| ||Swift Dzire || |
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| ||The new sedan version of Swift entices with its interiors. The performance is average, but with good pricing, Maruti may have a winner |
Ever since Maruti decided to phase out one of its most loved and once hotselling mid-sized cars in the country - Esteem - speculation has been rife about its successor. On March 19, Maruti revealed it to be Swift DZire, a sedan version of Swift, the latest pin-up in its stable. It will be launched nationwide in about three days and a full test drive will follow, but till then here is the first impression of the car that promises to take the A3 segment to new levels.
As an extension of an existing model, there is not much difference between the Swift and the DZire. That is, except for the boot. The car has the same muscular styling of the Swift and SX4 family, with prominent wheel arches and mischevious headlamps. Almost as an afterthought, the car has been made slightly wider to enhance space. The real changes, of course, are in the rear and thorough attempts have been made to allign the boot with the rest of the car. After having been through ugly pictures of the car on the Internet, a little anxiety was natural. The end result, however, is not that bad. A high boot coupled with Bentley-ish tail lamps are what distinguishes it from the Esteem and the competition. The high boot makes reversing hard work and from the driver's seat it is not clear where the car ends. But this car may find its set of admirers. Maruti is pegging the DZire as a modest sibling of the SX4 at a lower price for this segment, even as the country hasn't had enough of the Swift - there is a waiting period for both petrol and diesel versions even after almost three years of its launch.
The interiors may well turn out to be the car's USP. DZire has a lot of room and may give the Logan a run for its money on that count. The price is as yet undisclosed, but Maruti has not tried to cut corners on this count. The proof lies in the impressive dash, use of quality plastic, integrated audio system with the dash and steering-mounted control. The upholstery and carpets are also eye-catching, though these will vary for the lower-end versions. The car also comes with ABS and airbags in the premium versions, a first in the segment.
Engine and Powertrain
Except for the fact that the DZire is 30 kg heavier than the Swift, there is nothing starkly different here. DZire shares the same engine platforms as the Swift and here too the diesel variant outperforms the petrol. The 1.3-litre 87 bhp petrol seems sluggish even in the Swift and the extra bulk here does not help. It is not the slowest yet, but clearly not very exciting on the highway.
The diesel variant, however, is more of a performer and credit for that should also go to Fiat's engineers in Italy. The 1.3-litre multijet diesel engine that Suzuki has licensed from the Italian company is being used not only in the Swift and DZire, but also in a host of other models like the Indica and Palio. A maximum power of 75 bhp makes it less powerful than the petrol variant, but a high torque of 190 Nm (compared to 113 Nm in the petrol) makes it zippy. So much so that overtaking in the city is a breeze.
With only 40 km on the clock, there cannot be a final word. We don't know the car's price or its fuel efficiency. Given that the Logan has lowered the bar for the A3 segment, we expect DZire petrol to be priced at not more than Rs 4.5 lakh and the diesel at a little over Rs 5 lakh. The excitement and novelty factor, which were the cornerstones in the success of the Swift and SX4, are missing, so Maruti will have to rely on its other strengths - pricing and marketing. The car is a likely winner if the creases are ironed out.