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Maruti Suzuki Swift vs Baleno vs Dzire vs Ignis

  • Published On: 16 April 2018
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A while ago, the Swift had a specific task in the company’s line up. However, now with three similar alternatives, we question its purpose.

The Swift does feel a bit overpriced.
The cool instrumentation in the Baleno.
The price graph of all four cars.
The modern climate controls in the Ignis.
The Swift lacks the handling characteristics it was known for.
The Baleno offers the most for you money.
The Swift does feel a bit overpriced.
The cool instrumentation in the Baleno.
The price graph of all four cars.
The modern climate controls in the Ignis.
The Swift lacks the handling characteristics it was known for.
The Baleno offers the most for you money.

Maruti first brought in the Swift in 2005; it was the car that changed how we look at the company. The 800 was the car that built the company, but it was the Swift that got the company fans. It took the typical Maruti values of being affordable and reliable and paired it with good styling and fun. The Swift was the car that clicked with Indians as the premium Maruti. In the 13 years it has been on sale, it has mostly been the second-highest selling hatchback in the India.

The first gen model was superb to drive; the second gen car lost out on its sportiness for maturity.  However, the third gen model has changed things up quite a bit. Not only because the competition has upped the game but also because Maruti itself chose to expand its hatchback line-up. The carmaker now has a Baleno and Ignis on sale offering space and style. A few years ago, it was the Swift that had to do both those things. The company also launched the newest Dzire which is based on this new Swift and it came before hatchback while also growing out of its shadow. All three of these offering arrived before the Swift and have worked their wat into many garages all over India. Furthermore, all of these cars use the same engine, platform and components so they drive very similarly.

So when we got hold of the new Swift in the beginning of this year, it didn’t feel all that new and the excitement we had driving the previous two generation models was missing. It was roomy – but not the most, well kitted out but not the best and it wasn’t even the most stylish. After that, there was the way it drove which also turned out to be just like the rest. Even though the suspension on the car is well-calibrated, the steering lacks feel. Which means, the Swift’s biggest feature – its handling was no more its trait.

When you first lay your eyes on it, you will not mistake it for anything other than a Swift. The two-box design, tapering glass house, headlights and roof are all design elements that define the styling of the original hatchback. Some areas like the taillights are different. Overall, it looks just as sporty as any of its previous generation models. But, this time around it is a bit curvier. The pillar mounted rear door handle wasn’t expected but looks rather nice.

Nicely, Maruti has done everything it could to differentiate it on the inside. It is blacked-out on the inside just like every other Swift and it has well-finished buttons and dials. However, it still remains a bit too familiar and lacks individuality. The seats on the car are the same units as the ones in the Baleno and Dzire. This similarity extends to the equipment lists and the prices overlap each other quite a bit.

The Baleno exists because of the current-gen i20. The previous-gen of which took on the Swift. But, since the new i20 was considerably more spacious and equipped Maruti had to bring in the Baleno. Not everyone was a big fan of its styling, some found it understated while some found it downright awkwardly proportioned. Nonetheless, it was well-equipped; it had many features, 16 inch wheels and lots of interior room to take on the i20. Maruti also equipped the Baleno automatic with a CVT instead of the AMT which resulted to smooth shifts. Additionally, the Maruti was also well-priced when compared to the Hyundai but still a bit high for a Maruti hatchback.

After getting out of the Baleno and getting into the Ignis, they do feel worlds apart. The narrow tyres and short wheelbase of the Ignis does make it drive a bit skittish. The high 180mm ground clearance also further increases this behaviour. On the other hand, this is a feature people like about it. Its crossover-ish charm is not very common in its segment. Additionally, it has one of the boldest designs out there. The boxy shape combined with the retro design and unique wheels. The inside also appears to be pretty unique with coloured surfaces and fancy looking AC controls.

Dropping the Swift name from the Dzire was done for a reason. The company finally thought the car can hold its own and wasn’t a tweaked Swift and this is true. Maruti made the car as long and wide as they could and gave enough space to make it impressive. The car also has its own styling and very nice proportions. The inside of the car features beige seats and wood trim which will appeal to most. It is also equipped with a rear AC vent. All of these cars have what could be dangerous steering feel; the Baleno looks to have it the worst.

Which one should I buy?

If one lined up these cars to take on each other, the Swift doesn’t really shine in any aspect. The Baleno offers the most equipment and nicer transmission. It also has the largest wheels and tyres, whereas the Dzire has the most passenger and boot space. The Ignis scores in having the highest ground clearance and lowest purchasing price. The Swift sits somewhere in between all of these cars. On paper, there is almost no reason to go for it. The biggest reason to opt for the Swift would be if you wanted the traditional styling. If we were to choose, we would go for the Baleno if you weren’t looking for the boot space of the Dzire and ground clearance of the Ignis. Additionally, the cream-coloured interior in the Dzire is a dirt magnet. Even though the Swift wasn’t part of our final decision, we feel that its brand strength will alone contribute considerably to its sales. Its strong new siblings are sure to cannibalise it, at least a bit.

Author: Droom

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