Right from the start the 2011 Maruti Swift has been launched in India, we have been flooded with requests about if its better than the previous generation one or than the competition. These requests didn’t see even a slight dip after the launch of the Etios and Liva diesel models. Well, that what we are here for. To solve all your auto related queries and do comparisons or test drives of all the cars that come into India. The question of which is better, the Liva diesel or the Swift diesel is being finally handled bang on. We got both the 2011 Toyota Liva diesel and also the 2011 Maruti Swift diesel, and for a take back on our policy, have put in a clear winner. Both the cars are pseudo Japs with Toyota having collaboration with Kirloskar Motors of India while Suzuki having a deal with Maruti of India. We got the top end variants of both the cars and put them through our regular comparison list. So, which is the best Japanese diesel hatchback in India? Read on to find out.
As they say, styling is totally a subjective issue and here, dare we say, both the cars have their own strengths. The 2011 Maruti Swift in India is a car which inspite of not having too much of a difference from the model that was launched in 2005, gathers attention. Out on the roads, slowly but steadily the new generation Swift has started rearing its head and it’s only the new paint scheme with would be catching the fancy with the onlookers. However, there is no denying the fact that this car has got a wider presence than its predecessors and some modern tools to refresh the design. Indicator lights on the ORVM and LEDs at the rear are the main distinguishers from the 2010 model. However, even though the design may have looked plain Jane on the Etios, on the Liva, this one especially in the electric blue paint scheme looks superb. There is no denying that all the body work has definitely put the Liva into top gear as far as design is concerned. Whilst the Swift diesel cannot be distinguished from the petrol model, except for the badging, a keen eyed person would notice that the Liva diesel loses out on the chrome bar in the front, no alloys and also no fog lamps. If the Swift is chocolate flavor mixed with butterscotch, then the Liva is good old Vanilla. Vanilla is something which you can safely have with no apprehensions of the taste changes while chocolate or butterscotch would depend on the region from where one is buying it.
Inspite of losing out on certain essentials like alloys and front fogs, our vote goes for the Liva diesel, especially in an electric blue color.
Sparse versus filled up cabin is something which the Toyota Liva and Swift diesel contend with. We really don’t know why manufacturers don’t have a fully loaded variant of their diesel powerplants? When the Swift Zdi came in, we finally thought that there would be one manufacturer who would be willing to go all out with its diesel products but sadly enough, we were once again disappointed. The Swift diesel retains its petrol counterpart’s rev counter, multi information display, steering mounted controls, climate control system and also a music system, the Liva diesel, which is available in only a single variant, gets a basic aircon, no music system, cooled glovebox and also power windows. The Swift diesel beats the Liva hollow in terms of equipment levels while the Liva claws back lost ground by offering better ergonomics and also space. The Swift offers a better hugging front seat while the Liva offers more place. At the rear, it’s a no contest with the Liva boasting of nearly Etios like space and a flat squab which ensures that 3 people would sit in quite comfortably. The Swift has grown by a few centimeters but this doesn’t translate to a good seating arrangement for rear passengers. Taller ones would definitely find this as a good excuse to sit in the front passenger seat. For the boot space, the Liva outclasses the Swift by a good margin. Build quality for the Liva, as many have pointed out, doesn’t stand in the same league that Toyota is known for. Moreover, in this regard, the Swift stands out with its better build quality and equipment levels.
The Swift is the one with better build quality and equipment levels while the Liva has better interior space. Overall, we would still prefer the Swift for all the things considered.
Handling and ride quality
Lets face it, the 2011 Toyota Liva diesel in India is a car which doesn’t have a reputation like the Swift. The Swift was always known as a driver’s car and the Toyota has quite a reputation to live up to. The steering wheel in the Liva diesel has got some amount of weight added up to its feel, however, there is still some slack. The 2011 Maruti Swift diesel in India steering wheel is also light but it does stack up sufficiently when the speeds rise. The Swift’s steering wheel can be called as communicative. The suspension for the new Swift has also been reworked upon greatly and due to this, the ride quality has been improved upon and it no longer feels skittish or hard edged. Some amount of suppleness has been dialed into this suspension. That said, the Liva diesel has a soft suspension which eliminates the effects that potholes have at lower speeds. At higher speeds, the Liva does feel a bit unsettled. So it’s a trade-off, if one wants low speed ride quality or are relegated to city speeds most of the time, the Liva makes sense. If it’s the highway that is one’s domain, the Swift diesel makes sense. Visibility all around is good in the Liva diesel while the Swift suffers from a small rear window. Regarding the in-cabin noise, it’s a no-contest. The Swift diesel has got a better damping and though the diesel hum can be heard inside the cabin, its not that intrusive. The Liva diesel on the other hand has quite a boomy character to its engine note and it does become obtrusive in the cabin. Toyota have added noise insulation features, however, they might have forgot the engine.
