Talking about the Swift is like revising a subject before the final exams. There is hardly anything new to add except the fact that it has sold over 13 lakh units in India alone. It is, after all, the crowned king of its segment. But the big question is that after over 10 long years is this still all the premium car that you need? And does it deserve to keep the crown that legions of fans have bestowed upon it.
The original silhouette of the car remains largely unchanged from 2005. This car is instantly recognisable even from a distance. New additions now include chrome garnish around the fog lamps and slight changes to the front bumper as well. The stretched back headlamps and raising belt line of this car gives it a clean and purposeful stance.
The all black cabin looks very sporty and unlike beige colour of rivals, does not soil rather easily as well. Head room is good upfront and the seats on the Swift are the best in its segment. They offer great support and excellent cushioning as well. The gearlever knob and steering wheel are good to hold too and the quality of materials used is as good as most rivals.
The back seat offers reasonable space, but the raising waistline on the outside means that some people might feel a bit cramped at the back. The generous width at the back though means that sitting three isn’t a big hassle. The boot though is a bit small and if want a car with more space go for a Hyundai Elite i20.
Engine, performance and gearbox
The Swift comes with two engine options. You can choose a 1.2-litre petrol motor and a 1.3-litre diesel engine. Both engines are supremely refined, efficient and adequately powered. While the petrol feels a bit lazy below 1,200 rpm, the diesel needs to be wringed to 2,000rpm to get the best out of it.
That said, the gearbox is a delight to operate. If you want to know the meaning of the word crisp, then operate this gearbox. The throws are accurate, precise and effortless.
The petrol engine loves to be revved hard and even when you push it on the rev limiter it doesn’t feel overtly nosiy inside the cabin. Both the diesel and petrol engines offer quick acceleration and brisk pace if kept in the right rev band.
Ride and handling
Marutii Suzuki are the masters when it comes to ride and handling balance on the suspension. And the Swift is easily the most fun small car to drive. The steering has plenty of feedback and grip levels from the tyres are good and the body has minimal roll when pushed into a corner. The car remains largely stable at faster speeds as well with only the worst roads managing to upset its composure.
Safety and equipment
The top-end ZXi/ZDi versions come with two airbags and ABS as standard. The car also comes with a start/stop button, Bluetooth for the stereo as well as steering mounted controls for the audio system. All in all, decent features for the price you pay. But if its a long features list you want and have the money to spend then go for the Hyundai Elite i20.
The Swift remains a hoot to drive and being a Maruti product means that resale values will be good too. It's only minor fault is the small boot, but apart from that this car is near perfect. All in all, this is still all the premium hatchback car that you will ever really need. Thirteen lakh customers cannot be wrong, can they?