With the all-new 2018 Swift, Maruti Suzuki once again proves its prowess as a leading automaker of the country.
India is ready to welcome another generation of its most-loved hatchback of all time, the 2018 Maruti Swift. It goes without saying that this model has some big shoes to fill considering the phenomenal market response of its past two generations. As the official launch is just around the corner, a lot of definitive details of the car are out in the open which lures us to do a spec comparison of the 2018 Maruti Swift vs Hyundai Grand i10 vs Ford Figo to understand what this hype about the new entrant is all about.
Exteriors – Since this war is between a Japanese, a Korean and an American, each car in this trio adopts a divergent design language. While the Figo is the sportiest of the lot with its squatted and athletic stance, it is the Grand i10 which comes across as the most well-proportioned despite being one size smaller. Sadly, the new Swift lacks the design finesse of its rivals although it leads the race when it comes to bling elements such as projector headlamps, LED tail lamps and precision-cut 15-inch alloys. Let’s talk numbers, then.
At 3885 mm, the Ford trumps the other two when it comes to overall length. Again, this allows it to accomodate the longest wheelbase of 2491 mm. Maruti’s offfering is the widest of them all, with 1735 mm of overall width, which will come in handy when seating 3 abreast on the rear bench. All three hatchbacks are closely matched when it comes to overall height but the Figo’s 174 mm of ground clearance makes it that much more suited to our country’s roads, or rather lack of them!
Interiors – For generations, the Achilles’ heel of the Swift has remained its lack of cabin and boot space. Despite being shorter in overall length than the outgoing version, the 2018 Swift boasts of increased cabin space which betters the other two cars in this comparison. Even the boot, at 268-litres, is now more voluminous than its immediate rivals by around 12-litres. When it comes to cabin design and equipment, the Swift outdoes the other two by offering a spacious and well-put-together cabin.
Leather wrapped steering wheel and touchscreen infotainment unit are some of the niceties which are missing on the Ford which also lacks behind in cabin quality and feel. All the cars get a smart key, power folding ORVMs and steering-mounted controls but the Grand i10 also comes with rear AC vents. To conclude, the Swift and Grand i10 beat the Figo hands down in this department.
Engine and Mileage – All three cars in question get a 1.2-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox along with an optional automatic gearbox. However, Ford Figo is a slight deviation from the above with its larger 1.5-litre petrol engine exclusive to the automatic variants. Packing in 81.8 BHP of power and around 113 Nm of torque, the Swift and Grand i10 offer exceptional refinement, drivability as well as efficiency. However, the Swift is at a disadvantage with its smaller 37-litre fuel tank. With 86.7 BHP of power and 112 Nm of torque, the Figo’s unit seems more powerful on paper but isn’t a match to the competition on the tarmac.
Ford’s 1.5-litre Ti-VCT unit develops 110.3 BHP of power and 136 Nm of torque which lends it superior performance but the DCT gearbox it comes paired with has no distant relations with reliability. In the fuel burner option, the American is leaps and bounds ahead of the other two (that develop around 74 BHP of power and 190 Nm of torque) with its 1.5-litre 4-cylinder TDCi mill which is good for 98.9 BHP of power and 215 Nm of torque. However, the 2018 Swift is the only car to offer AMT (AGS in Maruti lingo) with its diesel engine which makes it a compelling proposition for the audience.
Safety and Service – With prices of these offerings inching close to the 1 million mark in some states, customers have become more demanding in terms of safety features and a rigid body shell. Speaking of safety aids, the Figo is the best of the lot with six airbags, ABS with EBD in manual trims and ESP, traction control and hill launch assist in the automatic trim. Maruti Swift comes second with dual airbags, ABS with EBD standard across the range. The Korean misses out on EBD altogether and even ABS, a very basic feature these days, is limited to the top-of-the-line Asta variant.
Over 2300 dealership strong in the country, Maruti Suzuki is the numero uno player in the market largely because of its unmatched service centre reach. Hyundai comes in at a close second with a sizeable dealership network in India. Off late, the American brand has also pulled up its socks and emphasizes low service and spare part cost of its offerings time and again.
Pricing and Verdict – Priced from Rs. 5.30 lakhs and Rs. 6.73 lakhs for the petrol and diesel variants respectively, the Hyundai Grand i10 comes across as the most well-priced offering in this comparison. Unlike its manual transmission trims, the Ford Figo Automatic is exorbitantly priced with the petrol Titanium variant costing Rs. 9.28 lakhs and still skimping on side and curtain airbags which the cheaper Titanium+ diesel gets. Priced from Rs. 5.78 lakhs and Rs. 7.06 lakhs for the petrol and diesel variants, the Maruti Swift does carry a small premium for the good repute it has earned over the years.
As a brand, Hyundai has a stronghold in the market which puts the Grand i10 at an advantage. The Ford doesn’t have much going for it apart from its explosive 1.5-litre diesel engine and six airbags which pretty much explains its irregular sales in a country where performance and safety often takes a backseat. Clearly then, it is the 2018 Swift which is the most well-priced and offers a formidable balance of performance, reliability, features and oomph which makes it a winner in this comparison but not by a big margin because the top-end Z+ variants at priced much higher than the rivals and the six airbag-equipped Figo starts making more sense at that price (all prices on-road, Mumbai).