Maruti Suzuki Dzire Facelift Review & Test Drive

OVERVIEW

Being a niche sub-segment which was born out of the urge to take advantage of a local tax regulation, the development of every compact entry sedan was always going to be a bit of ‘jugaad’ engineering. In a way, it is a reflection of the collective Indian mindset considering our penchant for tax avoidance and our irrational acceptance of the sedan as an ‘aspirational’ body style. Check for review & price of Maruti cars

But a sub-four-metre sedan can’t be an optimal package because there is very little room to work with; and it would inevitably tend to be an ungainly variant of the hatchback on which it was built. Almost every compact sedan currently in the market has seemed uncomfortable in its skin. The outgoing Maruti Suzuki Dzire has been a prime example. The Swift was already not the best package in terms of the exterior dimensions to interior space leverage. And the shared hatchback design was too overpowering even in the second gen Dzire sedan. But both these facets of the Dzire will change with the introduction of the new 2017 model

EXTERIORS

The all new Maruti Swift desire 2017 is underpinned by all new platform, which Suzuki has named as Heartect. The Maruti Baleno is also based on the same platform. High tensile steel is used in this platform, thus making it not only lighter, but even stronger than before. More width in this car result in better driving dynamics. Check On Road Price of Dzire

Front The 2017 Maruti Dzire looks attractive and stylish from the front now. The design overall is now more proportionate and does not like its trying too hard. The new Dzire comes with a balanced look this is modern as well. The fascia embodies a new imposing grille with chrome surround

Side and Rear The side profile now looks much more balanced. The boot is very well integrated in the body and doesn’t look like a forced job. The new 15-inch alloy wheels also make the car look smarter. The rear looks similar to the old Dzire but has better styling. The tail lamps are now LED ones and look much more premium. The paint quality has also improved this time. The New Maruti Dzire 2017 is indeed an excellent job my Maruti.

INTERIORS

Step inside the cabin of the new Dzire and one instantly realises that this isn’t the cabin of another Maruti Suzuki car with a few new bits but is an all-new design instead. The dual-tone dashboard comprises of a black top while the lower part is beige. The wood finish in the dashboard and in the lower part of the flat-bottomed steering wheel adds to the premium appeal of the cabin significantly. This makes the Dzire the second compact sedan to have a flat-bottomed steering wheel after the Volkswagen Ameo.

The touchscreen infotainment system in the centre console looks similar to the one seen on the Baleno and Vitara Brezza but has a different housing. It’s different in terms of functionality as well and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It has the usual SD Card -based navigation and connectivity options also include Bluetooth, USB and Aux-In. The system is easy to use and the simple user-interface means people with limited knowledge of smartphones to will not have problems operating it. There are two 12V power outlets too, one on the lower centre console and the other between the front seats. The door pockets in front and back can easily store one litre bottles and still leave space for a fair bit of small items.

The new Dzire is wider by 40 mm than the older model and has increased leg room and shoulder room too. With the driver’s seat adjusted for a person of 5 feet 8 inches, a six feet person was able to sit in the rear seat without his knees brushing against the front seats. The backrest incline angle of the bench is good, making it comfortable for longer journeys too. The under-thigh support will prove adequate for most people but for taller occupants, this could be a slight issue. The door armrests at the rear could do with a bit of fabric cushioning as the hard plastic can be a bit discomforting after a while. These, however, are minor issues, which do not make a considerable difference to the in-cabin experience.

In a nutshell, the interior of the new Dzire carries forward the premium positioning of the vehicle. It quite simply is the best cabin in the compact sedan segment in India from all aspects.

PERFORMANCE

Maruti Suzuki deserves a big round of applause for offering six automatic variants in the new Dzire. The AMT tech not just offers gearless convenience but also doesn’t compromise fuel economy, and of course, keeps the sticker price in check too! With multiple automatic variants on offer, the Dzire AMT will be accessible to a wider set of buyers.

The second-gen Swift Dzire too was equipped with an AMT paired with the diesel engine. Both the engine & the gearbox are carried forward in the new Dzire but are calibrated differently. This results in smoother gearshifts. So, while the AMT still takes its own good time to upshift or downshift, the cabin experience is slightly richer than before as the head nod that accompanied every gear change previously is now subdued, but it’s still there.

