2015 Maruti Suzuki Swift Test Drive Review
The 2015 Maruti Swift facelift gets minor changes but gets more equipment on board

Maruti Swift Facelift Review

Car Tested: 2015 Maruti Suzuki Swift Facelift

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 5.46 – 8.68 lakhs

The updates to the Swift aren’t major but added equipment is welcome nonetheless

The Maruti Suzuki Swift is India’s most popular hatchback and has ruled the streets for a good 10 years now, unchallenged mostly. There is definitely something about the Swift which makes it such a hot seller, we have it our long term garage and can’t deny the smile it plants on our face everything we show it a pair of twisties. It’s not a very practical car due to the lack of rear seat room and a small boot but for those who love driving, the Swift is among the few options. The company updated its popular model with a minor facelift not so long back and we gauge the minor changes.

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The Swift facelift gets minor exterior changes which aren’t very apparent

Exteriors – On the styling front, Maruti Suzuki has done little to boost the appeal of the car because the Swift gets hardly any changes. At the front, the grille and bumper are new but again, it’s very similar to the old car while the fog light has silver accent next to them. Yes, Maruti has cut corners by not offering daytime running lights which the global model gets. The alloy wheel design is new (we like the old one) and the rear is largely the same with little to differentiate it from the pre-facelift model.

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The interior remains the same as before but gets much needed added equipment

Interiors – Step inside and you are greeted by a familiar cabin as nothing has changed in here, except the seat which uses new fabric. The automaker has given the dashboard silver accents, including on the door and steering wheel while the equipment list has been lengthened to get on par with the competition. The vehicle now gets keyless entry (the rubber button on the driver door for unlock is very flimsy), push button start, Bluetooth audio system (controls are awkwardly placed between the left and centre spoke, weird when the other spoke is empty), reverse parking sensors and a centre cabin light (there are two cabin lights in the car now, class leading, you bet) on the Z trims. Maruti has also improved the equipment levels on the lower trims, including adding L+ trims that get remote locking and front power windows. The L trims now get 60:40 split seats and adjustable headrests while the V trims now feature an audio system and electrically retracting rearview mirrors, ABS is standard on the VDi as well. Cabin space remains the same so there is good comfort for front passengers while the rear lacks space and feels claustrophobic, the boot is small too.

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Maruti has tweaked the diesel engine for added efficiency and that’s about it

Performance – Maruti Suzuki has come under a lot of pressure as newer cars in the segment were boasting of more mileage, thus both the engines had to be re-tuned for improved efficiency. The 1.2-litre K-Series mill now produces 2.7 PS less power, thus is outputs 84.3 PS at 6000 RPM while the torque has increased by 1 Nm to 115 Nm at 4000 RPM. This has been achieved by increasing the compression ratio from 10.0:1 to 11.0:1, the vehicle now returns an ARAI mileage of 20.4 km/l against the old car’s 18.5 km/l. The petrol mill has good mid and top-end performance and loves the redline, the changes made to the powertrain aren’t very apparent when you drive the car as it still moves with the same punchiness as before.

Maruti’s focus is purely on economy rather than driving fun, a 90 BHP tune would do wonders

Coming to the famous diesel engine of the Maruti Suzuki Swift, the 1.3-litre Fiat motor, it hasn’t been tuned, thus it generates the same 75 PS at 4000 RPM and 190 Nm at 2000 RPM as before. The company has made tweaks to the ECU while also reducing friction to improve the mileage which is now rated at a stellar 25.2 km/l (the old car was claimed to return 22.9 km/l). The oil burner is fun to drive on the open road but there is considerable low-end lag which makes it difficult to drive the vehicle in stop-go city conditions. But once the turbo spools in full flow, the mid-range punch is extremely satisfying, still not as good as the last generation Swift which gave a kick in the pants feel like no other. Both the petrol and diesel engines are married to a 5-speed manual gearbox and there is still no automatic on offer, not even on the petrol model. Want an automatic only, get the DZire or so is what Maruti feels.

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Cost cutting measures include spare wheel now being a steel rim, earlier it was an alloy

Driving Dynamics – The Maruti Swift has excellent handling and really eggs you to push hard, if you love driving of course. Because among the sea of Swifts you see on the road, most buy it for the Maruti badge and not for having fun behind the wheel. There are no changes to the dynamics of the Swift, so it continues to offer fun handling, decent ride quality (nowhere close to the segment benchmark) and an excellent steering wheel which is light at low speeds but weighs up brilliantly at high speeds, being high on feel and feedback. Braking performance is decent but even the wide but poor quality tyres on the Z trims don’t offer enough grip for surefooted stopping or hard cornering.

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The Swift facelift does little to make the car look fresh after 4 years of sale

Verdict – The Maruti Suzuki Swift has held on to its top position for a long time now and it has done it quite easily. The vehicle has its flaws, its ride quality isn’t the best, the stopping power is average at best (more so on the non-ABS models), rear seat space is lacking and the build quality leaves a lot to be desired from. But, there are positives too and they are big ones. Maruti Suzuki’s service network is unbeatable by a mile, the Swift’s handling is very engaging and the front seats are very comfy too. Not to forget the pair of engines which are tuned brilliantly to offer class leading mileage. Now only if people start buying this car for its real purpose, slap on some 17-inch wheels, paint the roof black, gets a pair of slick projectors, aftermarket tail lights and a kick arse sound system, now that’s the facelift the Swift needs, something which Maruti will never give but the owner can, after all, ‘You’re The Fuel’.

The Maruti Swift continues to sell in hot numbers due to the popularity of the brand, service of the company and mileage of the vehicle. Till the next generation model arrives next year, the current facelift will keep people interested.

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Placement of Bluetooth controls is inconvenient when there is space on the right spoke

What’s Cool

* Added equipment brings it on par with its new rivals, the Swift becomes loaded again
* Improvement in mileage will further woo the mileage conscious buyers
* Room for modifications is high, this is the desi MINI and no two should be the same

What’s Not So Cool

* Changes to the exteriors aren’t much noticeable, DRLs should have been offered
* Spare tyre is no longer an alloy, cost cutting measure
* Rear seat experience lacking, seating adults for long journeys not a good idea

Further Reading –

Maruti Swift vs Tata Bolt vs Hyundai Grand i10
Maruti Swift vs Tata Bolt
Maruti Swift vs Hyundai Grand i10
Maruti Swift Long Term Review

Picture Editing – Sri Manikanta Achanta