2018 Maruti Suzuki Swift Test Drive: All You Need to Know
The all-new 2018 Maruti Suzuki Swift looks a lot like the Dzire upfront, but yet has its visual differences. 
The all-new 2018 Maruti Suzuki Swift looks a lot like the Dzire upfront, but yet has its visual differences. (Photo: The Quint)

2018 Maruti Suzuki Swift Test Drive: All You Need to Know

The 2018 Maruti Suzuki Swift is here, and we were recently invited to Lonavala in Maharashtra to try it out. It has been a much-anticipated car, ever since the new Maruti Dzire was launched last year. Swift has been one of Maruti’s best-selling cars, with over 1.7 million units sold since its launch in 2005.

In India, this is the third-generation Swift, but even though it has changed considerably, it still retains that distinct Swift look and feel. Here is a pictorial first impression on what the Swift is all about. It will be launched officially at Auto Expo 2018 on 7 February.

The front of the car has a wider, smiling face, but retains that Swift familiarity to all. 
The front of the car has a wider, smiling face, but retains that Swift familiarity to all. 
(Photo: The Quint) 
The Swift sports a large single-aperture grille. The lack of chrome is a good thing.
The Swift sports a large single-aperture grille. The lack of chrome is a good thing.
(Photo: The Quint) 

The new Swift is based on the ‘Heartect’ platform, which also underpins the Baleno and Dzire. The use of high-tensile steel in the chassis and lighter panels has resulted in an overall reduction of about 85 kg in weight.

In profile, the floating roof design is quite apparent. Notice the lack of a rear door handle on the shoulder. It’s on the pillar instead. 
In profile, the floating roof design is quite apparent. Notice the lack of a rear door handle on the shoulder. It’s on the pillar instead. 
(Photo: The Quint)

The new Swift is shorter by about 10 mm in length (it’s now 3,840 mm long), but the wheelbase has gone up by 20 mm to 2,450 mm, which has made it more spacious inside. It is 1,530 mm tall — the same as before.

The new shade of blue looks good on the Swift. 
The new shade of blue looks good on the Swift. 
(Photo: The Quint) 

The Swift is now available in six colours — blue, red, orange, white, silver and grey. The blue and orange cars stand out. However, white and silver are likely to have more demand, going by past trends.

The rear of the Swift looks a bit like the earlier BMW 1-Series.
The rear of the Swift looks a bit like the earlier BMW 1-Series.
(Photo: The Quint)

The rear of the Swift now sits wider and squatter. It has strong muscular shoulder lines, flowing on to the tail-lamps. The rear-door handle has been shifted to the pillar to keep the side design clean (giving it a 2-door car impression).

The Swift is now wider by 40 mm, which frees up more shoulder-room inside the car. 
The Swift is now wider by 40 mm, which frees up more shoulder-room inside the car. 
(Photo: The Quint)

The Swift does look wider when viewed from the rear, and it is. It is 40 mm wider (at 1,735 mm) than the earlier model. The wheels look skinny, though they are 185/65 R15 (15-inch) ones.

The two-tone design of the 15-inch alloys on the Z variants (top-end models) of the Swift. 
The two-tone design of the 15-inch alloys on the Z variants (top-end models) of the Swift. 
(Photo: The Quint)

The mid-variant ‘V’ versions and the top-end Z versions will both get 15-inch alloy wheels. The design on the Z-variant is a two-tone one, while the V has a simpler design.

The 15-inch alloys on the mid-variant V variants is a simpler design. 
The 15-inch alloys on the mid-variant V variants is a simpler design. 
(Photo: The Quint)

The suspension set up continues to be slightly stiff, which results in a sporty handling characteristic for the car. Ground clearance has dropped slightly. It’s now at 163 mm.

The Z variants get LED projector headlamps with daytime running lamps.
The Z variants get LED projector headlamps with daytime running lamps.
(Photo: The Quint) 

The top-end variants of the Swift get LED projector headlamps and with daytime running lamps (like the Dzire), while the mid and lower variants get normal halogen headlamps with parabolic reflectors.

The V variants get normal parabolic reflector halogen headlamps and no DRLs. 
The V variants get normal parabolic reflector halogen headlamps and no DRLs. 
(Photo: The Quint)

Light output from the LED units are pretty good, while it’s about average for the halogen units. It is advisable to pick up the Z variants primarily for these brilliant lights.

The V and Z variants get LED tail-lamps. 
The V and Z variants get LED tail-lamps. 
(Photo: The Quint)

The Swift gets LED tail-lamps, which are in a C-shape. The brake lamps, indicators and reverse-lamps are neatly stacked in the centre of the lamp cluster. The tail-lamps bulge out of the rear, giving it a muscular look.

The rear door handle is on the C-pillar, like the Chevrolet Beat and Mahindra KUV100. 
The rear door handle is on the C-pillar, like the Chevrolet Beat and Mahindra KUV100. 
(Photo: The Quint)

The position of the rear door handle has got mixed reactions. It is not that convenient to operate and will take some getting used to. Maruti has placed it here just so that the shoulder line gets a clean and uncluttered look.