The 1.3-litre diesel engine makes 75PS of max power at 4000rpm & 190Nm of peak torque at 2000rpm. The continuous torque surge makes the diesel Dzire a great mile muncher with very less downshifts required to make quick progress. When out on the highways, it’s best to use AMT in the semi-manual mode for downshifting to time the overtakes better, and also to hold upshifts and utilise the power band to spring back to three-digit speeds. In normal driving conditions the AMT is keen to upshift early. The artificial intelligence prompts the ‘box to upshift below 3000rpm on medium throttle input.

It does, however, hit the redline before upshifting with the A-pedal completely depressed. The AMT’s party trick is the creep function which allows you to pull the car forward from nought in the second gear. It’s like moving in traffic on half a clutch. Try doing that on the manual Dzire to realise the importance of an automatic. So, while the diesel manual Dzire should continue to munch miles, the AMT-diesel is now better suited for frequent city spins.

But the powertrain of the moment should go to the petrol-AMT combination. The 1.2-litre (83PS, 113Nm) petrol engine is a refined unit, and it was there on-duty in the Swift Dzire as well. The engine is the same, but it comes with the 5-speed AMT now instead of the 4-speed torque converter (and there’s a 5-speed manual as well). The drive experience of the petrol-AMT combination is plush thanks to low NVH levels and smooth gear shifts. The gear shift quality may not be as silky as in the Ignis petrol-AMT (same engine-transmission combo), but it won’t give you a dramatic head-nod moment you’d associate with AMTs in general

Talking about the engine characteristics, there’s torque on offer starting from low revs, and the band is quite wide as well. So, you can hold it in one gear higher without any resistance from the engine to downshift. The engine is also happy cruising all day long, with the 100kmph ticking at about 2800rpm in the fifth gear and max torque range still 1400rpm away. The gearing is tall although the engine doesn’t quite like to be revved to its limit. So, it’s possible to go well past the three digit mark in the third gear, but that won’t satisfy you as much as chugging it around its max torque range will, where it sounds the sportiest.

On the whole, the Dzire is still focused on covering maximum distance using minimum fuel. The engines were already fuel efficient, and reduction in weight has further helped matters. That doesn’t take away the Dzire’s engaging-to-drive nature, especially diesel’s, that shows eagerness to roll on thanks to the turbocharger unit. The petrol engine also has a new role to play now, and that is to offer a superlative drive experience owing to the AMT two-pedal tech and high refinement levels.

SAFETY

The 2017 Maruti Dzire now comes with dual front airbags, ABS and ISOFIX mounts on all variants which is a very positive move. The car is lighter than before since it is based on the new HEARTACT platform. Talking about service, Maruti Suzuki has the best sales and after-sales network in India and the Dzire can be serviced in any nook and corner of the country since the company has a service centre almost everywhere

RIDE AND HANDLING

The new Dzire offers a good balance between ride comfort and high-speed handling. The suspension is tuned to be inclined towards the softer side and hence ride quality at urban speeds is comfortable. The car feels stable up to about 120 kmph and only beyond that a hint of uncertainty starts to creep in. Brakes offer good bite and the feedback from the pedal too is decent. Since the

suspension has a soft setup, high-speed cornering can result in a fair bit of body roll but that cannot be termed as a negative as the Dzire is positioned as a practical and value-for-money vehicle and not as a performance vehicle

CONCLUSION

Maruti, as ever, has its fingers on the pulse of the Indian market, and this new Dzire is tailor-made to cater to the demands and needs of customers. It’s got all the right ingredients – space, practicality, comfort, good equipment on top variants, fuel-efficient engines and, above everything, the backing of Maruti’s extensive sales and support network. Also, the inclusion of ABS with EBD, and dual airbags as standard across the range is an excellent move that’s sure to go down well with increasingly safety-conscious Indians. With a wide introductory price range of Rs 5.45-9.41 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), there should be a Dzire variant for everyone. There’s little doubt then, despite the rise of the compact SUV, and doubts about the longevity of this segment in the light of the upcoming GST implementation, that Maruti seems to have another blockbuster on its hand

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