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Maruti Suzuki Swift 2011 test drive

Way back in 2005, I as a scrawny youngster, fresh out of college, joined Maruti Suzuki India Limited as their salesman. Back then all the cars were familiar to me as I had been seeing most of Maruti’s ageing lineup since the time I was born. But then the novelty of the thing hit me when I saw the Maruti Suzuki Swift in the very showroom where I was working. My first reaction was that it was a BMW Mini but then on second thoughts it struck me that it is only the design. The interiors also reeked of a freshness which was devoid even in the top of the line Baleno. But then, as luck would have it, I wasn’t assigned to the Swift team since there already was a waiting list for that vehicle and there was no need to push the sales for it. Cut to the present, I have the Maruti Suzuki Swift 2011 with me on a test drive almost 6 years after the original one was launched in India. We all knew that it was in the offing but then so long wasn’t predicted. Nevertheless, Maruti Suzuki India Limited have been kind enough to get us a sneak preview of the new Maruti Suzuki Swift 2011 model before its official launch in India.

Visually it isn’t much of a difference between the two but then headson, one can see the clear lens head lamps with their unique peeled back design. The snout of the car has grown a bit. By the way, Maruti or rather Suzuki have elongated the chassis to take care of the less interior space issue, but then more on it later. The grille as well as bumper ‘s however remain the same. It‘s good that Maruti have stuck to the adage “If it ain’t broken, then why fix it”. The appeal for the Swift was always its good looks and the Maruti Suzuki Swift 2011 model tries to stick to that formula with success.

The blackened A-pillar and the now more bulging wheel arches amplify the style statement. Though the car that I had with me for test came shod with 16 inch alloys, I am being told that this may change by May 2011 when the car would finally be launched. The most likely configuration would be 15 inch tyres as seen on the current top end version of the 2010 Maruti Suzuki Swift. I would have liked a Chevrolet Beat like hidden rear door handles on the new Swift but then that isn’t so. From the side profile, the new Swift somehow reminds me of the Hyundai i20 and the Nissan Micra. I think it is the boot shadow which makes me think of this. It is slightly bulging as opposed to the flat one on the 2010 Maruti Swift. The tail lamps are clear lens unit stretch along the length of the car. The major complaint amongst the Swift owners that it didn’t have a rear wiper has now been addressed to in the 2011 model.

The Maruti Suzuki Swift started the quality revolution in the Maruti stables. The Maruti Suzuki Swift 2011 promises to take it to an all new level. Starting with the steering wheel, it is a slightly bigger unit than the old one and gets the much desired steering mounted controls as well as cruise control. I think I forgot to mention that it also has Bluetooth connectivity. The meter dials have been changed and the needles now exude the feel of the Honda City. Like the Polo, there is a new multi information display in the center flanked by two big circles which in turn are flanked by smaller ones at the extreme for displaying the fuel gauge and temperature parameters. The new Swift also gets a dead pedal. The ORVMs are now electrically adjustable. The one touch anti-pinch power windows are also a new addition. The dashboard as a whole has become more useful with its various cubby holes. Lots of Kizashi influence can be seen on this new car and it is a big thing considering that the Kizashi is available at approximately three times the cost of the Swift. The gear lever is something which has been carried forward from the old Swift. Build quality has improved to a certain extent but not much as I had expected. The Germans still make one of the best cabins around. Moreover, it is likely that Maruti would carry over the same black theme even for the new Swift. They had previously burnt their fingers with the Swift Glam edition which had an all beige interiors.

Front seats were excellent by any proportion for the older Swift but now they can accommodate even 6 foot plus individuals. I remember how I was ridiculed in Maruti 6 years back when I was trying to demonstrate to a customer about the internal boot release mechanism and had to clamber inside the car (without success). The back seats in the old Swift were the points of criticism for Maruti detractors. The wheelbase has been increased by 50mm and now the rear seat is a bit more bearable than the older one. Though my knees still banged against the front seats, they weren’t so forceful as to hurt the backsides of the front passenger. Maruti could do well to have some arrangement like scoops at the back of the front seats, like in the Alto K10, which would liberate more legroom. Head room was also just about sufficient and were it not for the hard gell that I had used for my hair that day, it would have been messed up. The rear bench now stands better inclined. It has got better underseat support and also the right foaming materials. Boot space issue hasn’t been addressed and if boot space is what stands as your priority, the go buy an Indica Vista or the Etios Liva. Boot space is just 204 liters.

