We get our hands on the 2021 Maruti Swift facelift, to handpick the changes and find out if its worth the price hike…
Words: Neeraj Padmakumar Photography: Gabriel Francis, Sarath S
The Swift is one of the most popular hatchback offerings from Maruti Suzuki India. It’s been on sale here for over a decade. The first generation Swift was introduced in 2005, and the second-gen followed a few years later. The car is currently in its third generation and underpinned by Maruti Suzuki’s new age Heartect architecture. The 2021 model year update builds on the third-gen Swift by tweaking some key aspects of it.
What Are The Changes In 2021 Maruti Swift?
Let’s be straight here:
- The biggest change on the all-new Suzuki Swift facelift is its engine. The K12 petrol engine of the car it replaces has made way for a new K12N mill, or the Dual Jet engine as it is better known as. This essentially means a bump in the power figures, which now tip the scale at the 90hp mark.
- There are bigger brakes on the all-new Swift, making for improved braking performance. The diameter of the drums has grown by 1 mm, making the bump in their efficiency evident during the drive.
- The instrumentation cluster now gets a 4.4-inch color MID screen.
- An improved touchscreen infotainment unit (SmartPlay Studio)
- Minor cosmetic tweaks like a new mesh grille with a prominent chrome strip running along its length, and a set of 3 dual-tone color schemes to choose from.
- Feature additions like cruise control, ESP etc.
While the design as such remains unchanged, the tweaks to the grille do render a sporty air to the aesthetics of the new Swift, something which the powertrain upgrade badly demands. There are absolutely no changes on the sides or at the rear. However, the dual-tone paint scheme does have its impact on the beholder’s eye. In fact, I felt this red-black paint scheme to curb down the impact of the Swift’s body lines on my eyes.
The overall design and layout of the cabin remain unaltered. However, the seats now get a new upholstery that is much more comfortable than before, the SmartPlay Studio infotainment system seems to have improved touch response, and the instrument cluster now gets a 4.4-inch color TFT multi-information display. The mid-spec V variant gets a new 2 DIN system as well. The overall audio quality is quite impressive.
One would not complain about the overall material and build qualities inside the 2021 Maruti Swift. However, there are a few areas where the build quality could have been better, making for inevitable exceptions. With a 268L boot and numerous storage spaces and charging ports inside its cabin, the usability has no issues either.
The rear seats are quite decent, as was the case with the third gen. There is enough headroom and knee room on offer. The thigh support, however, could have been a lot better. The 2021 Swift misses out on things like connected car tech, sunroof or a wireless charger, going by the fact that the top variant now stands in the i20 territory with its price.
The Swift comes with the 1.2L, four-cylinder, K12N DualJet naturally aspirated petrol engine for 2021, which churns out 90hp @6000 rpm, and 113Nm @ 4200 rpm. On offer are two transmissions- 5-speed manual and 5 speed AMT, or AGS as Maruti Suzuki likes to call it. This engine gets an idle start/stop system, but without the mild-hybrid tech, as is often seen in the other Maruti Suzuki cars.
K12N DualJet Engine Explained
The K12N DualJet engine is essentially a 1200cc four-cylinder petrol engine with two injectors per cylinder (and hence the name), dual VVT for the intake and exhaust valves, and cooled exhaust gas recirculation, providing for more faster combustion, improved thermal efficiency and obviously a significant boost in power without compromising on the fuel efficiency. (The 2020 Dzire which had first had this engine, is still one of the most fuel-efficient petrol cars in India) The DualJet engine is said to have minimal energy losses during combustion and an improved compression ratio of 12.0:1.
The K12N DualJet engine is quite peppy. It is not unbelievably fast in getting off the line. Rather, the power builds up in a smooth and progressive manner and is very manageable. Thus, city runs are quite comfortable and smooth, push it hard on the highways and you won’t be disappointed either. There is an enjoyable flow of torque post-1200 rpm. The new Swift redlines at 6500 rpm. You would get to enjoy the peak power at 6000 rpm, post which the curve witnesses a fast fall.
0-100 can be achieved in 11.6 seconds. These are decent figures for a naturally aspirated 1200cc engine. However, the Swift competes with the likes of Hyundai Grand i10 Nios Turbo and VW Polo TSI in the market, going by the engine size. Both these cars, in spite of their turbo engines, are considerably faster than the Swift. But, yes, if NA is still your cup of coffee, you would love the Swift.
This engine deserves a toast for its refinement and NVH levels. Probably due to its dual injector structure, the K12N feels very smooth and refined at almost all RPMs. While idling, you would hardly get to hear it. Rev it up to 6000 odd RPMs and you would still not hear half the growl a random 1.2L engine would have produced at such high spins. The story holds true for the vibrations as well. I personally feel this to be among the smoothest engines from Maruti Suzuki yet.
The steering on the 2021 Maruti Swift is very light at low speeds but does weigh up decently with speeds. Even while being light, it feels somewhat direct and connected. The overall handling of the car could be called decent, but is never half as good as that of the first generation Swift -Just Saying!-
Of the two transmission options, we chose to have the AGS-equipped variant for review. The modern-day AGS boxes are great leaps ahead from the first AMT boxes from the manufacturer, the likes of what you used to find on the Celerio and Alto K10. The new age AMT boxes offer less lag in shifting and even get the associated head-nods contained to a great extent. At some point of time, I even felt this to be as good as some budget torque converters from the early 2000s in terms of shift quality.
The suspension still feels a bit on the stiffer side, something I would like to call part of the Swift DNA. However, the ride quality is decent. The car is now underpinned by the Heartect architecture, meaning a decent shedding of weight. The loss of weight does affect the overall speed handling abilities. You would feel confident in pushing this car up to 100-105kmph, anything above which would be no short of nightmares for the driver.
The increase in the size of the brakes does wonders in the overall braking performance. There are now good amounts of bite and stopping power on all four wheels. However, I wish the tyres had more grip.
Maruti Suzuki claims the K12N to return mileage figures of 23+ for both the manual and automatic variants, something which we think is too ambitious for a petrol car. With the most efficient driving behavior, I could manage to get 14-17 km/l. However, should you choose to have some fun with the 90hp under your toes, expect a drop to 10-12kmpl.
The Swift is priced from INR 5.77-8.47 lakh (ex. showroom), meaning the prices have gone up by 15000 to 25000 across variants.
|ZXI Plus DT
|ZXI Plus AMT
|ZXI Plus DT AMT
Should You Buy One?
The new Swift is not the fun car it was, in its first generation. However, the 2021 model does feel peppier and more fun to drive than the third generation. The increase in power does show up in the overall character of the car. You now have a more accessible low-end and a more comfortable torque curve as such.
If you ask me, this is what the Swift should have been at least half a decade ago, when the NA ‘hot’ hatches were the talks of the city. In today’s turbo era, the only reason you would want to buy this car would be its pocket-friendly nature, increased practicality, commendable fuel efficiency, and city-friendliness, and definitely not any excellence in performance or dynamics.