. This new model is also Maruti Suzuki’s first stab at the sub-four metre saloon category. This, coupled with the engine size allows the new Dzire to fall under sub-four metre norm that attracts less excise duty on cars, thus bringing down the price-tag. Enough with the boring details, now let’s get on with the looks. If you look at it head on, it becomes quite evident that the new Dzire comes with the same front-end design seen in the new Swift, albeit with a few changes to the grille and front bumper. Move onto the side and you’ll notice that the design is a bit odd. The new Dzire might not be the prettiest thing on four wheels but surely, it looks a million times better than it did when it was first launched a few years ago. The current design looks totally out-of-place from just about every angle. The front-end and back-end of the current Dzire look like they were styled by two different design teams that were mad at each other. Thankfully, gone are the ungainly curves and bulges, the tail-section now has been well matched with the rest of the car which basically is the Swift hatchback. The boot itself is quite short, which makes the new Dzire look more like a notchback than a proper saloon car.

The Inside story
The cabin now sports a two-tone interior, a welcome change from the Swift’s usual all-black interior. The overall design is quite impressive; the interplay of beige and black plastics gives a sense of air and lifts-up the cabin ambience compared to Swift’s all-black interior. Other design feature that hits you first is the brilliant instrument cluster with smart dials that are always easy and bright enough to read. However, the dashboard fails to evoke any emotion or sense of occasion and the interiors do little to bring cheer on a miserable Monday morning.

Interior of the mid-range VXi used for the Picture

Time to slip into the comfort zone; No such groaning when it comes to keeping the occupants comfortable and happy. The Seats are quite accommodating, whether in the front or back along with lots of support at all the right places. The front seats especially hold you well when the mood calls for some hard-driving, and that is when you’ll appreciate the driving position which is spot-on, with controls falling easily to hand. At the back, chauffeur driven owners will appreciate the fact that there’s more space to play with compared to the current Dzire though it’s comfy only for two adults, adding one more would be a bit of a squeeze. Boot space on the other hand, at 316 litres, is a whole size down on the outgoing model. However, it would just about swallow enough luggage for a family of four on a weekend trip.  Moreover, the new Dzire carries a long equipment list; Dual SRS airbags, ABS, EBD with brake assist, climate control, driver-seat height adjust, steering-mounted audio controls – to name a few. The quality of plastics and materials used is fairly good and is up there with rest of the bunch.

Under the hood, the new Dzire comes with both Petrol and Diesel options – First up is the K12M VVT 1.2-litre petrol engine which puts out 85bhp @6000 rpm and 11.6kgm of torque at 4000 rpm. The other option is the 1.3 litre DDiS diesel motor producing 74bhp @4000 rpm with 19.37kgm of torque @2000 rpm. We had a go in the top-spec Petrol version, which now features Variable Valve Timing (VVT) and this has seen a 2bhp jump in power compared to the previous Dzire. Floor the throttle for the very first time and you’ll notice that this engine has been tweaked to offer a thrilling drive yet allowing for a respectable fuel-economy. The talking point of the whole drive-train is just how refined it is. Firstly, the engine is quite refined; it loves to be revved and it never feels like it is out of its comfort zone, including near the redline. Secondly, this engine delivers power in a smooth, linear way. It always has enough torque to get you out of light traffic. Gearshifts too on the short-throw five-speed ‘box were quick and smooth. Maruti is also offering a 4-speed automatic gearbox though it will be available only with the petrol-powered version in VXI trim. For the number crunchers out there: the Petrol Dzire will get from 0-100kph in 12.5 seconds and will hit speeds in excess of 160kph without breaking into sweat.  

ZXi version comes with steering-mounted controls
The Dzire is an out-and-out urban commuter with a few out-of-town trips thrown in. This new model, with the suspension tuned for comfort over handling and a feather-light steering, is not even close to what you’d sporty. However, its super-light steering comes in quite handy while slipping through the gaps in mild traffic. The Dzire feels more at home while cruising on city streets rather than corner carving and being thrashed around. On the other hand, the new model drives really well.
The ride does a good job of keeping away rough stuff from intruding into your bottom.

All in all, the new Swift Dzire is one car that's hard to fault. It looks way better than its predecessor and is almost every bit as practical as well. And now it’s much more desirable; the interior has a nice, airy feel to it with good plastics all-around and the new Dzire is slightly roomier as well. The engine options provide sufficient grunt for some spirited driving and what's more; being a Maruti Suzuki, its owners will also be at peace with respect to ease of maintenance and low cost of ownership. This new version might have lost out on a little boot space but as a sensible urban runabout, the Dzire hits the nail right on the head. 

  •   Complete list of prices (ex showroom, Delhi)
    - LXi (Petrol): Rs 4.79 Lakh
    - VXi (Petrol): Rs 5.32 Lakh
    - VXi (Petrol Automatic): Rs 6.54 Lakh
    - ZXi (Petrol): Rs 6.19 Lakh
    - LDi (Diesel): Rs 5.80 Lakh
    - VDi (Diesel): Rs 6.31 Lakh
    - ZDi (Diesel): Rs 7.09 Lakh