Ohh, I forgot to tell you the novelty part of it. Maruti is mulling over to bring in keyless stop start atleast for the top variants. This is keeping in mind that the only other car in this segment which offers this is the Nissan Micra. The car I drove had this mechanism.

Handling was always the forte of the old Swift and the new one doesn’t disappoint either. The steering wheel now gets a new variable ratio as well as low play joints. It is direct like the older unit but a bit more taut now. But then once I turned in the steering, it felt dead for a moment and then regained its composure. Should be fine with the earlier Swift users but for new customers, it might take some time to get used to. The longer wheelbase doesn’t play around with the handling characteristics of the Maruti Suzuki Swift 2011 and this means that the car still handles like a dream. The 16 inch tyres that the test car had didn’t hamper its handling a bit. The chassis has been made more rigid now thanks to the use of high tensile steel in its construction. The suspension is still the old one and it means MacPherson struts in the front with torsion beam at the rear. The latter one is now lighter due to a better design and at the same time provides for a better roll stiffness.The torsion beam bushings also have 50% more lateral rigidity. I am not surr of the final tyre specifications of the Swift which would be launched in India but then 16 inchers are a visual treat as well as provide for better handling.

Ride quality which was somewhat compromised in the earlier versions has now been addressed. Infact, I can go as far as to say that it makes for a nice compromise between ride and handling. When you want good ride quality, it wouldn’t disappoint you and when you are in the mood to been a hooligan, it wouldn’t say no either. Though I couldn’t test it on the offbeat track, due to time limitations, its superlative ride quality to the earlier one left me impressed. NVH was something which is also down by a certain degree than the older car. This is because of the use of more sound deadening materials under the hood.

Engines would be carried over unchanged from the 2010 version. This means the choice of a 1.2 liter K series engine making 85 Bhp of power and peak torque of 113 Nm. The diesel engine would be the famed multijet from Fiat which is a 1.3 unit making 75 Bhp of peak power and 190 Nm of torque. Both the engines are mated to a 5 speed manual transmission which is one of the best units to be found in a small car. This time around, the car that I got was the diesel version unlike the 2010 Swift petrol that I had reviewed not long back. Needless to say, the car was sprightly to drive and with the free revving multijet diesel it was a hoot to drive around. Somehow the peak torque ratings would be altered for a bit more pizzazz before the car is launched. This is what a Maruti insider told me. Expect 1 or at the most 2 seconds to be shaved off the current timings of the old car. This in lieu of the weight chopping been done around. Fuel efficiency would also be stellar than the current one. Braking is the usual discs at front and drums at the rear with ABS and EBD thrown in. Unlike the earlier Swifts where the ABS was poorly calibrated, this one had good tinkering with ABS and this ensured safe braking distances. Safety is handled by the rigid chassis, 2 air bags, 3 point ELR seat belts with pretensioners and the side intrusion beams.

Another Swift gremlin namely the presence of squeaks and rattles has been eliminated to some extent. It didn’t seem like any plastic would fall off soon or over the years. Everything seems to be pretty well screwed up together. The earlier Swifts also had a problem of the boot rattling while going over bumps but not this one. I do hope that this sense of quality persists over the years. As of now, Maruti Suzuki India limited are tight lipped about the launch but then the insider pointed out that it would be near about May 2011, when the first car was launched 6 years ago. The Maruti Suzuki Swift 2011 price in India is expected to start from Rs 4.30 lakhs and would end at Rs 5.75 lakhs. All these are speculated price point considering Maruti’s earlier price offerings for a new car (forget the Kizashi and the Baleno).

