Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lives upto its name - Maruti Suzuki Swift ZXi Review (2006)

The swift is a marvel of Japanese Engineering, European styling and Indian Manufacturing!

~ How did I choose? ~
It was It was difficult to buy a car from overseas - but it could be done, I said to myself. I started by calling some friends and checking reviews on Mouthshut. Having owned an Esteem, choice was to just buy a sedan for their sheer handling. But dad said no! With his age, getting in and out of sedans was a problem for him. A jeep or a minivan was out of the question in Bombay. So the only option was a hatchback! I primarily dislike all hatchbacks in India for their high centre of gravity. You see, I like to speed and a high CoG can be a little problem... Diesel vehicles were out too as the travel is not more then 1500 km/month.

I dislike Hyundai bcoz their cars look good on initial value, but maintenance costs are higher and they get you on spares - said my mechanic and also neighbour who owns one. I said to myself, let me just get an Indica and be done with it - sasta, tikau and patriotic too :-) My gf’s brother had just got his Xeta and even she suggested it to me. I booked one!! However, having sat in one earlier, I knew it was not the car for me. I want performance and good looks too !! A quick family vote and out came the results - dad didn’t want to go for a petrol Indica, His words "Petrol car should be a Maruti" – Also found sis and mom didn’t like Indica. Out goes the Xeta and the booking was cancelled. The Zen Estilo is ugly and looks cramped; Wagon R feels unsafe above 80 KMPH. The popular choice by elimination was Swift, which was my preference too in the first place!! It also had a few extra BHPs over the Xeta. It’s just a testosterone thing ladies :D

A quick look on safety features and the natural choice was the top end model - ZXi - why settle for less!. It has a plethora of features that enhance safety and also includes air bags. Did you know air bags are not even an option on any of the Tata vehicles? Simply appalling! The colour once again was settled by a quick vote and the winner was "Red" - mom’s choice. A few calls around the city and the car was found. Comment from gf - "I knew you would go for Swift" *how wicked* !

I liked the car the moment I saw it. With its contemporary European design, it looks so inviting, almost begging me to get behind the wheel. The features are great and the seats are a delight!! Before buying, I had thought of putting in sportier seats in my next car, but the OEM seats are already comfy and sporty too.... I loved them!! Points to Maruti for not cutting corners here!!

The Electronic Power Steering is superb. The wheel feels like guiding a butterfly - effortless and it makes city driving a breeze!! The engine is super and is nicely mated with the gearbox. The car has a sturdy feel to it. The quality of interiors is also very good. Once you get in, the vehicle seems to wrap around you and isolates you from the outside world. I like the fact that it has small windows and an even smaller rear windscreen (with a wiper too). I read in some reviews people have complained about not being able to see while backing up, but it’s a plus for me as I love privacy!!

For me, not having electronic side mirrors or a factory fitted sunroof was a bigger negative. What I agree with the other reviewers is the nagging rattling from the left front door. Why are so many people complaining about these rattles from new cars - MARUTI LISTENING? Fix it guys!!

Other than this - I have nothing to complaint about and I’m very picky when it comes to cars. Ask the dealer I bought the car from. I kept them on their toes because of the poor customer service they gave me.

Why should you go for ZXi? Here are some reasons - It has an auto climate control, wider tyres and the ZXi label on it! Besides offering you a superior ride and handling, people notice it :P Not enough ? Here are some more experiences.

~ It can avoid you an accident ~
Pls see comments section on how ABS and EBD in the Swift and some quick thinking on my part, a cyclist and a cabbie save the day! {Posted at the end}
~~~ ZXi with ABS and EBD is the way to go ~~~~

It can render your girlfriend speechless ~
I was on my drive to Pune and having been on the expressway twice in 3 days already, I knew the road pretty well by now. It was on my 3rd run that - if I may use such a reference - I really "found" the car! The gf was talking n talking about something that was quite trivial to me and I was enjoying the drive at 120kmph. Seeing a traffic-free road ahead, I floored the pedal - talking was still on - reached 150 - talking was still on - reached 160 - talking was still on - reached 165 (my previous best on the expressway!)... I was really excited now.. the excitement however was misunderstood for interest and talking increased - reached 170... 175... 180... 185 .. I stayed there for about 10 seconds and I knew we were maxxed out - nirvana was attained - I was one with my swift! If the swift were an airplane - I was maverick - I was supersonic baby!!

I pointed the speedometer to my gf and it may sound ironic, but the speed put the brakes on her incessant rambling and rendered her speechless. I was thinking - I’m glad I have a witness. When we reached saner speeds, I planted a kiss on my Swift - I could sense a twinge of jealousy from the passenger seat - It was a "sweeeeet" drive!! You know the money is well spent if the drive makes you feel so good!!

Point to note is - the car was so stable even at high speeds as it was not noticed by her till I pointed out the speedometer!!

~~~ ZXi with its wider tyres, quite ride and stability is the way to go ~~~
~ Engine ~
The 1.3L 16V 32bit Hypertec engine produces 87 bhp and torque band starts from a low 1500 RPM range and stays flat till 5500 RPM - very good for city driving as it minimises gear changes. Being all Aluminium, its lighter, it has better cooling ability and a better acceleration then the Getz.