The interiors of the Swift look a little more plush now. 
The interiors of the Swift look a little more plush now. 
(Photo: The Quint)

The Swift’s interiors look a little more plush. The all-black theme looks sporty and would be much easier to maintain than the beige on the Dzire. Plastic quality in front is decent, although at the rear it is about average. The flat-bottom steering looks and feels good. The front seats get additional side and shoulder bolstering, making it more comfortable.

The rear seats can now accommodate three passengers more comfortably than before. 
The rear seats can now accommodate three passengers more comfortably than before. 
(Photo: The Quint) 

The subtle aluminium finish on the door pads is only present in the front. The rear gets better headroom and legroom now. The rear seats have a 60:40 split, which allows for better flexibility.

Boot space in the Swift is now 268 litres, an increase of 58 litres over the earlier Swift. 
Boot space in the Swift is now 268 litres, an increase of 58 litres over the earlier Swift. 
(Photo: The Quint)

The use of the new platform has allowed Maruti to free up more boot space in the Swift. It now gets 268 litres of boot space, which is at par for the segment, from being the smallest in the segment earlier. It can easily swallow a few weekend bags. Fit and finish is good in the boot area. Notice the ISOFIX child seat latches behind the seat, which are standard on all variants.

The Swift is quite feature rich. Clockwise from top, it comes with push-button start, automatic headlamps, height adjustable driver’s seat and automatic climate control.  
The Swift is quite feature rich. Clockwise from top, it comes with push-button start, automatic headlamps, height adjustable driver’s seat and automatic climate control.  
(Photo: The Quint)

Maruti has offered a whole host of features with the Swift. The mid and top variants get push-button ignition and automatic climate control. In addition, the top-end gets a height adjustable seat, automatic headlamps and a touch-screen infotainment system with reverse camera and navigation.

The top-end variant features a 7-inch touchscreen and GPS navigation. 
The top-end variant features a 7-inch touchscreen and GPS navigation. 
(Photo: The Quint)
The mid-variant gets a standard bluetooth-enabled audio system. 
The mid-variant gets a standard bluetooth-enabled audio system. 
(Photo: The Quint)
Dual airbags, ABS and ISOFIX child seat points are standard on all variants. 
Dual airbags, ABS and ISOFIX child seat points are standard on all variants. 
(Photo: The Quint)

In addition to dual front airbags, ABS and ISOFIX child seat points on all variants. The Swift also gets pre-tensioned seat belts with load limiting function.

The interiors of the V variant. It gets a regular Bluetooth-enabled audio system with steering audio controls. 
The interiors of the V variant. It gets a regular Bluetooth-enabled audio system with steering audio controls. 
(Photo: The Quint)
The Z variant gets a 7-inch touch-screen system which also features a reverse camera and GPS navigation. 
The Z variant gets a 7-inch touch-screen system which also features a reverse camera and GPS navigation. 
(Photo: The Quint)
The same 1.3 litre multijet diesel and 1.2 litre K-Series petrol engines carry on in the Swift, but with better tuning and fuel-efficiency. Power and torque figures remain the same. 
The same 1.3 litre multijet diesel and 1.2 litre K-Series petrol engines carry on in the Swift, but with better tuning and fuel-efficiency. Power and torque figures remain the same. 
(Photo: The Quint)
The ride and handling has improved in the new Swift, although it is a bit on the stiffer side. 
The ride and handling has improved in the new Swift, although it is a bit on the stiffer side. 
(Photo: The Quint)

Maruti is offering the Swift with the same 1.2-litre K-Series petrol engine and 1.3-litre multijet diesel engine as before. Both these engines come with either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 5-speed automated-manual transmission. We drove the petrol AMT and the diesel manual on our test drive.

Since the Swift is lighter by about 85-100 Kg (depending on variant) compared to the earlier model, it is a lot more nimble. The automatic shift on the petrol is fairly quick and sprightly. The diesel manual is pretty much the same as before in terms of feel.

The steering feels precise and well-weighted, and the stiff suspension allows you to chuck the Swift around corners in a sporty manner. Bite from the brakes are quite sharp. NVH levels have reduced slightly, although you do hear engine noise filter into the cabin as the revs climb.

The Swift is now more fuel efficient — Maruti claims 22 kmpl mileage for the petrol model and 28.4 kmpl for the diesel variant.

The Swift looks sportier and will appeal to many young first-time car buyers. 
The Swift looks sportier and will appeal to many young first-time car buyers. 
(Photo: The Quint)

Overall, the Maruti Swift has always been on the best-selling list for Maruti Suzuki, and we see no reason why it won’t continue to be so. Maruti says it is already seeing bookings for the Swift pouring in, even before the price announcement. It is likely to be priced at about Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 below the Maruti Baleno, variant for variant.

The overall design may not be to everyone’s liking in some areas, but it’s just a minor grouse. One could nitpick about lack of rear-AC vents or thin sheet metal in non-structural areas, but none of these are deal breakers, as the car works as an overall package.

It will appeal to young buyers, some of whom will be buying a car for the first time. The convenience of the AMT and its sprightly performance will be an added draw.

Watch this space for a full video review.

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