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123 Responses

  1. The wait for the change has been too long is what I felt from what was written by you please. Any info on the fuel efficiency part please

  2. Hi Lijo,
    Many thanks for the detailed description.So hopefully by May we will be able to get the rocking new model rt? I have booked for one(VDi) by 1st week of Jan 2011 and waiting for delivery by March 1st week. I decided to wait couple of months so as to own the new hero. Please tell me in which city you have taken test drive(hope you were talking abt Indian Swift). Fuel efficiency will also be around 20?(new swift should provide that).

    Many Thanks…


  3. Hi All,

    Since Lijo had mentioned the same engine is carried over in swift 2011 also, it is expected to be the same fuel efficiency that is in giving current swift version.

    • yes and also it will be available in december 2011

    • you tricky fellow’s how long to wait for your NEW swift. in todays world customer is KING, dont make your brand vanish, think of the cars which have lost the market like 118 Premier, Fiat- remember in swift there is no leg room

  4. the new model is rocking i have booked the vxi 1st week of jan and waiting for the delivery by march
    which month of 2011 the car was in the city please launch the car i was still waiting as soon as

  5. Hey Lijo,
    Thanks a lot for the first hand drive report on the Indian production version 2011 Swift. I am looking forward to this car, and could very well buy one when launched. I wish:

    1> They retain the all black interior theme, and not throw some hideous beige interior (for the pseudo upmarket look, which Indians prefer a lot)
    2> Engine start/ stop option for the ZXI/ ZDI.


  6. When can we book the new swift zxi??? and can you please specify the on – road price in chandigarh

  7. i am really waiting for a new maruti . maxmium price of average for a middle r small family from indian maruti suzuki i want test ride with my new swift vdi version i will wait for ur reply 9010000942 AP WARANGAL

  8. I STRONGLY feel that Maruti Suzuki will not be launching this car before next year i.e. 2012. Maruti Suzuki has always been a laggard in bringing Suzuki’s latest models that it sells across the world. This is Suzuki’s way of treating us Indians as Third World country. They keep selling us older models while the world enjoys upgraded versions of their cars. Take the example of 800 – this model was discontinued long back in the international market, replaced by Alto. Now the surprising thing is our Indian Alto is not the internaltional Alto but it is the A Star that is called the Alto. So traditionally MSIL has been cheating the Indian customers for so many years, but can’t blame them as it was a state of monopoly. Times have changed since. And even if MSIL doesn’t learn anything, God and Congress save it…..

  9. when the new swift 2011 launch?pls tell me. i was already bookd it in jan-11 but dont know when it will be i drive?so u give me a launch month/date?

    • The best estimate that we can give you is by May or June 2011 however the final date of the Swift’s launch is yet to be confirmed by Maruti.

      • lijo since ur the tech guru here are you guessing or sure that swift will have a zdi version ? with auto ac/ elec mirror, start stop, multi information display , airbag , ebd , abs blah blah blah ?
        coz all the pics of the swift 2011 on net are of the european model which have these and like sankalp says its not necessary the same features come in the indian model as well

  10. @Lijo – from some of the internet pages , I could get info that , the new model will be launched by June 2011. Any updates plz?

    • Estimates and speculations say that the new Swift would be launched at around May-June 2011.

      • Its going to be july now. I have booked swift 2011 on feb 2011 and waiting. but it doesn’t seems to be launched in near future. My dealer said today that new model will launch in december only. Is that true?. Why is MSIL delaying this much for a model?.

  11. Correct Lijo – but there is no assurance that new model will launch by may or June. Maruti is playing hide and seek game .. if they have planned to do a facelift – why can’t they provide these info to customers…. Its really bad attitude and for sure due to this MSIL is loosing customer in this segment.

