With the upcoming emission norms that come into effect in April 2010, Maruti has plonked the 1.2-litre K-series engine into the Swift. The same engine also does duty in the Maruti Ritz which is BS-IV compliant. The 1.2 puts out 84bhp which is about 3bhp less than the outgoing 1.3-litre G13B. However, out on the road, the new engine does an even better job than the old Esteem unit.
Power comes in from lower down in the revrange and the Swift feels sprightly even from as low as 1500rpm. In fact, some back to back testing revealed that the Swift feels quicker initially than even the Ritz. This means driving it in town is far less taxing than the older Swift and you don’t have to change gears as often. The gearshift too feels nicer than before. Tests indicate fuel efficiency is also better than before.
While they were at it, Maruti also decided to tweak the suspension. The Swift now rides better than before with less bumps filtering into the cabin. The steering also feels slightly lighter and it needs less effort to drive. But the Swift is still quite an entertaining drive thanks to the eager engine. With the new 1.2-litre engine and its sub-four metre length, the Swift qualifies for excise duty of eight percent as compared to 20 percent for other cars. But citing increased input costs, Maruti will not be passing on the benefit of the lower excise duty to the customer.