Maruti Swift vs Hyundai Elite i20 – Game, set and hatch


Snapshot: Has India’s best-selling premium hatchback, the Swift got its toughest challenger yet in the all-new Hyundai i20?

With the new i20 Hyundai is clearly aiming its guns at the Maruti Swift and wants to take away the crown of best premium hatchback. From the looks of it the Elite i20 is a sure winner but is that enough to make it the king of this competitive segment. But is the Hyundai worth the premium price over the hatchback king, the Swift? Our comparison story has the answer.

Hyundai Elite i20 Exteriors Vs Maruti Suzuki Swift Exteriors
The second generation Swift has been around in India for three years now and though Maruti has recently updated it with LED strips around the fog lamps, it clearly looks older in comparison to the much more sophisticated and youthful looking i20. That said, the Swift is still a very sporty looking car and looks well balanced and proportioned.

The Hyundai also looks like a much bigger car. Key styling elements include that big hexagonal grille upfront, the peeled back head lamps as well as the blackened out C-pillars at the back. In fact the Elite i20 feels more upmarket and a sub-segment bigger than the Maruti Swift does.

Hyundai Elite i20 Interiors Vs Maruti Swift Interiors
If you are getting inside a Hyundai car you can rest assured that it will offer you a ‘feel good’ cabin and the i20 is no different. The beige and black combination looks very premium and there is plenty of place to keep your knick knacks in.

The Swift comes with an all-black interior and though it looks sporty it can also feel a bit dreary at the end of a long day. The front seats on the Swift are the best in this class and offer supreme support and cushioning is good all across. The Swift’s rear seats though can’t hold a candle to the i20, which offers more space all across.

Engine, performance and gearbox
While both these cars come with diesel and petrol options we’ve compared the petrol versions here. Both get 1.2-litre petrol motors. The i20 makes 83bhp while the Swift makes 85bhp. Both engines are supreme on refinement, and even when revved hard they remain rather smooth. The Swift’s motor has the slight edge in the drivability department. The 1.2-litre K-series motor responds well to throttle inputs even at low revs and that makes it a good car to potter around town in.

The Hyundai on the other end doesn’t feel as lively at low revs as the Maruti. But throw in some revs and it starts feeling a lot lively. However, the engine doesn’t feel as peppy to drive as the Swift’s unit. In terms of gearbox, the Swift has a much crisper unit with shorter and narrower throws. The Hyundai unit is slick as well and has very light throws, which makes it a cinch to operate around town.

Ride and handling
While none of these cars is a truly hot hatch, the Swift will wow those looking for a keener drive. The steering is more feel some, the chassis is more dynamic and agile as well. The Swift though also has a harsh edge to its ride, which means that it doesn’t feel as settled over bad surfaces as the Hyundai i20 does. The i20 has a supple ride and soaks up most bumps with ease. Though the steering is light, it isn’t overtly so, which makes it a cinch for town travel.

Safety and Equipment
Both these cars come with a start/stop button, Bluetooth for the stereo, steering mounted audio controls, twin airbags and ABS. But even though the Swift has got plenty of kit in its latest update, it can’t match the i20 for sheer equipment. The i20 also gets rear AC vents, a cooled glovebox and 1GB of storage space on the stereo for your music, these are things that the Swift doesn’t offer even as an option.

Though the Swift still remains a good package and a better driver’s car, it simply feels a class smaller than the i20 in both the interiors as well as overall equipment. And that makes the i20 the winner of this comparison and well worth the extra cash it costs over the Swift.