When the last generation Suzuki swift dzire made its debut in the month of February of 2012 it raised quite some eyebrows. But not exactly in a good way, as “pretty” isn’t a word that one would associate with the last generation Dzire. But as Maruti Suzuki has established itself to be at the pinnacle of reliability and customer service, its no wonder that almost anything with a Suzuki badge would sell like hot cake in India and the Swift Dzire was no exception. Regardless of its “not- so stellar” looks the sub 4-meter avatar of the Dzire went on to make history by becoming one of the largest selling cars in India and further increasing Maruti’s market share.

Till the last few years the compact sedan segment in India wasn’t that exciting. Everything revolved around the idea of a reliable transportation media that doesn’t break the bank and pretty much nothing more. But the introduction of the Ford Figo aspire, VW Ameo, Honda Amaze and so on totally stirred up the segment, and the humble old Swift Dzire was starting to show its age, especially when it came to the equipment on offer.

Things are getting harder and harder for people to buy a new car in the sub 4-meter segment as car manufacturers have really stepped up their game. The 2017 Suzuki Dzire doesn’t exactly continue the legacy of the its predecessor as the missing “Swift” badge from its name would suggest. Instead of going for a minor face-lift Maruti Suzuki has gone all-in hedging its bets and making mighty big updates from top to bottom and the result is a car that has improvements across the board except the power train and looks nothing like any other Maruti on the Indian roads. It also stands true to the company’s own tagline for the car- “A whole new world of Dzire”.

The new generation Maruti Suzuki Dzire is made of 66 per cent high tensile steel and is based on Suzuki’s fifth generation B-platform known the HEARTECT platform which was introduced with the Baleno. This has paved way for a much more proportionate and balanced design.

Suzuki’s TECT (Total Effective Control Technology) platform aims to provide considerable improvements in safety and fuel economy and claims to be stronger and 10% more rigid while being 15% lighter compared to the one it replaces. The NCAP(Euro) safety rating of the Dzire isn’t available as of for now but the standard variant of the India – bound Suzuki swift has scored a 3-star NCAP rating. ABS with EBD and break assist along with dual air bags comes standard across the range. Compared to the car it replaces, the new Dzire is lower (by 7mm) and wider (by 40mm) and has a better stance in general. The boot capacity has been increased to 378Liters from 320Liters and the fuel tank capacity has shrunk to 37Liters from 42Liters. The Suuki Dzire has two new trims- the Zxi+ and the ZDi+, both available with AMT and manual transmissions.

Exterior

The updated front and rear fascia bring a modern twist to the car. The most obvious changes to the 2017 Dzire’s exterior are out front. Maruti Suzuki hasn’t left any stone unturned when it comes to the design of the 2017 Dzire. It looks nothing like the old car, which is a good thing as aesthetics have never been the Swift Dzire’s strong suit. The front-design is inspired by the new generation Swift hatchback but there are some noticeable differences.  The front has a completely new four-slat hexagonal grille with chrome detailing and the bonnet integrates quite nicely with the re-designed front bumper resulting in a pretty up-market design. The Zxi+ and Zdi+ trims come with sleek head lamp units with projector headlamps and DRLs.

 

The side profile is quite remarkable for a sub-4-meter car thanks to its well-balanced proportions and character lines that run all the way from the front to the rear. The 15’’(185/65/R15) dual-tone precision cut alloys and the flared wheel arches accentuates the look. The chrome decor along the window line is smarty executed. The new ORVMs with in-built turn indicators looks classy and are electrically adjustable (all trims) and fold-able in the top two trims. The roof-line is also more slanted and blends seamlessly with the rear end.

Moving to the rear, the design somewhat resembles the old car with the similar tail-lamps,which  is now an LED unit and the horizontal chrome slat that run across the rear. The Suzuki Dire comes in 6 color options. Overall the exterior design of the 2017 Suzuki Dzire is much more elegant, sophisticated and a little bit sporty while maintaining the curviness, making it a much more desirable  car.

Interior

The interior of the 2017 Suzuki Dzire has undergone drastic changes, both in terms of look and feel as well as functionality. The exterior’s story continues on the inside too as it feels not like a face-lift but rather like a whole new car. Maruti’s emphasis on luxury is evident here. The interior tech is leaps and bounds better than the car it replaces, though the plastic quality here and there could have been improved.

From the driver’s perspective, the first the first thing that one would notice upon entering the cabin is the new leather wrapped flat bottom steering wheel with wooden inserts that come with access controls. Though a sporty flat-bottom steering wheel may seem like a little bit overkill for a compact sedan, it looks good none the less. The plastic buttons within the steering wheel feel well built. The dual tone interior with a color pallet (black and beige) similar to the old car makes the cabin feel roomy and the decent sized windows let in a good amount of light. This, coupled with the layered – contemporary design of the dashboard with wooden inserts takes the cabin ambiance a notch higher from its predecessor and a cut above the competition. The front -central AC vents the looks distinct with silver-surrounds that match those on the instrument cluster.

