CAR REVIEW: NEW MARUTI SUZUKI SWIFT 2021
Maruti Suzuki has launched the New Swift 2021 on February 24th. This launch coincided with its 15-year anniversary.
Swift Hatch is the market leader in the segment and is one of the most successful products of MSIL for the last 15 years. Swift has ruled the market as the number one selling Indian car for a very long time now. Also, the car has experienced multiple facelifts time and time again. This has ensured the interest of the customers is retained in the product and their excitement with the product never dies off.
Before we dive into the details of the New Swift, let's take a look at the major model changes in Swift over the years.
The First Generation Swift :
The swift was launched in 2005. From the very start, it was positioned as a stylish and feature-loaded car. The Indian customers loved it from the very start. The 1st Generation Swift saw many facelifts and retained its popularity.
One has to remember that swift was not only competing with other OEMs it had competition inside MSIL as well. We had the Alto, Zen and M800. Swift ensured it stood out of the crowd by stand out features. The styling was at it’s best. The curved sides, modern back and unique headlamps had helped it carve its niche.
MSIL also made sure their interiors of swift stood out. They gave it a dar grey theme which added to the sporty appeal. Swift also had the ABS and Airbags which was well appreciated during this time.
Swift stepped up the power game as well, it started off with a 1.3 Litre four-cylinder petrol engine. This was way ahead of time, whereas other hatchbacks including the one’s at MSIL had a 1-litre engine.
The game-changer move came when Fiat struck a deal with MSIL for the much-loved diesel engines. To the surprise of many the Engine was made in Fiat, but Fiat or TATA [ JV partner] couldn’t sell enough volumes of the same engine, but MSIL had hit a jack port with Swift.
The Second Generation Swift:
It was 2011 when the hatchback segment really heated up. Swift had it’s position ahead of the rest. But the onslaught was tremendous. Honda got its Jazz. Tata got its Vista, Hyundai had i10 and i20 breathing down its neck and the Global biggie VW's Polo had been launched. Not to forget Ford Figo was building strong volumes as well.
MSIL pulled another jackpot with its second-generation swift. With the stronger design, sportier look it re-established its dominance. On the inside, we saw a black interior.
On the engine front, it came both with the petrol and diesel engines. Swift along with its sibling Dzire were selling cars in a different orbit altogether. Their volumes were envied by all.
Third Generation Swift :
The third-gen Maruti Swift was introduced in early 2018. It is based on Suzuki's latest HEARTECT platform, which is claimed to be compliant with all mandatory safety regulations.
According to the carmaker, the current Swift is the safest iteration of the hatchback so far. The new Swift also gets various modern features that have helped Maruti target younger customers and increase the car's desirability. These features include projector headlamps, LED daytime running lights and gunmetal alloy wheels. Its design is clearly an evolution of the previous model's, which helps in retaining its popular brand image while simultaneously giving it a fresh new look.
On the inside, the single-tone cabin layout was retained. However, the all-black shade used here is lighter than the one in its predecessor. The third-gen model also gets increased usage of brushed silver accents and piano black inserts. The additional space, especially at the rear, has finally addressed Swift's limited legroom problem as well.
A new flat-bottom steering wheel, sporty twin-pod instrument cluster and an automatic climate control console have helped liven up the cabin ambience.
However, the biggest highlight of the new Swift's interiors is the much-awaited touchscreen infotainment system. The 7-inch unit is similar to the one seen in other Maruti cars like the Ciaz, Baleno, Vitara Brezza, Ignis, and Dzire. It comes with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and satellite navigation.
The third-gen Swift had also got an upgrade in the powertrain department. While the 1.2-litre petrol and 1.3-litre diesel engines have been carried forward without any major changes, Maruti has added an AMT automatic gearbox option on both these engines, in addition to the standard 5-speed manual gearbox. This has been done to serve the rising demand for affordable automatic hatchbacks in the Indian market.
The car was a runaway hit again. In just over 2 months of its launch in February 2018, the new Swift managed to garner 1 lakh bookings, which is the fastest for any new car in the Indian market - a testament to the popularity and desirability of the hatchback.
While the third-gen Maruti Suzuki Swift still had its share of limitations, it ticks most of the right boxes in an average Indian buyer's requirement list. As a result, despite tightening competition from outside as well as inside the company, Swift continues to set the sales charts on fire to bring in around 20,000 unit sales every month.
The Awards Won by Swift so far:
ICOTY (Indian Car Of The Year) - 2019, 2012 & 2006
Autoportal India ‘Car Of The Year 2019’
Exhibit Magazine, Compact Hatchback Of The Year 2019
AutoX - The Best Car Of 2018
BBC Top Gear Magazine, Small Car of the Year, 2011
Car of the Year Award by Overdrive, 2011
Auto Junction, The Auto Awards 2011, Hatchback Car of the Year
NDTV Car Of The Year & CNB Viewers’ Choice Car Of The Year, 2006
The New Swift 2021
What are the Hi-5’s which will make you happy 😊
#) Swift as a brand has one of the highest resale value. To this add great service network & after-sales service.
#) Upgraded Safety features from the basic trim is a thumbs up.
#) Cruise Control, Climate Control, LED and Infotainment system are impressive.
#) Efficient and powerful Petrol. Smooth AMT
#) Better Space on the inside and a Continued sporty look on the outside.
What are the not so, Hi-5’s which may not bring a smile to your face :
#) NO diesel option
#) Few features missing on the Z trim also, which you would expect at the price range. [rear ac, smaller spare tyre, rear disc]
#) Not the best premium interiors
#) Price increase is not in the best taste, since the top end leaves you comparing with many other cars with more features and also tempts you to move up to other segments
#) NO AT option. It’s an AMT
Product Trims & Price:
The ZXI+ comes with the option of choosing dual-tone. This means you can have Red with Black roof / White with Black & Blue with a White roof.
