There are some vehicle-segments that are born because of the market needs – like the premium hatchback segment for example, which came into being because the cosmopolitan crowd wanted more space and creature comforts from a hatchback while maintaining the convenience of a small car. Then there are some segments that spawn because the economy and the stringent rules demand it – like the compact SUVs which are now coming into the forefront for their ability to give their owners a commanding driving position while returning the fuel economy of an economical sedan.Also Read - Shiddat Movie Review: Kabir Singh But More Sympathetic!
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However, now there is a new segment that has taken birth – that of the compact sedan – thanks to the Government’s tax rebate that is given to cars that are less than four meters in length. Until recently, it was only the hatchbacks that largely took advantage of this law. But the bright engineers at Tata managed to make the Indigo CS (now eCS), that was not only less than four meters in length, but also managed to pass on the cost advantage to the consumers to become of the cheapest sedans that you could buy in the country. Also Read - Bhoot Police Movie Review: No Horror, Less Comedy, More Boredom!
Now, Maruti Suzuki has gone the same way and the car that’s got an axe on the boot is the highly popular, Swift Dzire. We got behind the wheel of the 2012 Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire in its new avatar to see if the chop job has worked well. More importantly, since it’s based on the new Swift, we even wanted to find out how well it handles – for the last Dzire made me throw up when it ferried me from the airport to an event on the top of a hill. Read on to know what we feel about the new Swift Dzire.
At first glance, the new Swift Dzire looks very appealing – thanks to the smart front end that it borrows largely from the new Swift. I say largely, because Maruti Suzuki has given the front end some distinguishing factors. While the headlights and fog lights come from the new Swift, the grille gets a prominent re-design, trading in the honeycomb mesh for two rows of vertical slats. The front bumper differentiates itself from the Swift’s, with a flared crease running around the fog-lamps. The fog-lamp shrouds are smaller on the Dzire, making the bumper look bigger and more muscular than that of the Swift. Overall, this design makes the front end of the new Dzire look smarter and more up-to-date than the older Swift Dzire.
At the back, the taillights too are a big departure not only from the earlier Dzire’s design, but also from the design philosophy of the new Swift. Let me make it simpler. The old Dzire’s taillights looked out of place and overdone since their overall shape was too similar to the headlights. On this Dzire though, the taillights look great with their compact design and look distinctive as compared to the new Swift. In fact, the exclusion of a radical, overtly swept-back styling design makes the taillights look classy, instead of sporty.
The top end model retains a chrome appliqué on the boot lid to add further premium character to the car. Unlike the artistic, shapely chrome appliqués on the Toyota Etios, Mahindra Logan or even the old Dzire for that matter, this one has a simple design.
The lower bumper has rather drab design with no creases like its frontal counterpart. The only saving grace is the trademark, centrally mounted fog-light. A blacked-out lower section could have given the rear bumper a better look overall.
The side view of the new Swift Dzire is the bad angle though. One glance at it and you know it looks imbalanced. On one end you have the long, curvaceous bonnet and on the other end you have the stubby boot which sticks out like the tail of a Doberman. Maruti Suzuki has gotten rid of the ‘Bangle-butt’ and in turn, have given the boot lid a protrusion that appears like a lip-spoiler. In short, the side profile tries hard to look like an arrowhead, but a blunt one at that. The doors too tend to look imbalanced since the front one looks too wide as compared to the rear one. The receding -roofline further highlights this fact. Speaking of the roofline, the blacked out A and B pillars retain the ‘floating roof’ appearance on the car’s side profile.
Overall, the design of the new Dzire makes it look more of notchback than a regular three-box sedan. But the design is not an eye-sore as long as you don’t view it plainly from the side profile. The reduced boot has brought the Dzire’s length down to 3995mm as compared to the earlier model’s 4160mm.
User Experience Review
The reduced length has taken its imminent toll on the boot space. Even with the seats up though, there is enough room to stash away a couple of travel suitcases or a couple of month’s worth of groceries. If you need more space than that, then the rear seats can be collapsed. Speaking of seats, the new Dzire provides better leg room and knee room at the back as compared to the earlier Swift Dzire. Since it’s based on the new Swift, the 2012 Dzire inherently gets bigger cabin space. However, the engineers at Maruti have also given knee-recesses on the front seat to provide better knee room to the rear bench occupants.
The front seats have more premium fabrics as compared to the earlier Swift Dzire and get a beige colour treatment. The driver’s seat is adjustable for reach, height and angle of backrest and should be helpful for shorter drivers as the new Swift Dzire has its fair share of blind spots like the Swift hatchback. The seats themselves are redesigned for better comfort as compared to the predecessor.
The beige treatment is not restricted to the seats alone and flows into the door pads and the lower-half of the dashboard as well. The upper half is finished in jet black to give the Swift Dzire’s interiors a two-tone treatment. But while cars like the Skoda Rapid and the Volkswagen Vento pull off the black-and-beige combo quite well, the Dezire interior’s feels a tad gaudy and plasticy. Save for the colour, these interiors are the same ones that you get inside the new Swift. Thanks to the inclusion of the large displays (on the top end model) and the fake-wooden garnish, the interiors look more up-market as compared to its predecessor’s.
The top of the line ZXi / ZDi variants get climate control and an integrated audio system (and these two features are the ones who get their respective displays). The VXi / VDi variant too gets an audio system but misses out on the classy LCD panel. The gear shifter too gets the beige treatment, whereas the steering wheel has a dual-tone combination. The top end variants get steering mounted controls for the audio system. Unfortunately, there is no phone pairing even in the Swift Dzire. The steering is connected to an electric motor (EPS) and feels slightly stiffer than the old Dzire. Its light enough for city commutes nevertheless and feels more direct than in the earlier car.
Under the hood of the new Swift DZire, you have the same engines that power the current Swift hatchback. Therefore the petrol option comes in the form of the 1.2-litre K-series engine that puts out 87 PS of power an 114 Nm of torque. The diesel variants get the 1.3-litre Fiat Multijet engine, which produces 75 PS of power and 190 Nm of torque. The car you see in the pictures is the top-of-the-line diesel variant, the ZDi. The engine feels breathless under 1,800 RPM, but over that mark the punch is as good as the Swift, thanks to the turbocharger.
The new DZire has a softer suspension setup as compared to the new Swift – which is understood since this sedan will bought for comfort and luxury than sporty handling. So what you get is a smooth ride over bumps and potholes with the trade-off being a generous amount of body roll around corners and bends. The earlier Swift DZire was known to emit a lot of shrieks and thuds after the car had gotten old – so it will be interesting to see how the new one fares now that the quality of plastics has gone up too.
With a price-tag starting at Rs 4.79-lakh for the base LXi variant and going all the way up to Rs 7.09-lakh for the top of the line ZDi variant (at the time of writing this review) Maruti Suzuki has passed on the tax benefit to the customer. Every variant of the new DZire is cheaper by almost Rs 15,000 as compared to its respective counterpart in the older DZire line-up.
So if you think about it, Maruti Suzuki has not only passed on the cost benefit to the customer, they have also given a better feature list to the DZire line-up as compared to the earlier model. With such a competitive pricing, the new DZire will not only ensure more bucket-loads of cash in-flow for the carmaker, it will also means more sleepless nights for its competitors like the Toyota Etios, Mahindra Verito and the Tata Indigo CS – the car that kick started the compact-sedan revolution!