Shootout: Hyundai Grand i10 vs Tata Bolt vs Maruti Swift
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 5.48 – 8.05 lakhs (Hyundai Grand i10), Rs. 5.50 – 8.80 lakhs (Tata Bolt), Rs. 5.46 – 8.68 lakhs (Maruti Swift)
These three hatchbacks are very different to each other but still have quite a lot to offer
Hatchback war keeps getting interesting with the launch of every new product in this segment. While the Maruti Suzuki Swift has had a clean run for a long time, it has increasingly come under threat from new arrivals. India’s largest car maker recently gave the Swift a facelift to bring it on par with rivals in terms of equipment while Tata Motors took another attempt at the segment with its latest launch, the Bolt. But can the Indian car beat the Hyundai Grand i10 and the Japanese machine in a head-on battle?
Motor Quest: The Maruti Swift is the oldest car in this shootout although it was recently given a minor update. The Grand i10 was launched in 2013 while the Bolt went on sale earlier this year, making it the freshest car of this trio.
Styling – The oldest car in this pack is the Maruti Suzuki Swift and since there are too many on Indian roads, it simply doesn’t come across as striking in front of the other two cars here. Sure the Swift is a nice looking car but the recent facelift did little to enhance its appeal, if anything, it looks less attractive with the new alloy wheels not being as good to look at as the old ones. Thus, as far as styling goes, it’s a close battle between the Hyundai Grand i10 and Tata Bolt. The Vista successor does look quite good but having the profile of its predecessor doesn’t help its cause.
Sure there are some nice design elements on the Tata Bolt like the projector headlights (offers the best illumination here), piano black finishing under the front grille, blackened C-pillar for that floating roof look and the new MINI Cooper inspired rear-end with those LED look alike tail lights. Still, to us, it’s the Grand i10 which looks the best. Yes the Hyundai has smaller wheels but the diamond cut alloy wheels look the most attractive here and other elements like the black side moulding, hexagonal front grille and the overall curvy design works in its favour.
Interiors – All these three cars come loaded with a lot of kit but each misses out on something or the other when compared to its rivals. For starters, the Bolt doesn’t get keyless GO, push button start/stop, electro-magnetic tail gate opener, dedicated door lock button (the switches from the Vista are the only visual sore point in the cabin, even the Swift uses the same switches as its previous gen) and reverse parking sensors which are present on both the Swift and Grand i10. The Hyundai also gets a rear AC vent, 1 GB storage for the audio system, cooled glovebox and headlight/cabin light auto off when you exit the car (forgetting to turn off lights at night is a non-issue in the Hyundai), which is missing on the other two cars here but the Grand i10 misses out on a climate control AC, adjustable front seat headrests, split folding rear seat (other cars have a 60:40 while the Grand’s rear seat folds in one piece), distance to empty on the multi-information display and auto locking doors.
What the Tata Bolt has over the other two cars here is follow-me home headlamps with guide function, projector headlights, illuminated key ring, LED number plate lights, Cornering Brake Control, specific door open indicator, delayed wiper swipe, best horn (mounted right in front of the grille and can be seen, is much louder than the puny horns on the other two cars) and a state of the art infotainment system which gets a touch-screen. The 8-speaker Harman audio system is not only the best here but also has more connectivity options including navigation (via MapMyIndia app on your phone), SMS readout, voice commands, image viewer and video playback which doesn’t work so easily as your file should be in either AVI, MP4 or FLV format and we tried all but it simply did not work. The video also works when the car is in motion which isn’t such a good idea.
The Swift has the least space in the rear for occupants and although headroom is decent, legroom is missing and the small windows induce claustrophobia. It does have two cabin lights which is unique, but neither cars get an alloy wheel for the spare tyre, height adjustable seat belts and also miss out on a dead pedal, the Bolt has absolutely no space on the left of the clutch to rest your foot. Meanwhile, the Bolt and Grand i10 are equally awesome when it comes to rear seat comfort but Tata’s wider cabin makes seating three at the rear an easier task. In terms of build quality, the Bolt is the best here but overall quality is the best in the Grand i10. Where the Bolt loses out big time is storage areas or rather the lack of them (small door pockets, no magazine holders [the Grand i10 gets one and the Swift gets two], only one cupholder in the centre console), although it does have the biggest glovebox here and also an underseat storage (below the front co-passenger seat). The Swift and Bolt have good storage bins and while the cupholder in front of the left most AC vent is a nice touch in the Maruti, the Hyundai has more storage. The Grand i10 also has the best boot of the three which is 50-litres more than the Swift and 46-litres bigger than the Bolt.
Performance – All three cars are powered by 1.2-litre petrol engines but the Tata Bolt is the only car here which is turbocharged, resulting in class leading torque output of 140 Nm (the Swift produces 115 Nm while the Grand i10 has 114 Nm of torque). In terms of power too, the Bolt is ahead with 90 PS while the Swift comes second at 84.3 PS and the Grand i10 has 83 PS. Still, the Bolt’s turbocharged engine doesn’t give it the performance one would expect from a force-fed petrol mill. The motor doesn’t rev quickly and redline comes in early at under 6000 RPM. While the high torque does give it good mid-range, the engine is down on hardware as it’s an 8-valve unit compared to the 16-valve motors of the Grand i10 and Swift. The Bolt is also heavier and the engine is made of cast iron while the other two cars have a weight advantage thanks to their all aluminium powertrains.