Apart from this, you have six colour options:
Pearl Arctic White
Pearl Midnight Blue
Solid Fire Red
Metallic Magma Grey
Metallic Silky Silver
Pearl Metallic Lucent Orange
The new 2021 swift continues to have the hexagonal grille in the front. In addition, we see a Chrome strip that runs across the grille. The sweptback headlamps are retained in their angular form.
The headlamps continue to host the LED DRLs and LED headlights in projectors. Similar to the earlier swift, these are available only in the Z+trims. This means if you buy the Z or lower VXI tri you will not have these. The fog lamps continue to add to its beauty in the black background.
On the rear, we have the LED tail maps cluster which houses the Indicators and reverse lights. We can see unlike the Ertiga or other cars, here the chrome is kept to a minimum level.
The Suzuki S logo on the rear stands out alone along with the swift logo. The dual-tone rooftop is encouraging. It adds to the overall styling of the car. Here again, the dual roof option is available with Z+ variants.
The Swift comes with the new Heartect platform which MSIL has been promoting aggressively over the past few launches. The platform helps to not only be light but is also strong. The build quality on the outside is good. On the sides, the swift continues to look neat. MSIL doesn’t try to put out the shoulder lines.
The black ORVMs compliment the dual-tone roof. The, i-create platform gives you a host of options: you can have a complimenting coloured skirt, add side beadings etc. One can go to a great extends to customise the car as per their individual liking.
The Z+ variant gets the 15-inch dual-tone alloy. The alloy is precision cut with 10 spokes. The other variants get the rims like any other car in this segment.
The cabin is well laid out. The dashboard and the controls are easily accessible. The head-shoulder & legroom is sufficient. MSIL has continued the same dashboard, where they are not too many distractions.
You don’t need to expect premium finish interiors from this Swift, however, it continues to have a hard plastic dashboard. There are no sharp or unkept edges. The interiors are done neatly. The flat-bottom steering wheel continues to its beautiful appeal and is well placed to the eye. The leather wrap around it helps in the beautification.
The front seats which are sporty help with great shoulder support and are true to its nature. The rear seats continue to be space with sufficient headroom- legroom and shoulder room for the rear passengers.
On the top end, you will get the cruise control functions, which are steering mounted. This feature must excite a lot of Swift buyers. The Driver information system is now multicoloured. We would earlier see this in their other offerings like the Ertiga & XL6. The driver has options to get updates on vehicle alerts, fuel economy, power and torque output.
The automatic climate control seems to work perfectly and is easy to set. The AC seems to work fine with a cooling effect reaching the rear passengers as well. The Infotainment system remains the same as earlier offerings of MSIL. The apple car play works fine and so does the android auto. The icons are well spaced and easy to handle. The idea of keeping it simple works, since it’s very easy to navigate or change stations on the radio.
Boot: the mouth of the boot is nice and wide, easy to get big luggage in and out. The hatch’s boot gets unlocked with the central locking system. A total of 268 litres is a spacious place for a hatchback. Should you need further space, the second row can be folded to give you a total of 579 litres of space.
The Engine :
The 2021 Swift comes with the advanced K_series Dualjet, dual VVT engine with idle start and stop technology. The space under the front bonnet seems to be realigned, this seems to make it very convenient for one looking to handle some under the bonnet repairs. We have a new floor guard in the New Swift.
True to its name, the swift on the road is an enjoyable drive. The 1.2 Litre kicks off. Power delivery is linear and throughout the gear shift ranges. Once you hit the 2500+ RPM the car roars and gives you the strong pick up feel. The clutch is easy and light. The clutch’s travel range is just perfect for an average height person. The gearbox is smooth as silk and the gear shifts are very well defined and have small throws.
The AT version of the car is more for city drives. It’s easy and smooth to drive. Not for the aggressive drivers who would want power on immediate call. If you give the car it’s time, it will respond sufficiently with appropriate power levels.
The Ride and Handling
The Heartect platform has helped MSIL take their cars to a new level, in addition to this the McPherson strut suspension on the front and torsion beam setup on the rear gives the car a smooth drive. Of course, the turning is great to handle and fun to drive.
The handling is firm and gives you the confidence to step up the speed. However, the flip side being you don’t get rid of the road humps as easily as you would want to. The car despite being light is very stable at high speeds. You can drive at high speeds with all the confidence. The turnings can be sharp with the electronic power steering, a must-have feature for urban drives. The turning radius at 4.8 meters.
With a ground clearance of 163 mm, it may seem low. But it shouldn’t scrape through the bumps on the road [ if one drives safely of course ]. The front disc brakes and rear drum breaks seem sufficient. They apply well and stopping at high speed doesn’t require too much pressure. The safety features of ABS and EBD do their job and it helps in better control in stopping. With 37 litres of fuel tank capacity, one would wish a little more. However, it's sufficient to fulfil your weekend drives.
The 2021 Swift, helps to keep the excitement alive around the brand. Swift has already addressed the shortcomings in the 3rd Gen’s launch itself. Now, with cruise control and some cosmetic changes, it makes its case even stronger.
For those looking for the safest bet in terms of buying a hatchback, Swift ticks all boxes. You get low maintenance, superior service experience, best resale value, good design and great features all beautifully packaged as a high-value product.
The price of the entry-level variants is very inviting and will ensure you forget many other cars which would have been in your consideration set. However, when the price climbs up the ladder on the top end, it gets tricky as you get many options at that price range.