Along with a chopped boot, the new 2012 Dzire also comes with many positive prospects. Reduced price is one important one, while the other being the changed looks keeping in line with the latest Swift. Our Guest Author Anil Anupam Mohanty lives with the car to tell his tale.
EXTERIOR, DESIGN & ENGINEERING:
Dimensionally the new car is 165mm shorter and stands at 3995 mm. Incidentally it is taller (1530mm) and wider (1695mm) also. As a result the car generates bit more space which is critical considering it to be a compact car. Swift always looked good in its hatchback avatar but the sedan derivative (the dzire) looked awkward. The new shortened boot makes the car look more like a notchback than a proper sedan. The side profile does take little getting used to. Having said that the tail section is now better integrated in the new dzire compared the older version.
While whole car is all new in terms of overall design, it bears close resemblance with the old car. The bigger and pulled back headlamps have a rakish look. The front nose gets a new slatted grill and a slightly different looking bumper to give the curvy face of Swift a squarer look to match the boxy rear end. The rear tail lamps are Kizashi inspired and infact the total boot job looks like the bigger Suzuki derivative.
The ORVM mirrors get integrated blinkers which give it a robust and up market look. They compliment the rakish front end of the car well.
The 14 inch rims look bit undersized and the 165/80 section tyres are inadequate in terms of looks as well as performance. The wheel caps are well designed and are different from what you get on the AT VXi petrol variant.
The suspension looks bit jacked up and I guess this helps it in having good ground clearance which is critical for handling Indian road conditions.
Shortened boot size has negatively affected the boot space which now stands at modest 315 litres. There is a drop of 135 litres over the previous gen dzire. For the matter of comparison cars like Fabia and i20 have equivalent boot space, while sedans like Etios (595 litres) can absorb almost two times the luggage. The only other compact sedan in the market, Indigo CS is capable of handling 360 litres of load. Tata can surely teach Suzuki a thing or two about space management. Suzuki has never been the most intelligent car company when it comes to usable space (passenger or luggage) be it the 4 lakh rupees Astar or the 10 lakh rupees SX4.
Build quality is on the lighter side like most Marutis. The sheet metal, interior plastics and the overall build is relatively light. There is no flimsy or saggy feel about them though. Rather it’s a well screwed car. Its just like you don’t get that ruggedness as is with the European or even Korean cars. Overall feel is adequate though the metal used on boot opener is seriously thin, which should only qualify for being used in a soft drink can.
This is where the car goes dramatically different from the previous generation. Maruti has gone all out to give its entry level sedan a more cheerful and better designed interior.
The dashboard design is nothing but the Swift with a dual tone touch which significantly improves the inside ambience. The style reminds me of the previous generation Honda Accord (especially the central console and the color combination) which is no bad thing.
The faux wood finish on the dash and front door panels compliment the equation well. It could have been extended to the rear door panels for better result.
While the interior color combination is spot on, Maruti has gone overboard in providing beige color to the cabin. The doors, AC control switches and even the floor carpets beige colored! It can be really difficult to maintain.
While the quality has improved for a Maruti , closer inspection reveals that plastic quality is only about decent and aren’t as tough and rich as is with some premium hatchbacks like i20 and Fabia. The new textured black plastics on the top of the dashboard are ‘feel’ good. Even the footwell is neatly finished with no quirky left over.
The manual air conditioner works with Japanese efficiency and cools the cabin in quick interval. The taut and sporty looking AC vents do a good job in circulating the air flow. The blower is relatively silent most of the time which is a good thing. The AC controls could have done without the beige color though. They get dirty easily on frequent operation.
Front seats are commanding and very comfortable to be in. Back support and bolstering are just excellent. The VDi only gets height adjustable steering column without the seat height adjuster but the driving position is spot on and it’s really easy to get accustomed.
Slight increase in wheelbase (50 mm) ensured that there is some increase in legroom at rear. Light colors means it is more airy at rear inspite of the small windows.
The seat itself is better contoured and gives good back and thigh support. The newly designed headrests and central arm rests do a decent job. Headroom still remains tight though, if you are anything above 5’10”. While the comfort levels have definitely improved rear seat is still a tight business compared to what you get incase of Manza, Verito or Etios. Three average sized individuals at rear can be little congested. Dzire is still not the best chauffer driven car in its class for sure. Ingress and egress to the rear seat isn’t very convenient either.
Pedals are well placed and neatly integrated with enough space. Clutch is soft for a diesel and has relatively short travel which is a good thing.
Maruti did go the cost cutting route by having budget quality window switches, stalks and control levers which look bit out of place in an otherwise neat looking cabin. Access to the boot and fuel lid opener is inconvenient.
The silver finished instruments are easy to read and look brilliant, especially when they lit up. Orange theme compliments the cabin well. The MID shows critical instantaneous fuel consumption, average fuel consumption and distance to empty meter.
The VDi variant now gets an integrated Audio system (CD/AUX/USB compatible) with 4 speakers as standard setup. Unlike the Z variants, this system lacks steering mounted controls and two tweeters (not like you will miss them badly). Moreover the information display unit is less glitzy: gets basic fonts and lighting. Performance wise it is a straightforward unit which provides good entertainment and this is what basically the ICEs should do. It’s right up there with the Ford Figo’s unit in terms of quality of music
ENGINE, GEARBOX & PERFORMANCE:
Maruti has consciously worked on the drivability aspect and the power delivery is now bit more linear. The turbo now comes to business at around 17-800 instead of 20-2100 rpm as was incase of previous dzire. But the engine still feels almost dead below 1400 rpm and it doesn’t pull as cleanly as incase of Ford’s TDCi orLogan’s DCi. At the end of the day it is among the smallest 4 cylinder diesel engine around and it behaves that way.
