I’ve joined a gym for the very first time in my life. And, no exaggeration, I have the new Swift to thank for this. You see, I’ve been quite taken by the new car’s performance. Ours is a petrol-manual car, the best of the Swifts in my opinion, and I just love how ready and responsive it feels, especially in town. It feels considerably more alive than the old Swift of the same spec, and that’s really what got me thinking. Given that Gen II and Gen III Swifts use the same engine and gearbox, the difference has got to be down purely to weight. This petrol-manual car weighs 110kg less than its predecessor. Or as my gym trainer would say has 11.1 percent less body fat.
The gym is just 5km from office but the journey there can take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes, depending on what time I leave work.
LIGHT STUFF: LED headlights offer superb illumination.
On good days, it’s the engine and gearbox that make the journey enjoyable. The engine feels peppy, the gearbox with its short throws is sporty, and there’s some cheeky fun to be had closing gaps in traffic. The throaty note from the engine is satisfying too. On bad days though, it’s the infotainment system that makes the bumper-to-bumper journey tolerable. Maruti’s SmartPlay touchscreen system is decent, but, you know what, I rarely ever actually touch the screen.
For me, it’s the hands-free comfort of Android Auto all the way. Saying “Ok Google” gets the system’s attention, and then on, it’s voice commands (when Vodafone’s network obliges with genuine 4G, that is) for phone, audio and navigation functions. It does the making calls, playing music and finding locations bits really well, but whenever I’ve used it to voice replies to WhatsApp messages (yup, it does that too), I’ve found the system to trip on long messages. Keeping replies short is the best approach, though you do run the risk of coming across as curt on your texts then.
VOICE ACTIVATION: Android Auto allows hands-free inputs.
The Swift’s climate control system also gets a fair bit of attention on the go; not because it’s not cooling well enough, but because it cools a bit too well. It almost always feels cooler in the cabin than the temperature on the climate control display, so soon after I get going, I have to dial up the temperature. Muscle memory, thankfully, has got me reaching out for the right dial, at least. Early into my tenure with the car, I’d inadvertently adjust the centre knob that with its cool LED readout would have you think it’s the temperature adjust. It’s not. The actual controller sits just beside. Of the other things, I do wish Maruti Suzuki had incorporated the last-gen Swift’s pop-out passenger-side cupholder in the new car. Its position right in front of the air-con vent would have helped keep my water bottle cool for gym.
The less said about my actual workout and physical state at the gym, the better. All I’ll say is working out really takes the wind out of me. So after a session of lifting weights and battling the battle ropes, all I want is an easy drive home. And that’s when I really appreciate the Swift as my ‘gym buddy’. The light steering comes handy when snaking my way out of the multi-level parking, and the light clutch doesn’t traumatise my fresh-from-gym left leg any further. And double thumbs up for the car’s LED headlights; they illuminate Mumbai’s perennially-under-repair roads superbly.
LOOK DON’T TOUCH: Centre dial only a screen, and not an adjust.
I’m also happy to report, the Swift has been light (that’s the buzzword!) on my wallet too. The car has been averaging over 12kpl in town, which is a boon in these days of record-high fuel prices.
I’ve not had any use for the boot as yet, and I’ve only had rear seat passengers on few occasions. Feedback on the rear seat and space has been positive, but, interestingly, not one person managed to locate the outside rear door handle aft the rear window, without being guided to it.
OUT OF SIGHT: Few people manage to find the rear door handle.
In all, it’s been smooth sailing with the Swift so far. I do have plans for a road trip to Goa and I’m keen to see if the Swift is exciting enough on the ghat roads to get my pulse racing. For the time being, in the confines of Mumbai, it’s the treadmill at the gym that’s doing that for me.