For starters, I can’t wrap my head around the fact that the beloved Maruti Swift is now ten years old. It has been the jack of all trades: a style statement for the ladies, a modifier’s delight, an enthusiasts dream and a no-nonsense commuter hatchback. It has been this versatility from the hatch that set it’s sales charts on fire. Everyone wanted one. So much so, that the waiting period for Swifts had crossed 6 months at a point of time!
The Swift as we know it today, started off as Suzuki’s concept S - way back in 2002. The Concept S paved way for the Concept S2, which was showcased in 2003. Come 2004, Suzuki debuted the Swift at the Paris Motor Show. What surprised many a people was the fact that the production version of the car managed to look almost identical to the concept car.
The Swift hit Indian shores in May 2005. The design of the Swift, was something the Indian market hadn’t witnessed before. The sharply raked windscreen, the large headlamps and the swooping tail-lamps were an instant hit. It was offered with the G13B petrol engine from the Esteem. This 1.3 litre, 4 cylinder engine developed 87bhp @ 6000rpm and 113nm of torque @ 4500 RPM. This engine was extremely peppy and begged to be revved and driven hard. Couple that with the Swift’s fantastic driving position and the short throw gear lever, we often witnessed Swifts being driven rather enthusiastically. In early 2007, owing to increased demands from the Indian consumer for a diesel-powered Swift, Maruti Suzuki plonked in a 1.3L DDiS engine sourced from Fiat. This engine produced 75bhp @ 4000rpm and 190nm of torque, from as low as 2000rpm. The Swift diesel saw success overnight and it continues to be among the India’s highest selling diesel hatchbacks. The Swift had a relatively clean run in the market, with it’s erstwhile chief rivals like the Chevrolet U-VA, Hyundai Getz, Skoda Fabia failed to set cash-registers ringing. The Swift received a minor-facelift in the form of clear-lens headlamps and tail-lamps during its lifecycle to keep things interesting. In 2010, in order to comply with BSIV emission norms, the 1.3 litre engine was dropped in favor of the 1.2 litre K-series engine which powered the Ritz. The power figure dropped to 84bhp and the torque figure remained more or less same at 115nm. The drop in power however, had no effect on the dynamics of the car and it only made the car even more fuel-efficient. It continued to be a driver’s delight, both in the city and on the highway.
2011 saw the debut of the all new-generation of the Swift. The design on the new generation was an evolution of the outgoing version, retaining styling quirks from it’s predecessor. The new Swift was longer than the outgoing version and had a longer wheelbase. This enabled Suzuki to address the rear seat space issue of the Swift by a small margin. The interiors were a breath of fresh air too with the quality of materials going up a few notches. The engines on offer continued to be the 1.2L K-Series Petrol and the 1.3L DDiS Diesel engine, proving the versatility of these potent engines. The new generation Swift received a nip and tuck in 2014, with changes being in the grille, re-worked front bumper, blinkers on the outside rear view mirrors and the alloy wheel design.
The Swift has been India’s most adored and admired hatchback for a decade now. It continues to be one of Maruti Suzuki’s best selling cars. Not only this, the Swift spawned the Swift Dzire too - which is a separate success story for Maruti to tell. Even after 10 years, the Swift remains as desirable, fun to drive and stylish as ever.
We wish the Swift, a very Happy 10th birthday!