Shootout – Maruti DZire vs Chevrolet Sail
The Maruti Suzuki Swift DZire has long enjoyed being at the very top of its segment, with absolutely no competition at all. Many car makers have tried to unsettle the Swift DZire without much success. The Swift platform is a linchpin for Maruti Suzuki and all three cars based on the same platform (Swift, DZire and Ertiga) are massive successes in their respective segments. General Motors is trying to gun down Maruti Suzuki, bringing cars to rival their successful vehicles. We have already put the Chevrolet Sail U-VA against the Maruti Suzuki Swift earlier and this time around, we are putting the Sail notchback against the Swift DZire to see which emerges on top.
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Styling – The Maruti Swift is among the good looking hatchbacks in our country, sadly though, its sedan version is quite the opposite. The Maruti DZire does look good when viewed head on but it ends up looking quite odd from certain angles. In order to make the vehicle sub 4-metre in length, the company has compromised heavily on the rear end styling. The boot feels abrupt and out of place. Meanwhile on the Chevrolet Sail notchback, the boot is very well integrated and doesn’t feel like an after thought. The Chevrolet Sail doesn’t look impressive when viewed from the front and the styling does remind one of the Aveo. The Sail is also a proper sedan while the DZire being a compact sedan, looks like one. However the bigger wheels on the DZire fill the wheel arches well while the Sail does carry smaller wheels. Neither vehicle will win styling contests but the Chevrolet Sail manages to look slightly more soothing to the eye.
Interiors – Step inside and the dashboard of both vehicles are a world apart. While the Maruti DZire has a very modern cabin with good quality materials, the Chevrolet Sail has dated interiors where cost cutting is immediately apparent. Quality of the Sail’s cabin is not a match for the DZire’s which feels good to touch and look at. The seats in the DZire are also more comfortable offering excellent back support. The all brown theme of the Chevrolet Sail is quite boring and GM could have played with colors to spruce things up. The Maruti DZire has two tone interiors with a combination of beige and black used throughout. There are silver accents on the AC vents and steering wheel which has been neatly executed.
While the Maruti DZire gets an analogue tachometer, the Chevrolet Sail gets a digital one, which takes time getting used to. The instrument cluster of the DZire is easily the better designed of the two vehicles, with everything really clear to read and understand. The Maruti DZire also trumps the Chevrolet Sail royally when it comes to equipment levels. The Sail lacks steering mounted audio controls, multi-information display and climate control, which are all present on the Swift DZire. However, the Chevrolet Sail does get Bluetooth audio connectivity which is missing on the Maruti DZire. The side placed horn buttons and centrally placed power window switches are not really welcome on the Sail. The DZire also features a better air-conditioner which works better than the Sail in cooling the cabin quickly.
Till now the Chevrolet Sail seems to be losing out to the Maruti DZire when it comes to the interiors. However the Sail offers excellent rear seat legroom which is much better than that of the DZire. Both cars have slightly more reclined rear seats over their hatchback alternatives. The Sail has acres of room at the back and the fuel tank is placed below the front seats which is a good foot rest for rear occupants. Both cars have good headroom and decent under thigh support, but if you are going to sit in the back seat, the Sail is the more comfortable vehicle of the two. The Sail also offers a bigger boot, which at 370-litres trumps the DZire’s rather small 316-litres boot.
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Performance – Both cars are powered by very similar engines, mated to 5-speed transmissions (the DZire is offered with a 4-speed automatic as well). In terms of petrol, the Maruti DZire uses a 1.2-litre K-Series motor which produces 86 BHP of power and 114 Nm torque. The Chevrolet Sail too uses a 1.2-litre engine which belts out a power output of 85 BHP and torque output of 113 Nm. The engine specs might be very similar but the Chevrolet Sail does weigh around 90 kgs more than the Maruti DZire. The DZire’s mill is much more refined too and the K-Series motor is a gem, offering excellent performance. The Sail on the other hand can’t match up to the DZire with the engine not as smooth or free-revving. Not only is the DZire quicker, it is also more at home in the city as well as the highways. The DZire’s clutch is well weighed but the Sail’s clutch bites back too quickly and one is bound to stall the vehicle a few times before getting the hang of it. The DZire outdoes the Sail even in the gear shift department, with GM’s gearbox having a very rubbery feel to it. Maruti Suzuki’s VTT powertrain has quite an edge over GM’s Smartech motor.
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Coming to the diesel engines, both cars use the highly acclaimed 1.3-litre, Fiat Multijet diesel engine, which is tuned very differently in both the cars. The Maruti Swift DZire outputs 75 BHP and 190 Nm, while the Chevrolet Sail belts out 77 BHP and 205 Nm. Both cars have fixed geometry turbocharges and the turbo kicks in earlier in the Sail and the power delivery is more linear too. GM engineers have tweaked the motor very well and the Sail offers good mid-range punch even though it weighs 45 kgs more. The top end on the DZire is better though and the Sail does tend to loose steam once it crosses 3500 RPM. Turbolag is less obvious in the Sail and the short throw gearbox feels better than that on the DZire. The clutch in the DZire is slightly lighter making driving effortless. The Maruti DZire is marginally more fuel efficient than the Sail but not by a considerable amount. Both cars should return around 12 km/l (petrol) and 16 km/l (diesel) in mixed driving conditions.
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Driving Dynamics – The driving characteristics of both these cars are quite different too. The Maruti Swift DZire boasts of an excellent ride and handling balance. The DZire feels the more involving car of the two, with handling and straight line stability being much better than the Chevy Sail. While the DZire’s steering wheel is extremely light, it weighs up decently at high speeds. The Sail’s steering wheel feels disconnected and doesn’t offer much feedback either. The DZire boasts of a smaller turning radius making it easier to manoeuvre in crowded city conditions. However the Chevrolet Sail blows away the Maruti DZire when it comes to ride quality. The Sail rides extremely well gobbling up potholes with such finesse, the Dzire is just no match for. There is little to choose between both cars when it comes to braking performance as both offer equally good stopping power.
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Verdict – So the crucial question is, which is a better car overall? It is undoubtedly the Maruti Suzuki Swift DZire. While the DZire does have a few shortcomings, it is a more rounded package, offering quality interiors, good handling, excellent performance and more features. Maruti Suzuki offers 7 variants of the DZire, priced between Rs. 5.94 – 9.03 lakhs, while GM offers 8 variants of the Chevrolet Sail, priced between Rs. 5.95 – 9.09 lakhs (all prices on-road, Mumbai). The Maruti DZire does get the sub 4-metre benefit which helps it to undercut the Chevrolet Sail, while offering more equipment. However GM’s 3-year ‘Zero Maintenance’ service package ensures complete peace of mind. Simply put if you choose to drive, the Maruti DZire is the car to have. However if practicality is your major concern and you occupy the rear seat frequently and use the boot often, the Chevrolet Sail is the vehicle to consider.