Maruti Suzuki Swift Diesel: Test Drive
While I was at the dealer yesterday to get the new ride serviced (it’s already done 1400 KM under 30 days, which explains a lot why my back was busted the way it was for most of last year. I drive a lot!), I spotted a shiny new Swift in the compound, which had a weird label on it. It was then I realised that it was the new diesel Swift, which Maruti’s been threatening to launch, so I wasted no time and signed up for a test drive and my observations go something like this.
First up, I did not realise that the engine was a CRDI model, with propah DOHC and an intercooler turbo to kick some life out of it in the higher rev ranges. That’s a pretty smart move by Maruti to put a decent heart into the car and it is BS III compliant, which makes it even better. Rest of the car looks pretty much the same, though I had a feeling it had a lower ride height compared to the petrol Swift.
Performance-wise, the engine was very torquey, in fact it had considerably better torque than my petrol ZXI, which revs in a very breezy, free-hearted manner. This one is grunty, pulls well throughout the rev range and is capable enough to drag you out of a spotty situation. The test car was not the top-spec one, so it did not have a lot of the bells and whistles I am used to in the VXI and Maruti really should have used better quality plastic and molding for the interiors, or it should have at least used the plastic it has put in the Estilo.
On the noise-scale, it is quieter (word used in very relative terms) as compared to the Indica, but it is considerably noisier than the petrol version. You can’t feel much in terms of engine vibration, following in the path that the petrol one has taken with pretty decent insulation, though the engine is more than audible inside the car. But at the end of the day, it does feel like a diesel, pretty much in line with the Indicas, which should create a lot of issues for Maruti, because it is not noise that will end up screwing Maruti’s happiness, it is the price point.
The top of the range Diesel is priced pretty much at par with the petrol ZXI (Rs 544000 for the diesel and Rs 550000 for the petrol ZXI on-road in Delhi), which is a lot more than what an Indica costs and would probably get you a nicely-loaded Indigo top-range model. The Swift already has a bit of an image problem with the ‘tame’ crowd who would be eyeing an Indica in the first place and the price just won’t help matters much for Maruti.