    • I think this time, Suzuki can’t wait much themselves because Toyota’s Etios is selling like hotcake, and all the bookings there are basically going out from the Maruti Dzire. Hence to check the onslaught of Etios, Suzuki will be in a hurry to launch their new Swift-Dzire 2011

  12. hey ,
    Wat is more expected out of this 6 years wait , that is not the part of the review :
    – Height adjustable seats
    – Stairing wheel collapsable and teliscopic adjustment . just like the fabia
    – AUTOMATIC Machines
    – Fuel extimate to milaege metter
    Not to forget the rain sensors

  13. Well , thanks Lijo for those wonderful updates above.

    I can tell you Maruti Suzuki will have to launch the new model of swift soon as I have seen number of people moving to new Figo or i20 because they have waited enough for the new variant of Swift.

    I have been waiting for this since last April when the news got here.
    Check this page and find out how much eagerly the people of India are waiting for the launch and MIL is delaying it

  14. Hi Lijo,

    Thanks for the detail descripton. I feel Maruthi Suzuki will launch the new swift only in the year of 2012. And more over the New Swift model has been introduced in European market on 1st week of Apr. So i would suggest all not to wait for the new swift edition.

    Thanks and regards,

  15. if they will not launch new swift in another 2 months.. I am done… I will buy a Polo instead… get lost maruti… u are the market leader but dont commend such position too…

  16. I got a message from reliable source, that New swift will launch in 1st week of May-2011. Although, they have not confirm the price but it will be 5% more.

  17. Should we buy old model or i 20?

  18. dear Kartik
    How much% we can rely on this.waiting from last 8 months.MSIL is shamless.

  19. Will it be launched by may ….Or still late…..

  20. I hav booked new Swift VDI in the month of Mar 2011, and I am going to wait till july, otherwise I will go for i20, it is simply time wasting for new swift to launch. nothing attractive in the old version, so many cars in the market that one can opt for………………………………….

  21. I am buying polo instead as swift is taking forever to launch. and one of my other friend went for punto instead as he can’t be bothered waiting for such long time. i suppose i could wait if i could get some reliable info stating the launch in couple of months.

  22. It’s time to launch new swift model immediatly, dealy causes people shifting to other cars.

  23. there are no official words abt the launch of new swift………….but maruti is loosing its market ,,,,,,,,,recently i talked to a dealer in cp he told that the new swift will launch in september and delivered in end of year………

  24. i got a message from reliable source, that New swift will launch in 1st week of May-2011. Although, they have not confirm the price but it will be 5% more

  25. Hi Lijo,
    We are already in second week of May, any updates from Maruti abt the launch plz? Dealers in kerala are telling they haven’t got any information abt this launch and this might probably get extended till oct-nov. I am fed up with waiting for the new one and thinking to wait till end June and planning for go for Figo / i20 if they haven’t.

    • It is possible that June would be the time when Maruti would bring in the new Swift however this news isn’t confirmed yet. As and when it is, we would let you know.

  26. good looking

  27. Its been really long. Bookings have opened here in Goa, but no confirmation on price or date of delivery.

  28. I think the waiting period for the current swift being more than 3 months and the delay in the launch of Swift 2011, is deliberate. Maruthi wants to promote the sales of RITZ. I have been to showroom recently and the sales team was pitching for RITZ.

  29. From the sketchy rumours I have been hearing (and yes these are from sources inside Maruti), the new Swift will be launched somewhere around Dushera 2011.

  30. Hi Sree, I see a point in your view. To promote Ritz, they are maintaining Swift booking deliberately. The dealers are going to an extent and say that everything is same in Ritz, except for looks. I got to hear that Sept 11 would be the time for new models of Swift, Dzire and Ritz.

    I think people should stop being emotional on Maruti being market leader and hence doing its way. This is business and things will be like this. As a consumer, we should focus on three things 1. Decide what we want 2. Fix the budget 10% variance on the higher side, and finally 3. Go for the best model available. India is a mass market for any product /service and any brand. Once consumers start believing a product and a brand, things like After-sales support, Re-sale value and rest all will fall in place in the long run.

    Except for the Resale value, and After sales support, I don’t think Maruthi gives a stiff competition to its nearest competitors.


