The Maruti Suzuki Swift may have just been launched in Japan, but it will have its work cut out for it with the next-generation rivals also set to arrive in the coming year. Here’s what we can expect.
The Maruti Suzuki Swift has been making headline all week and, while it is indeed an exciting proposition to a market where it has done very well, even winning two separate Indian Car Of The Year (ICOTY) Awards for the first one more than a decade ago, with the next iteration taking top honours after its arrival as well. The new Swift is expected to sport familiar 1.2-litre petrol and 1.3-litre diesel engines with the possibility of a 1.0-litre turbo-petrol three-cylinder on offer as well. Should that arrive, it will be the most powerful version ever to go on sale in India.
The competition, though, is indeed fierce as rivals look to capitalise on growing trends. The Nissan Micra, for one, is another Japanese challenger with a radically different design. It fuels Nissan’s hope to capture a larger piece of the pie when it arrives. The tried-and-tested 1.5-litre diesel engine – which could pack anywhere between 65 to 110 PS – will surely deliver the much-needed boost the brand need in the country. That it draws more inspiration from big brother Godzilla, the GT-R, now more than ever before will only further its chances of success.
The other Japanese challenger comes in the form of the Honda Jazz. Honda’s reliability is legend and the company has record upon record for it’s technological advancements, most notably the VTEC system. The Jazz isn’t set for an update next year having been introduced not too long ago. The sprightly 1.2-litre i-VTEC petrol and the tremendously endowed 100-PS i-DTEC turbo-diesel engine provide more than enough go for what is a car that is well under the one-tonne weight mark.
Over to the Koreans now, the Hyundai Elite i20 has been growing in popularity worldwide and with Hyundai on a roll in India, it should see the car get even more attractive. The design looks modern and the equipment and interior have always been the best or at par with the top. The choice of a peppy 1.2- or 1.4-litre petrol and a 90-PS turbo-diesel have also laid more than a strong foundation for its success.
Then, you also have the rest of the field vying for contention: the Toyota Etios Liva and Volkswagen Polo, though dated, are still great value options; the Polo still offering a more robust feel than any of the rest. Then you have the Ford Figo and the FIAT Punto Evo are also credible alternatives, especially if the focus is the joy of the drive without compromising on equipment and practicality.
The new Maruti Suzuki Swift will be priced at a marginal premium over the present model. This, considering the – we hope – inclusion of dual front airbags and ABS as standard equipment across the range. Expect pricing to begin at around Rs 6.3 lakh for the base 1.2-litre petrol and go up to Rs 8 lakh for the top-spec diesel trim, both ex-showroom.
Story: Jim Gorde
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