A slightly tough one here but considering the in-cabin noise, we would vote for the Swift diesel. Its more enthusiastic in the handling department as well.
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
The 2011 Swift diesel uses the “National Engine” or rather the multijet borrowed from Fiat. What Maruti have done is recalibrated the turbo and have eliminated some of the turbo lag as also the peaky nature of the power delivery. The 1248 cc engine produces 73 Bhp and 190 Nm of torque. The 5 speed manual is a slick shifting unit and there are no complaints here. 0-100 kmph comes in at 15 seconds while top speed is an indicated 163 kmph. The Liva diesel in the meanwhile gets a downsized 1.4 liter engine from the Altis and in this avatar, it makes 66 Bhp of power and 170 Nm of torque. The gearbox utilizes 5 ratios and has tad longer throws than the unit in the Swift diesel. The 0-100 kmph speed is achieved in 17.3 seconds while the top speed is 158 kmph. The Liva diesel is very easy to drive in traffic and the clutch is also very light for a diesel car. However, prod the accelerator and the Liva takes ages to gather speed. Like discussed earlier, this one is good in city driving and moderate highway jaunts. The Swift diesel has got a bit of peaky nature courtesy its legacy and the turbo lag is something which would be felt in peak traffic conditions. Post its 2k rpm, the Swift is on a song of its own while the Liva’s engine feels tired.
As for the fuel efficiency facts, Toyota have the upper hand here with an overall 18.4 kmpl achieved during our tests to the 17.8 achieved by the Swift diesel. The brakes in the Swift have a real positive feel, however, they aren’t confidence inspiring like the ones in the Toyota Liva diesel. The Toyota Liva gets ABS as standard while the Swift gets it on the top end model. Toyota have plonked in twin airbags while for the Swift diesel, one has to opt for the ZDI variant to get all these goodies.
One more tough one here since we really like the multijet engine, but the turbo lag is something which is pleasantly not there in the Liva’s engine. Just for the safety equipment on offer as also the nice to drive engine in the city, it would be the Liva’s engine that we would pick and the icing on the cake is the fuel efficiency that it dishes out.
Both the cars stand neck to neck as regards the points are concerned. Both have their negatives and minuses as well. This shows that the goal post has really moved on and no longer can manufacturers take their customers for granted. The so called “One Raj” is no longer prevalent and if a particular manufacturer doesn’t offer one privilege, another one is ready to snap at the heels of the buyer and persuade him/her to take a look at their products. The aftersales service experiences for both Maruti and Toyota have been ranked very highly by their respective customers. However, given the conditions that a Maruti spare part is relatively the cheapest in its segment, the balance tilts in favor of the Swift diesel. But a new thing has come up and it’s the waiting period game. Considering the uncertain situation that Maruti is in now regarding labor issues at its plants and reported talks of sabotage happening in its plants by workers, it is safe to assume that a Toyota would make sense provided one learns to live with its gripes. Factor in the thing that the 2011 Maruti Swift diesel price in India starts from Rs 5.17 lakhs for the base LDI version, the 2011 Toyota Liva diesel price in India at Rs 5.54 lakhs and Rs 5.85 lakhs with the safety package makes more sense. All these prices are ex-show room, Delhi. The Liva diesel has a waiting period of 2-3 months while the Swift diesel in its highest trim and the one costing Rs 6.38 lakhs, the ZDI has got a 14 months waiting period. If you can afford to wait, then the Swift it is from our end otherwise, the Toyota Liva diesel ain’t a bad product either.