Snapshot: The Dzire becomes the latest car in the Maruti stable to get the cost effective but very hassle-free AMT technology.
The Swift Dzire has been the best-selling compact sedan in India ever since its launch. Even though rivals have tried hard none of them have managed to de-throne the king of its segment. Maruti now wants to take the game further away from all its rivals by offering its wallet friendly Automated manual transmission(AMT) tech on this car. The company is filling in all voids in its variants list and hopes this will help it retain customers in the highly competitive segment.
Little has changed on the car since its launch in 2012. The face is exactly like the Swift hatchback except a new grille. Maruti did offer new housing for the fog lamps but it’s really hard to tell. The rear end with its shortened boot looks a bit odd. The rear doors are also relatively small compared to the larger ones on the front, which means that elderly passengers will have to crouch to get into the cabin rather than walk into it.
The dashboard is the same one as on the Swift. The only difference is the fact that the Dzire gets beige instead of black. All this means that it feels bigger than it is. The seats are the best in the category offering generous support for the lower back as well as under thighs. The front seats squab is long as well as wide, which means that even the tallest of passengers will not feel tired after long journeys. The rear seats offer good support as well but legroom is a bit tight. The boot at just a little over 300 litres is the smallest in its class.
Engine, performance and gearbox
The 1.3-litre diesel engine has been tried and tested on a various range of Maruti cars. The AMT-technology is a simple solution, where Maruti offers a kit attached to the gearbox and shifts happen automatically. It’s a simple and cost effective tech which also helps keep the maintenance costs low. Where this gearbox has improved dramatically is in its shift pattern. It doesn’t feel as hesitant or lazy to throttle inputs like it did earlier on cars like the Alto and Celerio. That said, don’t push the accelerator pedal too hard because the gearbox won’t change gears rapidly. Instead, it will be very jerky. The best way to use it is feather the throttle and use a light foot.
Ride and handling
The car has a great blend of comfort as well as agility. The steering is light for parking in tight city spaces but no so much so that you start feeling jittery when on the highway. The suspension is soft in the city and soaks the bumps well but even on the highway it displays decent reassurance as speeds increase. Overall, this is the best compact car in its segment for sheer ride comfort at any speed.
The Swift Dzire isn’t the most dramatic car to look at or drive around town. That said, buyers in this segment want a car that has good driveability, efficiency as well as decent space. These are areas where it excels. The addition of the AMT-gearbox makes it even more convenient to drive and overall, the best value automatic in this segment.