  31. @Krishna,
    I completely agrees to your point.Time is not too late for maruti to realise that customers are not blind behind their specific model..Now Mahindra is planning to launch Mini Xylo(MUV)- which might take 30 % of custmers who is waiting for new swift – I think I might fall in that bracket!

  32. I am going to book swift?on 28 may but dealers says me there is no suriety that i will get old model or new model?then i think how i can decide to buy the car which i hav’nt seeen?so which car i buy my budget is 5 to 6 lack aprox but not vista,figo & i20

  33. I booked Ritz VDI White with alloy wheels. I’m trying to get on to the model and trying to love it. But what pesters me is that for 6.5 lakhs, i’m not getting attractive interiors. On the contrary, for the same price Figo gives you 2 front airbags, rear glass wiper, electronic mirror adjustments, seat height adjustment, audio system, attractive seat covers. Huh…i’m really confused which one to go. What I like in Ritz is the height (tall boy in that segment), wide service network, less spare part cost (i believe), and Maruti’s resale value…thatz it. For rest of the features, i would vote for Figo.

  34. go fo FIGO,, go FIDA,, its amazing,, i am driving from past 4 months noww,, its gr88,, i hv diesel with me

  35. dealers of maruti not aware when new swift are to be launched.I have shortlisted swift but lookslike I have to change my decision either to vw polo or figo

  36. Gyus,,,seems like MSIL will launch swift by this month itself..so plz wait max 1 more month before taking any decision.

  37. Folks – will the Strike in Maruti affect launch of new swift 🙁 ?

  38. launch the car fast

  39. i am using maruti suzuki cars from last 25 years. i am waiting for your swift new model if u dont launch the car i might change the company.

  40. Figo is so better than swift diesel engine. maruti still needs to improve diesel engines.

  41. i am pursuing every thread regarding maruti suzuki swift for past 1 and a 1/2 year and researching on new swift for past 1 year……it is already so much delayed that it gave me enough opportunity to switch my mind for other options also like
    1) punto 90 hp(mindblowing handling and high speed stability)
    2) i20 diesel 1.4(what an engine performance)
    3) fiat linea(punto’s interiors are not bieze and linea would be giving that)
    ……..i prefer to buy swift in petrol model only, and now thinking that its taking quite a bit too much of time…..will be waiting till july end else will go for either punto or linea…..(i20’s handling is not that good and steering response is awful at high speed and feels like a dead one)

    And yes very well organized and detailed review…………hoping new swift will comply with your observations.

  42. when is new swift launching

  43. looking to the compitative market if maruti delayed in laounching new swift definatly maruti loose market share.

  44. I think it will be worth considering Bear Diesel now,though the power is bit less, it gives spectacular mileage and will be launced by July – Some customer waiting for new launch might get attracted to Chevy’s this offer!

  45. We have booked the new swift, but you should intimate us when it will launch.

  46. good………….

  47. Recently it is being said that – the new model swift will be launching only by Diwali… seems this will go as never ending thing! We being poor Maruti customers keeps on waiting without even having a lit info abt the new launch 🙁 Frustrated…!!!
    Also worth considering Chevy – Beat Diesel, whcih will be launching by July 10, and having a very good FE ( approx 24) and less cost.
    MSIL – for sure majority of your customers are gonna divert to Beat!!!

  48. Why do we need to wait for this car do much. Dont we have some good options like Ford Figo / Punto / Polo. Waiting for Chevy Beat Diesel Version. I feel this is an indirect way to create curiosity amongst buyers to give it an initial price hike. i feel with the features mentioned above we should expect a 15% hike in prices…

    Dosent feel like worth witing for…:::::(

  49. When will launch the new swift in Bangaluru

  50. I decided to finish the waiting for this one. I will go for Fiat punto or Nissan micra. which gives more features than swift. Both have only 15 days waiting period. Today when I called the maruti dealer ,they told me it seems this model will not lauch in 2011, as they want to introduce this as new one in 2012. And also told me if required they can arrange current model in 1 month. I booked my swift in feb 2011.

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