What's This Suzuki Swift Sport Doing In India?
With its powerful engine and small footprint, the Swift Sport is the definition of “pocket rocket”
Update: A Swift Sport company vehicle has now been spotted testing on Pune roads. Maruti has no plans to launch it in India.
Maruti Suzuki has long been India’s top carmaker, but its line-up comprises mass-market vehicles, not enthusiast cars. In various overseas markets, Maruti’s parent company, Suzuki, offers the Swift Sport, a hot hatch that has largely eluded the Indian market. That is, until now as new spy photos tell us that a Swift Sport has been imported into India, likely as a completely built-up unit (CBU) at great expense by an individual.
You can differentiate the sportier Swift from the regular version by cues such as its reshaped bumpers, a body kit and new 16-inch dual tone alloy wheels that are a size larger than the India-spec Swift’s wheels. At the rear, the Swift Sport gets dual exhaust exits with wide, circular exhaust tips that jut out of the rear bumper.
The Suzuki Swift Sport was first introduced in European markets in 2006. Back then, the first-generation hatchback was powered by a 134PS 1.6-litre petrol engine that we later saw in a detuned state in the SX4 sedan. Despite rumours, the Swift Sport was never introduced in the Indian market.
The current generation Swift Sport is powered by a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine called the K14C Boosterjet. It makes 140PS and 230Nm, enough to propel the car from a standstill to 100kmph in 8.0 seconds! Depending on the market, you can get it with either a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
In the UK and in Europe, the hot hatch is sold with a more efficient K14D 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine that is teamed to a 48-volt mild hybrid system. It makes for a slightly slower Swift Sport (0-100kmph takes 9.1 seconds), but the fuel economy of around 17.9kmpl (WLTP-tested) is impressive and does make amends for the lower state of tune.
In comparison, the India-spec Swift’s 1.2-litre Dual Jet petrol engine (there’s no turbo here) makes 89PS and 113Nm and can be had with either a 5-speed manual or an AMT. Although it isn’t as powerful as the sportier version, it is more fuel efficient – according to Maruti, it’s rated for an economy of 23.20kmpl!
Coming to the car in question, which by the way is not the Euro-spec model, it is likely that the hatchback has been imported from a right-hand drive market in East Asia as it has 16-inch alloy wheels found in countries outside of Europe.
Buying a foreign car in India can be tedious and eye-wateringly expensive even if the carmaker already exists in the country. There are strict conditions on which cars can be imported, and the import cost can increase the price of a car by 150 to 200 per cent with regard to its value from the country of origin. For an already expensive hot hatch such as the Swift Sport, you might end up paying somewhere between Rs 30 lakh and Rs 40 lakh to import and drive it here.
While the Swift Sport might be too pricey to be practical for India, Maruti should consider bringing its strong hybrid counterpart, the Swift Hybrid, to our shores. Honda is set to introduce the City e:HEV and more models from the Toyota-Maruti joint venture are expected to follow. In times of skyrocketing fuel prices, Indian buyers are more likely to pay the premium for better fuel efficiency.
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