Engine is a different beast once it is in the turbo zone. Keep the revs above 2000 rpm and you will be rewarded with some strong torque delivery. While the drive in the traffic has improved, DDiS is a strong highway performer as it always was. Its infact easy to keep up with bigger petrol engines if you are in power band. Healthier Power: weight ratio benefits the car and I am sure new dzire will be quicker than the older model in terms of outright acceleration.
Fiat seems to have developed the Multijet engine keeping Swift in mind. It fits the bay so well.
At 23.4 Kmpl ARAI rating, new Dzire is the most fuel efficient car among all Multijet applications. The reason being revised (shorter) first two gear ratios and slightly milder state of tune. Yes, the engine doesn’t feel as free revving (for a diesel) as it was in the BS3 DDiS models. Anything over 3500rpm and the engine feels bit coarse , so its best to shift earlier and make use of available torque. Clearly fuel efficiency and stricter emission norms are given more priority here.
Refinement (NVH) levels are impressive for a budget level sedan. Cabin is relatively free from engine obtrusions and its only when you rev the engine, some diesel clatter does intrude but that’s more to do with average level of cabin insulation. At the back seat one will be hard pressed to know if it is a diesel when driven sedately. DDiS (Infact the pedigree itself) is still among the more refined engines money can buy in this price range. Yet, the i20’s free revving CRDi engine remains the smoothest in its category.
Gearshift has been a traditional Maruti strength and dzire is no different. It has got a slick shifting short throw gearbox with well defined slots. It does require some effort for the shift action though. Short travel clutch compliments the gearbox well. Handbrake lever though feels to be of average quality for a 8 lakh rupees car.
SUSPENSION, DYNAMICS & BRAKING:
Based on the all new swift’s suspension new dzire is a good step ahead of the previous car. The suspension is now more refined, matured and comfortable. This is definitely true when you drive car through potholed roads and you find it is quite composed without crashing. Average and low speed ride is on the comfier side and it will pamper the passengers well. Its only the harder edges that unsettles the light sedan. Mind you, this is no Fiat car which glides over any kind of surface thrown at it. Yet it is a comfortable car to be in, most of the time.
Suzuki worked on the stiffness of new Swift’s chassis and the result is a competent handler. Yes, the rear suspension setting is on the softer side to aid ride comfort, still its reasonably fun behind the wheels. On flat highways the car drives very well with good body control and impressive agility. There is bit of a body roll but its well under control.
Throw uneven roads as is with typicalIndiaroad conditions, the car lose some of its composure with speed. Obviously there is bit of compromise between average speed ride quality and high speed dynamics keeping the nature of car in mind. At times one has to revise the pace to keep the car under total control. Stability on flat roads is adequate though. Maintaining 110-120 kmph is effortless.
More than anything else, the skinny 165 section tyres are grossly inadequate for this torquey diesel car. Grip level is inadequate for the kind of pace this car is capable of. It is advisable to keep the speed under 120 kmph for stock tyres.
One more glitch attached to the VDi variant of dzire is its average braking capability. They don’t have that sharpness as is with the Z variants and the feel of it is quite spongy. Emergency stopping distance is also nothing exceptional to speak about. Maruti SHOULD definitely address this issue and safety is one aspect that cannot be compromised in any way. Lack of ABS and those skinny tyres dont help the matters either.
Car’s agility in city traffic is remarkable. Turning radius is equivalent to any standard sized hatchback and hence parking this car is a breeze. Light controls and decent all round visibility make things easier. Its really easy to get accustomed to this car.
Steering wheel is among the best bits of this car. EPS is a commendable balance between practicality and fun. While steering is quite light at low speeds aiding city drivability and parking, it gains some weight with speed which inspires confidence in pushing the car. Its quick, responsive and speed sensitive. While pureHPSas is with Fiats and Fords is real enthusiast’s delight, dzire’s EPS is a good compromise of both worlds.
Other Interesting Bits:
Sedans in general have distinct advantage over the hatchbacks: They have an independent-spacious boot and have relatively better legroom at back. Unfortunately the new Dzire doesn’t have either of these plus points over some of the premium hatches in its price range. Moreover it is still not the best looking car in the business.
To be brutally honest the new Dzire isn’t exactly a sedan, it’s a notchback version of the new swift and this is what Maruti has intended to do. Maruti has deliberately placed the new car somewhere in between the hatchback and sedan class. While full sized sedans like Manza and Etios are still 80-100 Ks dearer to the equivalent Dzire variants, the swift itself is 70Ks cheaper.
Car versus car, Dzire has definitely improved over its previous avatar in terms of quality, design and engineering which is a good thing. Yes, it lost some of the practical bits of the old car like the big boot, but being a Maruti you are assured with good reliability, service and that peace of mind which is what acts like the X factor for this car. Rest things remain well sorted with a superb engine, nice interiors and that easy to drive nature. Yes, few short comings like average braking, lack of safety features on lower variants and poor tyres need to be addressed as soon as possible.
Overall, the dzire remains a good all rounder with a strong backup organization to appeal the general Indian mass well.
This Comprehensive Review article of New Maruti Suzuki Dzire is written by our Guest Author and owner of the car Anil Anupam Mohanty..
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