Sultan of swing returns
The most anticipated car of 2018, the third generation Maruti Suzuki Swift, has joined the autoX long-term garage, and I can happily say that it’s been a great experience driving it within the city. No offence to the Swift’s AMT gearbox, but we were glad that Maruti sent us the top-of-the-line Zdi+ 1.3-litre diesel manual variant, as it’s more responsive and doesn’t compromise on fuel economy.
Based on the Heartect platform, which also underpins the Baleno and the Dzire, the new Swift has managed to shed 80 kilogrammes as compared to the outgoing model. The weight difference is quite discernible and makes the hatchback agile. The car continues to be a handler, thanks to the chassis that provides great body control. But unlike the previous generation Swift, the 2018 hatchback lacks the fun, the go-kart like experience. The 185/65 R15 Bridgestone Ecopia tyres offer decent grip, while the brakes deliver adequate stopping power consistently.
The Swift continues to be one of the best hatchbacks in the handling department, but the lifeless electric steering wheel sticks out like a sore thumb. Even though the steering wheel is light, it does help in negotiating slow moving traffic and tight parking spots easily. Another thing that we noticed was that the steering wheel doesn’t return to the centre by itself, especially when you’re taking a U-turn. Personally, I felt this was quite annoying, but this is not something new, as we have seen the steering wheel behave the same way in the Baleno as well. All this doesn’t really hamper the Swift’s handling capabilities but added weight and direct feedback could’ve made the driving experience more involving.
Another reason why the Swift remains the cornering king of its segment is because of a firm suspension setup. Even though this will attract enthusiasts, the ride quality in low speed does feel a bit rigid – you can clearly feel the thud from a pothole. Overall, the 2018 Swift still continues to be the most fun car to drive in its segment.