This is my first post on Autocar India and a right time for a long term ownership report.
To begin with a short intro
The Car: Maruti Suzuki Swift (VDi) (old gen)
How old: 3 years and 3 Months (June 2010)
Mileage(or KM’s on ODO): 40,000
Car Color: Metallic Pearl Arctic White
A few things to keep in mind when you go through this review:
- I am a first time Diesel car user
- The other car I had were M800, Alto.
So, obviously, keeping the above in mind, some of the review points might not make sense to people when comparing with other cars in the same category. Nevertheless, let me get going now with the review.
It was about 3.5 years back that I was hunting around for cars to buy and tested a car from each company’s stable, Hyundai Motors (i20), Fiat (Punto), Ford (Figo) and of course Maruti (Swift VDi ).
I made a decision for going in for a Swift Diesel VDi as this was the only car which had all the elements in it – sturdiness, fuel efficiency, stability, safety and service effectiveness while keeping costs low. At Rs.5.7 lacs on the road, it seemed pretty expensive but then for the diesels this is an acceptable price to pay for a hot hatch isnt it? Having said that and after having driving about 1200 kms every month, I managed to finish 40,000 kms a few days back and here is the proof for the records:
So after these kilometers which included a trip to Goa covering near about 2000 kms, a trip to Bhopal covering about 1500km, a long trip to Rajasthan & few more long trips what do I feel about this car? Lets analyze.
I will divide this second level re-look into few broad categories.
1. Handling – The car remains planted on the ground at any speed all the way upto 130kph. While with other cars I’ve had before I was able to take turns only between 60-70kph, with the swift Vdi I’m able to take turns extremely confidently at 90kph, the tires perform on the swift w.r.t to handling turns, the car does extremely well. Going over potholes is a breeze unless the road is too uneven. With the tubeless tires there is no worry of punctures and they do fairly well even under the wet conditions on road grip part.
2. Speeds – This is where the car really puts some of the petrol siblings to shame. The acceleration from 20-40 and 60-100 is extremely good. the 40-60 is a mid range and mostly we will be gear shifting at that time. it most effortlessly goes to 80+ without any cribs. as for the speed, I can equate it to the scorpio of hatches. If the road were to be a runway, then the Swift Vdi would be a plane taking off at full grunt. If you have taken a flight anytime you would know what I mean. Its the same adrenalin rush that the car pumps into you (the whole package included – speed, sound, grunt, thrust and the zippiness). This sudden speed variation has its drawbacks too if not used properly. It can give you stiff necks, it can jolt a co passenger without warning and can throw you forward on braking hard at that speeds. Always accelerate the car gently and decelerate well in advance before coming to a stop. Now this is how you enjoy the car. On the highways this car maintains 100kph with utmost ease and I ve tested it with 4 full grown adults and loads of small baggage with AC at level 2 for 550kms. And the car does what it is born to do – sustains the entire drive without a whimper or a whine. It pulls effortlessly the same way as during the start of the journey, even when the journey is about to end. Remember one thing – the bumper in Swift is too low which means this: If you see a road bump in front of you reduce to dead slow and clear it else you’re going to hear that infamous thud which will give you the repair jitters.
3. Braking – This is not strictly a concern for me at lower speeds, but at higher speeds does prove to be a bit of a bother. Never be assured that any car will stop the moment you slam the brakes, and Swift is no exception. for normal ranging speeds to come to a stop or sudden braking on emergency the car responds quite well. But at high speeds 120+ kph panic braking is going to pump the adrenalin even more in you in anxiety whether you’ll live that moment or not. Perhaps the ABS version would be a better one to take on these kinds of situations. On wet roads the brakes are slightly loose which only puts the onus on the owner to use them diligently and not try tricks and last minute maneuvers. Remember one more thing, the brakes are power assisted as in other cars. Which means when the car is off, the brakes are not effective. Which also means you have to necessary put the car in gear and on handbrake when the car is switched off. And when you are in emergency to stop the car, pull the handbrake!!
4. NVH – Maruti has done a great job in the NVH department. Roll all the windows up, and Viola – nothing from the outside is heard. Its definitely not pin drop silence but nothing unbearable too. Its much better than many other cars.
5. Engine/AC – The fiat engine 1.3 multijet Diesel is a gem. It sits snugly in the chassis and maruti has done a great job. The grunt of the engine, the roar at times when reviving puts in perspective of being on a race track. The gear shift is a beauty once you know how to use it. Initially my whole shoulder used to ache when using the shift for a couple of weeks, then I changed the way I flicked it, and learnt the art of gear shifting on this beauty, now its a dream. The power steering is precise and smooth and with a Turning radius of 4.9m you could haul this car anywhere in the city. The AC is chilling to death after sometime and Maruti scores here too. The best part is that when the AC is on, there is no much loss in power as the petrol cars show, and even with 4 adults and luggage and AC on level 2, the car pulls like a dream. Good job..!!
6. Seating/Space – Speaking to the point, the front two seats are very roomy, and they put you in a feeling as though you are in a well oblivious of whats going on outside. This also obstructs the view from all angles and the pillars (abc) add to the bane of less or zero visibility at times. If you have tints and it rains not a thing is visible , you cant even understand whats standing next to you from the window side and visibility clearance is at a bare minimum. So a lot depends on assumptions while driving.
7. Service and maintenance – So far my costs are very low. 3 free services later, I have never had the need of taking this beauty to the service center (except regular servicing) for whatever reasons.
To end this post I d like to talk about 2 things. One is the static electricity. If you are and have been psyched about static when you touch your car, you need to immediately change or put seat covers of art leather variety. If you sit on the cloth covers or the cloth based seats, then you are bound to get electrocuted with these mini charges each time you step out !!
The second thing is about mileage: 16-17 kmpl with ac in city and 20-20+ kmpl on highways always driving at 90-100 kph. As I get 20-21kmpl on Highways.
Happy to the core with the Swift, truly "Art Of Power"
OK it's time for some pics..