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Suzuki Swift: Bit more fun and now more frugal too

S Muralidhar | Updated on April 09, 2021

On the road, making quick overtakes and getting short bursts of speed is easier now

The Swift’s slightly firm ride quality at slow speeds is still there.

The Swift is already a good looking car with a very European vibe to its design.

Red-ringed dials look good at night.

Subtle design changes, a small performance tweak and more mileage come together to help sustain its youthful appeal

The Maruti Suzuki Swift was, and continues to be a segment-defining car. It also helped redefine the Maruti brand and established credentials for the country’s largest car manufacturer. Over 2.4 million young-at-heart buyers of varying age have already bought the Swift. A few weeks ago, Maruti Suzuki launched the facelifted 2021 model year Swift. It is not a big changeover from the previous year’s model, yet it is significant in that it’ll keep the Swift’s relevance to new emission and safety norms intact, and it also helps improve the car’s on-road performance.

 

Design

The Swift was already a good looking car with a very European vibe to its design. The squat, go-kart like stance, the floating roof mimicking the MINI and the slightly sharpened features for the nose and the light elements, done during the previous redesign, continue to keep the Swift fresh and fun even today. Onlookers may find the changes in the 2021 model too subtle to identify, but the thick chrome garnish running across the matt-black cross mesh bonnet grille is new, as is the contrast roof colour. There are three body paint colours and two contrast roof colours that customers can choose from now, including a metallic blue with a contrast white roof.

My test mule wore a solid fire red with a pearl midnight black roof. The rest of the design for the Swift remains the same. The rear is still dominated by the peeled-back tail-lamps with their crystalline elements. The strong haunches and the rear door handles tucked away next to the C-pillar garnish define the sporty, impish character of the Swift.

 

Cabin

Inside the cabin, the changes are again not very significant, so you won’t see a completely revamped dashboard or centre console. But, again, the Swift’s cabin was one of the best to come out of Maruti’s stables, and it is hardly looking dated. There are a couple of changes to the trim, including a new insert on the dash and a twin-pod instrument cluster that now also features a new coloured 10.67cm multi-information display that gives out info like real-time mileage, distance to empty, and the Odo and trip meters. Red-ringed dials look good at night. The 17.78cm Smartplay Studio infotainment system has been retained and it offers smartphone/ vehicle connectivity and cloud-based services. It still misses an expanded suite of connected car features. And there is still no wireless charger, a feature that I certainly missed towards the end of my test drive.

Some of the other additional features include cruise control, idle start-stop and auto-folding door mirrors. The Swift’s cabin space continues to be the same. It is adequately spacious even at the rear, though the legroom is not segment-leading. The seats are firm, bolstered for good support at the sides and the comfortable for long journeys.

 

Performance

The K12 engine in the Swift gets an upgrade for the 2021 model. The next-gen K Series 1.2-litre engine features both Dual Jet and Dual VVT (variable valve timing) tech, which combined with idle start-stop helps improve both emissions and mileage. Essentially, it now gets two injectors per cylinder, and both the intake and exhaust valves get variable valve timing technology in this 4-cylinder engine. There is also the addition of a cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system, all of which contribute to better combustion characteristics. The engine’s power output sees a bump up to 66kW or 90hp and a flatter torque curve. The change in on-road performance is not significant, but still very much perceptible when I stomp the throttle.

The Swift was always a fun car to drive and that element of youthful, sort of, sprightliness is still there in the 2021 model. If you get to empty tarmac or on the track, letting its rear slide out at corners is just a quick turn of the wheel away. On the road, making quick overtakes and getting short bursts of speed is easier now, though it still isn’t as responsive as some of the other small displacement turbocharged petrol engines that are offered by the competition.

Bottom line

The Swift’s slightly firm ride quality at slow speeds is still there.

But, overall ride is confident and settled compared to the way one could get rattled by bad roads while inside the first generation Swift. Like other Maruti’s the new Swift’s steering continues to feel over-assisted, but return-assistance is better and it is still precise enough for a car in this segment.

The big draw for buyers will be the small bump up in performance and the near 10 per cent jump in fuel efficiency which is now up to 23.2kmpl for the manual and 23.8kmpl for the AGS (auto gearshift) variants.

Safety features are also more in the AGS variants with ESP (electronic stability) and hill-hold control being standard. Braking performance has also been improved.

Prices for the new 2021 Swift start at ₹5.73 lakh for the LXi manual variant and range up to ₹8.41 lakh for the ZXi+ AGS dual tone variant (ex-showroom, Delhi).

Published on April 08, 2021

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