The smartly laid out new instrument cluster with crisp analog dials and an advanced Multi Information Display looks cool with the LED lighting. The front seats provide adequate cushioning and is very comfortable with decent lumbar and good thigh support. The center console that houses the touch-screen infotainment system and the automatic A/C controls looks attractive with its piano black finish, but is a finger-print magnet. The touch screen unit is a good addition and comes with Apple Car play and Android Auto. It is quite responsive and comes with a ton of features (We will cover the Infotainment system in detail as a separate article).

The climate control console beneath the infotainment system is minimal and appealing. Almost everything inside the Dzire screams premium, at least in terms of their look, but the fit and finish here and there leaves you wanting. The cup holder and the tiny storage area near the left A/C vent from the old car hasn’t been carried over. The ergonomics overall is good and the cabin has multiple storage spaces scattered all around.

The steering wheel can be adjusted for tilt but not reach. Still, finding a convenient driving position is rather easy because of the height adjustable seats. The space at the rear has been vastly improved and the leg room is acceptable for even taller people and the foot can be tucked in under the front seats. With the revised platform for the Dzire, Maruti Suzuki has managed to increase the cabin size considerably, making it wider both in the front and rear than the outgoing car. Three average sized people can be seated in comfort and the seats themselves are supportive enough, making longer journeys hassle free. The lumbar support is good but the thigh support could’ve been better.

The presence of the rear arm rest, rear A/C vents, a 12V supply and a small storage space near the vent adds to the convenience of the rear passengers. All the four doors have storage spaces which can easily hold 1-2L water bottles and other small things. The switches for adjusting the ORVMs have been carried over as such from the older generation Dzire. The plastic quality has been improved marginally compared to the old car, but the competition, especially the VW Ameo is better built. The top two variants come with a 6-speaker audio system which are quite good. As a package, the equipment offered for the price is quite substantial. The boot is now larger at 378 liters and the opening is quite wide and well designed, which means getting things in and out of the will be a breeze.

Engine and drive

The main controversy with regards to the 2017 Dzire is that Maruti chose to go with the same engine options as in the last generation cars – the tried and tested 1.2-Litre K-Series VVT petrol and the 1.3- Litre DDiS units, and are in the same state on tune, the petrol producing 82 bhp @ 6000 RPM and 113 Nm @ 4200 RPM, and the diesel – 74 bhp @ 4000 RPM and 190 Nm @ 2000 RPM. Both are available with a  5 speed manual or an Automatic transmission(V,Z and  Z+ variants) system.

Despite the speculation, once we stepped in and drove the car, the engines never felt inadequate. Seems like the weight reduction has really done its magic, breathing new life into the old engines. The petrol engine especially is incredibly smooth and is barely audible inside the cabin, setting new benchmarks in terms of refinement in the segment. So far we have only driven the petrol and diesel manuals (detail review of the automatic variants will be posted soon) extensively and the experience was quite blissful.

Thanks to the lower weight and a more aerodynamic design, the 2017 Dzire is a much better car dynamically compared to the car it replaces. The cabin insulation has been improved immensely and visibility is good thanks to the relatively slim A pillar. The petrol engine loves to be revved hard and quickly builds up speed and sounds good at higher rpms. The diesel though has a bit of lag before the power kicks in and once it does is quite smooth and eager.The refinement of the diesel motor is not up to par with the competition and is noisy at higher revs. Maruti claims a fuel economy of 22.0kpl for the petrol and 28.4kpl for the diesel.

The steering in  general is lighter, making city driving effortless and weighs up nicely at higher speeds. But the steering on the old car felt better connected to the road. With the softer suspension, the ride feels more plush and the car rides over poor sections of the road remarkably well.

This time around, Maruti has put more thought into safety as dual front airbags and ABS with EBD comes standard across the range, and has ISOFIX anchor points at the rear.

Conclusion

If the older car faced controversy on its design & space management the new car faces that on its heart … the engine. But Maruti never advertised nor indented the desire to be a rubber smoking sports car but rather as a value for money practical car that offers you commendable fuel economy. And it simply does it. These are proven engines that performed well in the older generations and now they sit in a much more advanced platform, so things are much better now. I do feel that Maruti made a sensible choice in this department. The build and material quality is inconsistent. Overall it stands true to the company’s own tagline for the car – “A whole new world of Dzire”.