The 2021 Maruti Suzuki Swift gets a more powerful and refined engine, but is this upgrade enough for it to reclaim the crown?
We find out…
Ever since Maruti Suzuki launched the Swift in 2005, it broke the hatchback segment’s utilitarian image and also added a sporty flair that this class seriously lacked. Since then Swift has managed to rule the roost being one driver-oriented car that boasts a youthful design. Not sitting on their past laurels, India’s most successful automobile manufacturer has given the third-generation Swift a minor facelift. Is the 2021 Swift all about a nip-and-tuck job or is there a lot more to it than?
We will get into the design and cabin tweaks a bit later as the biggest update the Swift has received is a new more powerful petrol engine. In terms of capacity, the new powertrain remains 1.2-litre, but the new Dualjet motor gets two injectors in each cylinder instead of one. Due to this, the new 1.2-litre engine churns out 89bhp, roughly 6bhp more than the older one. This is the same engine that also powers the Dzire. On paper, the torque output remains the same at 113Nm, but it’s much better distributed resulting in improved and balanced response.
Step on the pedal and it accelerates smoothly. Two things that you’ll straightway notice is the lack of mechanical vibrations from the engine and more importantly, Maruti has negated the turbo lag ensuring that the power delivery is effortless. This makes the driving experience enjoyable. The Swift doesn’t fire up the afterburners from the word go, but the low-end torque offers a linear hassle-free pickup. Things start getting more interesting in the mid-range power band where the power surge can be felt from around 4,000rpm and it easily goes beyond the 6,000rpm mark. In terms of refinement, even when the powertrain is pushed, it remains and feels stress-free.
Another new addition to the Swift is the start/stop system, which shuts off the engine if it’s idling for a long span. This helps in improving the fuel economy and Maruti Suzuki claims that the Swift manual returns a mileage of 23.30kmpl while 23.76kmpl in the AMT (automatic) trim, increasing the figures by 2kmpl.
The Swift continues to be mated with a 5-speed manual transmission and 5-speed AMT. We drove the former trim and the gear stick slots in easily. The steering wheel, on the other hand, feels a bit too light and lacks the feedback one would have liked. Practically speaking, the featherweight steering does make it easy to drive in the city or park the car in tight spots, but it doesn’t compliment Swift’s handling prowess. The hatchback tames sharp corners like a hot knife through butter while remaining planted to the tarmac. The Heartect platform makes the hatch light and agile and continues to offer a go-kart-like experience.
The ride quality is slightly on the firm side though it manages to insulate its occupants from bumps and undulations on the road. But it’s best to slow down once it encounters potholes.
Exterior and cabin tweaks
From the outside, the Swift remains more or less the same apart from the new honeycomb or mesh front grille with a smart looking chrome strip running across it before the Suzuki logo. Apart from that, the 2021 Swift now gets three dual-tone colour options — white with black roof, red with black roof and blue with white roof.
The cabin, on the other hand, does come with some new upgrades and the first thing that will catch your attention is the new 7-inch touchscreen or as Maruti calls it SmartPlay Studio. With colours like orange, blue, green and yellow on the display, it’s brighter than the previous version and easier to read. The touchscreen is responsive and it supports Apple CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto. Moving on the instrument cluster, Swift gets a new colour multi-information display (MID) placed between the speedometer and the rev meter. The MID was initially launched in Maruti’s Nexa range. Then there’s great news for those who drive long distance, especially on highways regularly. The Swift now comes with Cruise Control and keeping convenience in mind, it also comes with automatic folding outside rearview mirrors.
The Swift isn’t the biggest hatchback in its segment; therefore, this translates into limited space for the rear passengers. Compared to its competition, Swift’s cabin plastic quality is fairly average and it also lacks some features like a wireless phone charger or connected technology. Even though it may be showing its age, the car is fully loaded with safety features like twin airbags, reverse parking sensors, Anti-Lock Braking System and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution with brake assist and Electronic Stability Program with Hill Hold Assist, which is standard in AGS or AMT variants.
The Swift, no doubt, remains very popular among young buyers and continues to offer a fun driving experience. It comes with basic features, but the ace in the pack for the Swift is its new 1.2-litre engine, which offers more power and better fuel economy. But priced from Rs 5.73 lakh to Rs 8.41 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi, the Swift is expensive when compared to its competition, especially when others are offering top-end diesel trims at the same price. Of course, one can’t deny that it’s still backed by the country’s most comprehensive service network.