Mileage - 10-16 KMPL with AC. +0.5-1 without.

~ Award Winning Drive ~
Look at the number of awards won by the car. It has won car of the year awards in 9 countries, the 10th one being India!! - With all these awards backing your purchase, you are surely driving a winner!!

While on the website, done forget to check out the "Super 6 advantage" and the "Evolution links" that describe the Swift’s birth from a motorcycle to a concept vehicle to a stylish passenger vehicle that retains the "Gotta have it" flavour of the concepts. You can also check out the complete specs of the cars and models and prices on the site.

Thanks to Maruti Suzuki for bringing a truly international quality product to India !!

Hope you enjoyed the drive – let me know your thoughts :D

!! Spike !!

The incident !
It was night and the headlights were quite ineffective in what lay ahead due to the ambient light and the incessant Bombay rain. As I approach the narrowest portion where the car will just fit in the gap b/w the barrier and the taxi, I see a cyclist spring up in between the left headlight and the centre of the hood about 15 feet in front of me. I must be doing 45-55 kmph. I hit the brakes to avoid hitting him, but there are loose stones and gravel on the road so the car skids. The ABS kicks in and it stops the wheels from locking up - Its a situation when the ABS can somewhat be your nemesis..... I hit upon the realisation that the car was not going to stop or even slow down..... I made a decision that its better to hit the taxi than the cyclist as it will not cause human harm. It is at this time that I thought of a gamble.... I can turn the wheel!! If I cannot stop, it will make me slide on the gravel with the wheels not pointed straight and this will slow me down.... So I turn to my right - to hit the right side of my Swift to the left side of the taxi.... and I start the slide - This causes 4 things to happen –

1) gravel and stones start flying to the left
2) the car starts to turn slightly right unwilling
3) I slow down a bit and buy me more time
4) the cyclist - who I could now see was a bhaiyya on a black Hero ’doodhwala / tiffin-carrier’ cycle with hooks on the back carrier. - He hears and maybe even feels the stones on the cycle and immediately swerves to the left as the barrier curves making the lane wider.

It was this move on his part that relaxed my heartbeat a little as the worst possibility of hitting and injuring a person was out of the way.

This gave me more time and space to deal with the reluctant right hand turn into the taxi.

I now turned the wheel to my left to try and straighten the car and shift from 3rd to 2nd gear to apply engine braking and this causes me to slow down further and to send a slew of gravel and stones flying into the side of the taxi. This makes quite a sound that even I can hear with closed windows. The taxi driver, with his slightly open windows, would have had a much more pronounced sound effect and he swerves a little to the right giving me room to move ahead. My right foot is off the brake and pat on the gas - I zip thru the melee - unscathed!!

Welcome to Bombay :D

~~~ ZXi with ABS and EBD is the way to go ~~~

PS: The original article written by me is here.


Serendipity said...

Yay! I have one. silver :)

(p.s. one very random thing. I always thought u were a woman)
{runs for cover}
lol. and before you ask, your blog is NOT womanly, i was wondering how a girl had such good taste in tomboyish things :D

wheres your profile when you need it :D

Shayari said...

Apparently, this review is a great aid to our Car buying plans.

Dad's finally decided to part ways with his 12 year old 800. And now the choices are dilly dallying
over Wagon R & Swift. Hope I can tell more pluses from Swift & convince him.

180 kms? Woo! no wonder your gf was mum later:P

A super review there!

Prats said...

Nice review. I really liked Swift but chose i10 on top of it.

Fits me better.

Bedazzled said...

congrats!! .. dats gonna be our next car.. weirdly, like serendipity, i thot u were a girl too .. for a long time!!

eye-in-sty-in said...

ha ha ha ha - Whats with you ladies, eh?
now I demand to know why! :P

Serendipity said...

phew. u dint get mad, or throw something at me, and im not the onyl one.

So, Im safely OFF the hook :)

Serendipity said...

Oh, I didnt ask. u like football too? Im a HUGE fan. Chelsea to you sir.

Vee said...

Honestly, I am not into the technicalities of Car. Also, I prefer riding bikes, but when it comes to Cars, I enjoy being driven. Haha..

Now seriously, whats wrong with ladies there...:0 Me too curious now... how they came with that theory..

eye-in-sty-in said...

Hi B,

Why would I get mad? But, just coz I didnt get mad does NOT mean that ur off the hook! (so much for that.... lol) U still gotta explain why u thought so?

No big footy fan, but do enjoy watching a good game. Did play a bit in school.

Hi Vee,
lol @ driven - I have started enjoying that too recently :p
I know, right? Something is wrong with them - And this after they like to play detectives! lol... I have to know this for sure.

Angel's Flight said...

I just think its Cute.....awww ... such a girly comment!

eye-in-sty-in said...

ha ha ha indeed! only HA HA HA in this case!

Yword said...

hey spike
enjoyed reading your take on the car - you know the turf and the passion shows. cool