Testing the New Maruti Suzuki DZire

Background

It was in the year 1987 when Maruti Suzuki, a joint venture between Government of India and Suzuki Motor Corporation of Japan, the passenger car manufacturer launched its first 800 cc car in India. It has been a long 30 years that Maruti Suzuki has evolved as a respectable and reliable car manufacturer in India while competing with major brands like Hyundai, General Motors, Toyota and the likes. And among the various models it assembles, it’s incredible how the Swift Dzire has carved its own identity over the years. The Maruti Suzuki DZire is an extremely competent sedan in its own right. No wonder it’s a household name now called DZire, Swift being removed for the logo. Maruti Suzuki assembles over 15,000 units of the Dzire each month, outselling all its competitors combined, making this the second bestselling car in the country.

Here, below, is my quick analysis on the Maruti Suzuki DZire:

The Car Exteriors

While some of us may not have liked its long boot (earlier versions), the car you see here is all new and it has got the looks too. Maruti Suzuki cut its length to sub-four-metre length to both qualify for the tax benefits as well as to give the car a trendy look. Even after the lauch of DZire’s first iteration,  many other car manufacturers started launching sub-four-metre models. With the sub-four-metre car, this car looks a lot more proportionate than before: the boot doesn’t look merely glued onto the hatch like the earlier iterations. While the front windscreen has its own appeal, the rear windscreen looks steeper now. We see nice soft curves and flowing lines all over. The face looks smart with almond-shaped headlamps with a nice chrome surrounding the front grille. Overall, the car looks better than earlier iterations.

The Car Interiors

The insides of the car are as fresh and give you the same satisfaction you get looking at the exterior. Like most cars, the beige and black theme continues but the design is all new. The flat-bottom steering wheel looks and feels incredible. The instrument console looks crisp like the Ignis and feel sporty. The new front seats are supportive and comfy, and the cushioning feels a bit softer than before. There’s ample height adjustment for the driver’s seat, and the steering gets tilt adjustment too. Ergonomics on the whole are agreeable, and there are a good amount of storage areas around as well. The audio system integration, however, feels like an after-thought and doesn’t gel well with the design. Also, the wood insert on the dashboard might pass of as being classy at first glance, but look closely and it feels a bit low grade. Then, there’s the inside mirror which is small and the large front neck restraints hinder visibility. The front passenger footwell eats into the legroom, resulting in a slightly off-centre seating position.

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The legroom has improved at the back, thanks to a longer wheelbase of 2,450mm. As a result, two tall people can sit one behind another in reasonable comfort. However, headroom for taller occupants at the back is very tight. Despite being much wider than before and than the competition too, space for a third passenger at the back will be slightly tight. To make the rear cooler, there are air-con vents and a 12V power socket that can charge your phone at the back now. The Dzire’s boot now measures a good 378 litres that has grown in size while looking practically shaped too.

The Petrol & Diesel Engines And The Driving

Petrol: It’s an 83hp, 1.2-litre, four-cylinder petrol.

Diesel: It’s a 75hp, 1.3-litre, four-cylinder diesel.

Both these come with a five-speed manual and an automated manual transmission option. Fuel efficicncies range between 22.0kpl for the petrol and 28.4kpl for the diesel. The engines give a high return per liter of fuel. In general, technically, the engines are the same as before but thanks in a big way to a much lighter kerb weight which make them highly fuel efficient.

The petrol engine is really silent and refined when you start, barely audible at idling. From 1,000rpm onwards, the motor starts building speed, and the engine picks ups fast thereafter. Power delivery is nice and smooth, and the revs build in a linear curve. The engine soumds sporty once it crosses 3,200 revs and there’s no reluctance from the engine when you press hard. It’ll cleanly pull until 6,000rpm. As per the specifications, max torque of 113Nm is developed at 4,200revs. The five-speed manual transmission is a joy to use and the throws are short and very smooth.

The diesel engine is a different story altogether. Immediately off the line, there’s a noticeable delay before the power delivery kicks in. Once the pooling builds, boost is quite strong and the engine spins quite freely to your surprise. However, it sounds loud and clattery, and sounds even crude as you rev high.

When we talk about the automatics, the petrol AMT is quick to change while the transition between gears takes place with a little jerkiness though not much noticeable. Technically, it isn’t as seamless as the torque converters or continuously variable transmissions (CVTs). Like in other cars, there’s also the option to manually shift gears using the Tiptronic mode (as you see in Volkswagen or a Hyundai automatics).

Suspension

The suspension of this new car is now soft comparative to earlier iterations and ride quality is noticeably better than the outgoing car. When crossing a bump or potholes, there are fewer body movements (pitch, roll and yaw) over bad sections of road and aren’t as jarring any more. The suspension soaks up all road imperfections in a a good way and feels nice and absorbent.

Steering

The petrol’s steering is light and,  it’s effortless to turn around in the city.The truning radius of the vehicle is a tight 4.8m, however, the return to centre is weak though. With all that lightness, it doesn’t feel as well connected to the road, there’s a kind of floating feeling. However, when we compare the diesel, the steering feels a bit heavier and more connected in comparison, possibly due to slighltly higher front axle weight (FAW).

Verdict

Maruti Suzuki DZire is perfect in space, practicality, comfort and offers good equipment on top variants. The engines are fuel-efficient and above everything has the backing of Maruti’s extensive sales and support network. For safety concious people, the vehicle has ABS with EBD, and dual airbags as standard across the range. With a medium-to-high budget to spend you have a reliable workhorse on your hands. Frankly, you will find the features offered in this car, tough to beat, by its competitors!

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