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Maruti Swift Dzire DDiS (Old)

28th Aug 2009 7:00 am

There are many ways to consider the Dzire

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  • Make : Maruti Suzuki
  • Model : Swift Dzire

The Dzire and Swift hatchback are identical upto the B-pillar. The only difference is the grille — the saloon gets two prominent chrome strips to differentiate it from its older and smaller cousin. However, there’s an awkwardness about the styling behind the B-pillar which suggests the saloon derivative was an afterthought, conceived after the hatchback was born. (In fact, it was.

The Dzire or three-box Swift is unique to India with no plans to make it anywhere else in the world.) The rear section looks disproportionately stretched, thanks mainly to the large rear doors and the sharply raked C-pillar which is at odds with the less angular A-pillar. While the peeled-back lights at the rear, another Swift styling cue, look good, the stubby boot with its ‘bustleback’ shape and complex rear-door shut lines simply add to the fussy styling. The chrome strip above the numberplate comes to the rescue and the reflectors and stop lamp integrated into the rear bumper make the rear look less heavy. The wheelbase remains unchanged but the overall length has increased considerably to 4160mm. Maruti must be kicking itself for not doing an ‘Indigo CS’ or restricting the length to 4 metres to qualify as a small car, which would bring a huge excise duty saving of 12 per cent.

Mechanically, the Swift hatch and Dzire are identical. The suspension, brakes, wheels and tyres are all shared; the only difference is that the spring rates are slightly stiffer at the rear to compensate for the additional 25kg increase in weight. 

Like the Swift before it, the Dzire has a lot of firsts to its credit, like offering an integrated audio system with steering-mounted controls and a climate control system. There are lots of subtle changes to the interiors of the Dzire — the dials are chrome-ringed and the digits are white-backlit, which looks very cool and classy. It also scores an unexpected victory with dashboard plastics, the best in this group.  The switchgear also feels the best to use. However, this has more to do with the competition being below par.

We’ve always complained about the claustrophobic feel of the Swift’s all-black interiors, so now the seats on the ZDi are beige and this brightens things up  considerably. The front seats are very comfortable — there’s plenty of headroom and legroom and even six-footers won’t have a problem. The driver’s seat adjusts for height and the steering wheel adjusts for rake, making it easy to find a very comfortable driving position, whatever seat height you prefer. 

However, there’s no real improvement in rear seat space. The wheelbase is the same as the Swift, so legroom and headroom remain the same, so do the small windows, unfortunately. The rear seat has different contours and the back rest is slightly more reclined for greater headroom, so comfort is slightly improved. Only shoulder support is lacking on a seat that otherwise impresses. The ZDi version comes with a centre armrest (another first in the segment) and full-size bottle-holders in the rear doorpads. Still the Dzire’s greatest weakness is its narrow rear seat, the least comfortable for seating three abreast.

The Dzire’s rides really well. The softer rear suspension is an indication that Maruti is targeting chauffeur-driven owners. At lower speeds, it rides quite well. There’s a nice rounded edge to the way it rides over lumpy tarmac and bumps are dispatched with relative ease under its tall 70-profile tyres. The flipside is that the ride isn’t as settled or composed as that of the Logan as speeds build.
Maruti has stiffened the front suspension of the diesel Swift to compensate for the extra weight of the heavier engine ahead. So, pitching over rough surfaces is limited and there’s none of that nose-heavy feel that is characteristic of a lot of diesels. 

The compromise however is in the way the Dzire handles. It doesn’t feel as sharp as the Swift hatchback, the soft rear suspension making it feel a little loose and floaty, especially when changing direction. At higher speeds, it doesn’t feel plantedand crosswinds affect its stability. Thankfully, some good aspects remain — the brilliant steering, the progressive brakes and the good weight distribution means you can still have some fun behind the wheel.

Maruti Swift Dzire DDiS (Old)
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