Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Swift, Driving the

My two-week-long desire to test drive the new Maruti Suzuki Swift took shape today. Opportunity presented itself when init() happened way before schedule, at 7.20 AM. Zoomed to Automotive, Nerul at 8.30 AM, filled up the test-drive form and lo, I'm behind the wheel of an Orange Swift VXi.

The car has an immensely powerful stance. Though the modern look might appeal a one too many, it takes time getting used to. Especially when looking at the weird looking machine at close proximity. The A, B, and C pillars along with the roof, look small compared to the rest and seem to be forcibly stuck on a large body, a la vintage cars. The 165/80 R14 stock tires give this machine a mean, off-street look. One knock at the body and you know it is a Maruti. The build quality is average and leaves much to be desired. On the other hand, the Octavia seems rugged as a tank! I know I'm comparing Oranges and Apples, but that still strikes a chord, somewhere!

The sales rep drives the car out of the showroom with me in the passenger seat. He gets to an open section of the road and steps out. I swing the door open, and step in. Quiet easy, thanks to the height of the car. Is the engine ON? It's hard to tell! The Swift is one of the most refined machines from the Maruti stable. I slot the gear knob into first and take off. I rev the engine according to my habits in the Zen and I see the speedo going beyond 20. The revs are at still at a comfortable 2000 rpm. Shift into second and you feel a surge. By the time the tachometer shows 2000 rpm, you are well beyond 45 kmph. The shifts are short and feel very sporty. Third takes you to 65, and the fourth provides a mighty cruising experience at 90. Slot it into fifth and you are well above 110! Very well tuned gear ratios. Perfect for city driving and red-light drags, as well!

I bring the car to a halt and ask the sales rep if the brakes are ABS-equipped. He replies in the negative and I am surprised at the braking performance. Thanks to the 14-inch (I think) servo boosters, this babe stops as fast as she accelerates. Now, I decided to try out the gear ratios in economy mode. Shift into the second at 10, third at 20, fourth at 30, and fifth at 40. No knocking or excessive loss in performance. This car can be an elegant woman dressed in a kanjipooram saree or a voluptous bikini-clad babe. As and when required, and as you please! I enquire about expected fuel efficiency and he says 12-15 kmpl in city driving conditions. Hard to believe, this being a 1.3 litre, 87 bhp, one-tonner! My Zen does 17 kmpl in city driving conditions when driving in MiledgeDriveĀ® mode.

Continue to Palm Beach road and cruise at 120 kmph. Drive back to the showroom and the joy ride comes to an end. I step back into my Old Faithful (not that old, actually!) and turn the key. Surprisingly, my car ain't too far behind in the refinement department. With Suzuki, refinement is the key word. Be it a bike or a car. I drive out on the road and find my car gasping for breath as she nears 2000 revs. It ain't my car, it's my mind. That's what 1.3 litres, and 87 BHP can do to you. I find the swift (err, shift!) to my old car rather disappointing. To express this in two-wheeler terms, this feels like coming back to your Splendor after riding a Fiero. But thankfully, I own a Fiero and not a Splendor!

Over all, a nice morning and an even nicer car. Perfect for a family of four, where the man of the house does a little more than just driving to work. Lots of space in the cabin. A performance-driven engine that is not going to proliferate your fuel costs too much, coupled with the reliability of a Suzuki. All this, from the people who think you are king. That's the new Swift for you.


At 2:26 AM, Blogger euterpeah said...

nice. except skip the babe bit.


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