Test Driven: New Swift 1.2-litre K-series
With the upcoming emission norms, it was unlikely the old Esteem G13B unit would be continued. So, Maruti went ahead and shoehorned the 1.2-litre K-series engine into the Swift. It is the same engine that does duty in the Maruti Ritz. It puts out 84bhp 11.5kgm of torque. On paper, the 1.2 puts out 3bhp lower than the outgoing 1.3-litre engine. But out on the road, the K-series does just as good a job.
On the outside, there is no way you can differentiate this from the older car. The Swift's familiar lines are appreciated by most and the car really does look good. Recently, the Swift was given crystal clear tail lamps and new design alloys which look better than before. To really tell the difference between the old and the new car, you have to either look under the hood or get behind the wheel. So, I got behind the wheel.
Start her up and you can barely tell the engine turning over. Driving with the Swift 1.3 back to back, you can tell that the bottom end is much better. As a result, the Swift pulls eagerly from as low as 1500rpm and you don't have to change gears as often as before. In fact, the Swift feels even better than the Ritz initially. Performance overall is good, thanks to a punchy top end with the engine pulling strongly all the way till the redline. With 100cc down and clever gearing, the new car is also more efficient. Preliminary tests show a difference of about 1.5kpl over the older car.
Maruti has also tweaked the suspension. The new Swift rides a lot better than before. Bumps are rounded off easily and the suspension is also quieter than before. Where the old Swift would thud, the new Swift goes through without making much noise. The softer suspension might also take care of some of the rattling that the Swifts are known for. This car felt nice and doesn't have a single rattle yet. And I hope it remains that way. The steering also felt slightly lighter, but don't be fooled even with the softer suspension, the Swift is still an entertaining car to drive. And with the new engine, it feels less of an effort.
Whenever, somebody asked me about buying a Swift, I would always recommend the DDIS, but with the new K-series, I think I will be recommending a lot more petrol Swifts. It definately gets the thumbs up in my book. I just wished Maruti had reduced the prices especially since the car qualifies for reduced excise duty. But citing increased input costs, Maruti will not be passing on the benefit to the customers. So don't expect the prices to fall.