This year has seen many launches and many were infact the same revised models. Some like the 2011 Maruti Swift in India and the 2011 Honda Jazz in India. Now, we all know the Jazz has got some “magical” properties as an automobile, however due to its exorbitant pricing, the show rooms never saw too many Jazz cars off their floors. This has been the case since the Jazz was introduced in India. Recently though, Honda did the unthinkable and revised the prices of the Jazz, bringing it back into the race. A Honda badge is definitely more desirable in India than the Suzuki one for sure. To put an end to the argument, is it that a value for money product finds a home or is it just the snob value of a brand which makes buyers shell their moolah faster, we decided to pit both these Japanese competitors against each other. Since the Jazz is available only in petrol (as if other Hondas are available otherwise), we had to put the 2011 Swift against the 2011 Jazz.
The Jazz doesn’t look like it was inspired from some other design whereas the Swift can openly be said to be inspired from the Mini series. There is a large glass area going for the Jazz as also a mono volume design, something which is quite fabled with Honda cars. The new chrome adorning on the grille may look cheesy to some while others may find it good enough. The bumpers have been said to be restyled here as well. Thankfully enough, Honda have started offering factory fitted alloy wheels on this car. The tail lamps are said to be redesigned, however, it would take a trained eye to actually check those differences. The 2011 Swift is also on the same lines and there isn’t much of a design change here as well. The turn indicators on the ORVMs plus the refreshed tail lamps is all one can see. Moreover, bring in the zanky new alloy wheel scheme and things start to roll on. The blackened out A-pillars mean that this one is for the young at heart while the Honda would appeal to middle aged people. The very fact that the earlier Jazz didn’t sell much means that it still manages to grab eyeballs on the road. However, the same cannot be said about the updated Swift.
While the 2011 Honda Jazz can’t be necessarily called as a small car, it falls under the small car category. However space wise, it is leagues ahead of the Maruti Swift. The brilliant packaging by Honda has ensured that there is lots of space inside the cabin. Sometimes it feels that the windscreen and the dashboard are mated given that the cab forward design accords this capacity. A driver’s seat height adjust is available only for the top end model. Even though things may not seem high quality here, they are all durable and from past experiences, extremely user friendly. What isn’t user friendly is the absence of a CD player. Out at the rear, even the tallest of passengers would be comfortable with enough leg room, head room and shoulder room to boast of. What would be lacking is the under-thigh support. Boot space stands at a huge (for a small car) 366 liters and this coupled with the “magic seats” which can flip and tumble over to liberate additional space. Compare this with the Swift which has only a 204 liters boot space and seats which don’t split in the 60:40 pattern either. The Swift, however, has a more upmarket configuration. Like the older generation, even the newer one boasts of having a front squab which fits in all drivers of all shapes perfectly. Things may seem to be rosy at the back with the extended wheelbase providing for some sort of solace, however, truth be told, the Swift still lacks the rear seat space that the Jazz or even some of its other rivals offer. What the 2011 Swift offers is good equipment levels including steering mounted controls as also a climate control.
Handling and ride quality
The older Swift was a champion as far as the handling aspect was concerned and the newer one still retains this feature albeit with a more mature ride quality. The new electric steering is a delight to use and weighs up nicely once the speeds rise. The chassis is a stiff one and quite able as well. The surprising fact is that the ride quality has also improved in notches and this time around, the Swift has a confident poise. Even the stability also has improved to a great extent. As for the 2011 Honda Jazz, these things are surprisingly kept at moderate levels and there is no one field wherein it excels. The steering wheel is typically Honda light and while this may work wonderfully in the city, those inclined towards more of highway driving would have to look elsewhere. The Jazz’s choice of rubber isn’t also that great and this leads to some squealing and protests when driven hard. Body roll is more displayed in the Jazz’s trait as compared to the Swift. Also the ride quality is a bit stiff and to a great degree stiffer than even the Swift’s. As far as keeping things isolated from the passengers is concerned, the Swift does it better.
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
Whilst the Jazz seems a segment higher than what the Swift stands at, it doesn’t have an higher output engine to supplement the stance. The Jazz only has a 3 Bhp advantage over the Swift’s power plant. The Jazz’s powerplant produces 89 Bhp while the Swift’s one produces 86 Bhp. However torque figure in the Swift is 114 Nm as compared with the 109 Nm in the Jazz. Both the cars use 5 speed manual transmissions which are an absolute joy to use. The Swift is geared shorter than the Jazz and hence there are fewer gear shifts required whilst about the city runs. Both the cars have light clutches though the one in the Swift is placed at an somewhat odd angle what with taller drivers finding their knees fouling with the dashboard. While the older feisty nature of the Swift’s engine has been lost with the newer iteration, the Jazz still retains its high revving nature. Infact, it’s a crime not to rev the Jazz’s engine. For the smoothness factor, we would hand it over to the Swift’s motor. Maruti have done an excellent job here. Both the cars come with ABS and EBD here. Here the Swift has a more confident manner at stopping rather than Jazz. Moreover, airbags also are standard on the top end variants. The Swift petrol turns out to be marginally more fuel efficient than the Jazz here. Both the cars would safely return 12 kmpl in city and 16 kmpl on the highway.
Is space is something which one is looking for from their car, then there is no looking any further than the 2011 Honda Jazz in India. It has got oodles of space, big sized boot, lots of cubby holes, big car feel, an enthusiastic engine- gearbox combo as also fuel efficiency. The Jazz loses out on the features list what with some like auto climate control missing from the list. The 2011 Maruti Swift in India has got timeless looks, good quality interiors, good features list and a mite more space than the Swift. The cons are of course the lower rear seat space, boot space and well, the looks which don’t differentiate it much from the earlier version. The best part is that the Jazz has now got a 6 months waiting period while the Swift petrol’s waiting period is now only 3 months. The 2011 Honda Jazz price in India starts from Rs 5.5 lakhs while the top end model retails for Rs 6.06 lakhs. The 2011 Maruti Swift price in India starts from Rs 4.22 lakhs and goes all the way upto the Rs 5.53 lakhs. All these prices are ex-show room, Mumbai. Servicing costs are almost same with the Honda servicing being a tad more expensive. Over all, the 2011 Jazz would rate higher in our eyes with the 2011 Swift just lagging a tad behind (pun intended).