The Swift is the most fun car to drive here thanks to its rev friendly engine
The Grand i10’s petrol engine has good blend of city and highway performance but if you are looking at a fun petrol engine, the Maruti Swift’s K-Series powertrain excites the most with the best top-end performance here. The Grand i10 has the best gearbox of the three while the Swift is the most frugal petrol car, it is also the fastest car of the trio. Hyundai is the only one offering an automatic gearbox here, with the petrol Grand i10 getting a 4-speed unit. Meanwhile the Bolt is the first car in the segment with multi-drive modes – Eco, City and Sports which alter the performance of the car.
While the Swift and Bolt share the same 1.3-litre diesel engine with the same output (75 PS and 190 Nm), the Grand i10’s 1.1-litre motor is a cylinder down (71 PS and 160 Nm), robbing away performance on the highway compared to its rivals. Hyundai has done a fine job with the NVH levels and the Grand i10 is very silent and smooth with an excellent gearbox and light clutch. Both the Bolt and Grand i10 have very little turbo lag which make them a breeze to drive in the city, while the Swift has a lot of low-end lag but has the best top-end punch, making it a lot of fun on the open road.
The Grand i10 is the most frugal diesel car here while the Swift is yet again the fastest. The Tata Bolt is neither the fastest, nor the most frugal and that’s because of its weight, it is the heaviest car among the three. In fact, the Bolt is so heavy that the petrol model weighs more than the diesel Swift and Grand i10. Tata Motors should consider offering a 90 HP tune of the Quadrajet motor on the Bolt while the addition of an AMT variant would certainly help the company win many buyers in the segment as that could make the Bolt diesel AMT the cheapest diesel automatic car in the country.
Driving Dynamics – Suzuki makes some fun to drive cars and the Swift is a prime example of the same. Neither the Bolt, nor the Grand i10 can match the Swift when it comes to handling, it is the most fun to drive car of the trio. Not only does it have excellent body control, it also has the best steering here with terrific feedback. The only gripe on the Swift are its tyres, while they are wide enough, their quality is very poor so they tend to leave traction quite quickly. Between the Bolt and Grand i10, the Tata offers the better handling and steering feedback than the Hyundai and you can have fun in the Bolt too, although not as much as the Swift.
Where the Swift lacks is on the ride quality front and that’s where the Bolt and Grand i10 are extremely strong. Ride quality is best in the Bolt even though Tata has stiffened the suspension a bit when compared to the Zest. Braking performance on the Grand i10 is strong but the Bolt stops quicker and also has the best tyres here, it’s also the most stable car among the three. The Swift doesn’t have very good brakes and on the lower variants with smaller tyres, stopping performance is quite lacking. So while the Swift has the best handling and the Grand i10 the best ride, the Bolt has the best balance of both.
Safety and After Sales Service – No one can beat Maruti Suzuki when it comes to sales and after sales service while Hyundai comes in second. Tata Motors can’t match the other two companies here although it does have good amount of outlets, the service experience isn’t as good, the company is trying to improve it though. While globally, the Swift has got 5-stars and Grand i10 has got 4 stars, in India the Swift managed only 3 stars and we expect the Grand i10 to fare worse. The Bolt hasn’t been tested by NCAP yet but it’s a solidly build car and also gets ABS as standard on all but the base XE variant. The XMS trim adds dual airbags and that’s not even the top trim while dual airbags are only available on top variants of the Swift and Grand i10.
Verdict – The Swift is a good car, it’s a safe bet and is very proven too. But it’s not practical and is nearing the end of its life cycle, it finishes third in this shootout. The fight to the top is between the Bolt and Grand i10 but let’s understand a few things first. Tata Motors is betting big on the petrol Bolt which comes with the Revotron engine (as evident by the marketing). At the launch of the Bolt, the company revealed their target market, it’s young entrepreneurs who have made a million rupees under the age of 30 years, people who work from a coffee shop and not from an office. What Tata forgets is, these people are very smart and do their research well before buying a car. They all know that the Bolt petrol uses age old tech like 8-valves and heavy cast iron engine which we have praised for the drivability it offers but these young achievers want outright fun, the petrol model doesn’t offer that.
When we first drove the Bolt, we came out thoroughly impressed and we still like the Bolt a lot but rather than doing a Zest, Tata did an Aria with the pricing of the car. You simply can’t charge more for a new product when established models are priced cheaper. The Bolt is priced so high that it costs just Rs. 35,000/- less than the Zest, this anomaly has let to poor demand for the Bolt, few dealers have confirmed to us that while the Zest is doing good as customers perceive it to be an all new product, the Bolt comes across as a rehashed Indica Vista. Buyers choose to opt for the Zest instead and to help dealers push out more volumes of the Bolt, Tata has announced a Rs. 45,000/- exchange discount to dealers. All that considered, the Hyundai Grand i10 offers more bang for the buck along with better quality, service, mileage and features, making it come out on top again.
The Maruti Suzuki Swift is a good car to buy for those who drive alone. The Tata Bolt’s pricing is optimistic which doesn’t give it the bang for the buck expected from the third generation Indica. Meanwhile, the Hyundai Grand i10 is the best all-rounder and is priced very well too.
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Further Reading –
Tata Bolt Review
Tata Bolt Diesel Review
Hyundai Grand i10 Diesel Review
Hyundai Grand i10 Petrol Review
2015 Maruti Swift Review
Tata Bolt vs Maruti Swift
Tata Bolt vs Hyundai Grand i10 vs Maruti Swift – Video
Picture Editing – Sri Manikanta Achanta