2018 Maruti Suzuki Swift long term review, final report
8th Feb 2019 7:00 am
The Swift already played the role of city commuter well but its practicality was put to the test in its final months in the Autocar India garage.
If you’ve been following the life of HR26DK8337 with us, you’d probably know that it’s the car that spurred me to join a gym to finally go from fat to fit. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as I envisioned – the concept of a calorie deficit seems lost on me – so, ahem, no progress photo to accompany this last report. While I’d rather not talk about my battle of the bulge, I’m more than happy to speak about the Swift.
Since the last report, the Swift has seen more wholesome usage and has played the role of a weekend-getaway car, an airport-run car and even a Mumbai-darshan car. In fact, the rear seats were put to more use in the last two months than the six before. Journalistic curiosity had me work the car into the conversation to get a sense of what my rear passengers felt about it, and the points were quite mixed. Those familiar with the Swifts of old were amazed by the legroom at the back. The latest Swift really feels like a family car, that’s for sure. However, the relatively small rear windows didn’t go down well with the backseat boys and even proved to be a hindrance for my out-of-town friends who were trying to capture the resplendent Victoria Terminus train station on their phones, when on the go. And just about no one new to the Swift could locate the exterior door handle at first. While I didn’t have as much of an issue with the position of the door handle by the window (rather than on the door), I did find the vertical orientation of the handle to be a bit unnatural.
LIGHT ‘EM UP LED: headlights are excellent. Worth extending budget to Z+ for.
The Swift’s boot proved accommodating enough when called into action. However, my strength was put to the test when I had to load the boot with heavy boxes full of magazines. A lower loading lip would have probably helped the longevity of my spine.
Two short, out-of-town excursions gave the Swift an opportunity to stretch its legs and it was a fine accomplice on both outings. But we’ve noted this before and I’ll say it again – on the nice twisty sections, it didn’t feel ‘Swift’ enough. The light steering that’s a boon in town was quite dull in the corners, and that really is a shame. I can only hope Maruti can find a way to bring some life into that steering.
This aside, I’m still a fan of most other aspects of the Swift, particularly the engine and gearbox. Ours was the petrol-manual car, and, right until the very end, I used to smile in satisfaction on seeing other Swifts with a logo indicating they were diesel or AMTs in the knowledge that I was with the right specification. Suzuki’s K12 petrol engine really is the benchmark among the 1.2s, and I’m already missing the instant response to the smallest taps on the throttle. I even loved the fruity note from the exhaust. Light in action, the 5-speed gearbox was great to use too. That it was cheap to run only increased my liking of the engine. In Mumbai’s perennial bumper-to-bumper traffic, the Swift managed 11.3kpl.
PEPPY BOTTOM-END: 1.2 petrol’s low rpm responsiveness is a highlight.
Of the other things, I’ll miss the LED headlights that were so good I’m actually finding it hard to readjust to the halogen units on the other cars I’ve been driving. The LED headlights are offered only on the top-spec Z+ variants, but the illumination is so good, they’re worth stretching your budget for. Also exclusive to Z+ Swifts is Maruti’s SmartPlay touchscreen system. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the unit to be honest. At times when it paired – or rather stayed paired with my phone – I made full use of its Android Auto support. But, more often than not, my phone (OnePlus 5) and the infotainment unit didn’t work in harmony, and it was really frustrating. To compound my phone-related issues, the 12V power socket also packed up soon into the car’s life with us. Nothing else went wrong but the front left indicator’s frantic blinking did suggest it was on its way out.
ROOM WITHOUT A VIEW: Rear windows are small. Housing for exterior door handle to blame.
Things I’d have wanted different on the Swift? A better steering for sure. And a more receptive audio system. Also, while at it, why not bring in the colour multi-info display from the Baleno too? A stronger structure, maybe. I didn’t find the Swift a ‘tin can’ as social media commentators derogatorily call this generation of the car, but I also can’t say I wasn’t disturbed by the video of the Global NCAP crash test that earned the Swift just a 2-star rating. Thankfully, I didn’t have any untoward incident that would require me to the test the efficacy of the safety systems on-board.
TEMPERAMENTAL SCREEN: Infotainment system had persistent connectivity issues.
All said, I really liked the Swift. It was funky to look at, sporty on the inside and added some spice to my boring city commutes. Some things could have been better but it’s a car that frankly does most things well. And, by extension, one I’d recommend without a doubt. Just remember, the petrol-manual is the one to buy.
2018 Maruti Suzuki Swift long term review, second report
2018 Maruti Suzuki Swift long term review, first report