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Since its launch over 14 years back, the Maruti Swift has ruled the segment and how. Rivals came and went but the popularity of this car never came down. Over the years, the hatchback segment got broken down into sub categories and cars like the Hyundai i20, Maruti’s own Baleno and the Honda Jazz created the premium hatchback segment. The Swift, given its price and positioning remained the leader in the mid-size hatchback market though.
The toughest competition to this car ever came from Hyundai in the form of the i10 first and later, the Grand i10. This same model has now got a major update and thus was born the NIOS, or the sportier upgrade of the Grand i10. Does it manage to threaten the Swift from its supremacy levels? For starts, the design does look sportier and we love the long and stylish headlamps that have projector lamps. The boomerang shaped DRLs housed on either side of the wide grille help too. Unlike the Swift in which only the top spec Z+ get DRLs, the NIOS gets this on lower trims too.
There is no denying the fact that Swift carries its design pretty well. The low and wide stance helps in terms of sportiness. You may not believe it but the Swift indeed is longer, wider and taller than the Grand i10 NIOS. We kid you not! Both the cars get 15 inch wheels though the NIOS gets stylish machined cut even in the mid-range trims.
In the design department, we would say its a tie here!
On the inside, the all-black theme of the Swift is terrific and elements like the stylish speedometer console, flat bottom steering and inverter dials look smashing. The cabin of the latest gen model is spacious too and so is the new, larger boot.
The NIOS gains brownie points in terms of offering two cabin colour options - the standard is the black and beige theme while on the dual tone Sportz versions, you get all black interiors. Ingress is slightly better, rear space more and the NIOS also offers a larger touch screen system along with unique features like wireless charing and semi digital console. But in the end we would say, the young at heart will be inclined to picking up the Swift. It is that good.
The Swift comes with the tried and test 1.2-litre K Series petrol and 1.3-lite DDiS diesel motors. The petrol engine has only become better with age and makes 83 bhp of power and 113 Nm of torque - these are almost identical figures to that of the NIOS. Both the cars also come with manual and AMT options with the petrol.
In terms of diesel engines, the biggest difference comes in the fact that the NIOS has a 3 cylinder motor as compared to a 4 cylinder DDiS engine on the Swift. That said, power is similar (75 PS) and so is the torque at 190 Nm. The Hyundai offering has an upper edge in terms of extra low end punch which is beneficial for city runs.
NVH levels and gear shifts on both the cars is equally good too.
Ride and Handling
This is one area where the Swift scores higher marks for enthusiasts. There is no denying the fact that when it comes handing, the Swift fares much better. This includes the suspension behaviour as well as steering feedback.
The NIOS on the other hand is a good compromise between ride and handling and will be appreciated by a larger set of audience.
The NIOS has a starting price of Rs 4.99 lac for the petrol and Rs 6.70 lac for the diesel versions. This is about Rs 15000 and Rs 33000 less than the Swift petrol and diesel models respectively. This difference increases by a huge margin for the top end models.
While Maruti dealers are offering discount and offers on the Swift, the NIOS still turns out to be a better deal, even if by a small margin.
In the end, the Swift remains a good choice and will certainly keep enthusiast and youngsters happy. The NIOS on the other hand is a new product and will keep buyers satisfied with the niche appeal, more features, rear space and overall appeal. Either which way, you can’t go wrong here!
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