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2017 Maruti Suzuki Dzire

2017 Maruti Suzuki Dzire

Snapshot: Fresh looks and new underpinnings arrive on India’s best-selling sedan. Rivals should be very worried.

If you are in the market for a compact sedan then you are simply spoilt for choice. If you want something with style then you can pick the new Tata Tigor. If it’s driving pleasure you are after then the Ford Aspire and the VW Ameo should suit you best. If it’s a large and roomy rear seat along with a big boot you are after then the Honda Amaze and Hyundai Xcent are strong choices.

Despite having so many options to choose from, 50 percent buyers decided to choose the Dzire in this segment. Though the earlier car was still at the top of its sales charts, it was cramped in the rear seats and came with an average boot. So Maruti Suzuki reckoned that it was time for a reboot and here it is: the new Dzire. A car that takes inspiration from its predecessor, but manages to improve in almost every area.

Exterior

Underneath the stylish shell is the same platform that does duty on the Baleno. The new Dzire is around 100 kilos lighter than the older version. The wheels have been moved further towards the corner of the body. The car is also wider than before and marginally lower as well. The front overhang has been shortened and the rear overhang has been extended. All this translates into a visually more balanced silhouette. Gone is the short and stubby boot and the new boot design seems better integrated along with the rest of the body. The rear lamps look very similar to the ones on the Honda Amaze though. Speaking of looking similar, the front end will remind you of an Aston Martin, with its large grille and the peeled back lamps. The bumper is heavily sculpted as well. Overall, while the older car was clearly aimed at conservative tastes this new one should appeal to millennials.

Interiors

The extra centimetres added to the wheelbase on the outside translate into generous room on the inside. The rear seats now offer the same amounts of room as the class leader, Honda Amaze does. The rear also gets AC vents and a 12v charging point. The front seats on the Dzire have always been the best for cushioning and support and the new one carries this tradition forward.

The Dzire is based on the funky cabin of the Swift hatchback and the car feels stylish on the inside. The centre console is slightly tilted towards the driver’s side giving it a sporty feel. The dials in particular look sporty and the flat-bottomed steering wheel adds to the sporty touch. In terms of features you get plenty of kit with even the base versions getting two airbags, ISOFIX-child seats and aircon as standard. Some buyers though will miss the pull out type cup holder just below the front passenger AC vent, while some might complain that the glovebox isn’t deep enough.

Engine, performance and gearbox

As soon as you start driving around the new Dzire you get a strong sense of deja vu. That's because the engines and gearbox are the same as the older car and shared with the Baleno. But that's not really a bad thing. You get the same 1.2-litre K-series petrol engine that pumps out 84bhp and the same 1.3-litre DDiS diesel engine with 74bhp of power. You can choose a five speed manual on these two engines. The diesel also comes with the choice of an AMT-automatic but only in its top trim.

The Dzire's engines have always been decent all-round performers offering a nice mix of economy and refinement along with adequate power. And it's no different with the new car. But being about 100kgs lighter than the outgoing model means that the Dzire feels a lot more agile than before. Performance is more livelier too. So you can have reasonable fun on twisty roads. Fuel economy is better too, Maruti claims 28.4kpl for the diesel while the petrol will offer 22kpl.

The Diesel engine still feels a bit sluggish though but refinement levels are very good. Infact if it's refinement that you are after then the petrol version is for you. It's the last word on refinement in this segment.

The gearbox is slick and has a positive action while the clutch on both diesel and petrol versions is light and linear in operation. Maruti has also improved the AMT auto gearbox and it responds better to throttle inputs. 

Ride and handling

Admittedly, the Dzire isn't the keenest driver's car but buyers in this segment don't care about sporty performance. They want hassle free motoring and that's where the Dzire excels. The steering is light and easy to use. The visibility is good all round and that makes this an easy to manoeuvre car in town traffic.

You can also cruise on the highway in a relaxing manner because there is hardly any tyre or wind noise and the cabin is well isolated from the engine noise. What also makes cruising so comfortable is the very able suspension that irons out the bumps in the road and doesn't allow any undulations to make you feel unsettled.

Summary

Generous features, punchy yet fuel efficient engines and a roomy cabin means that the new Dzire will take off from where the last one left, right at the top.

Photography: Mohd. Nasir

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