Over 16,500 Maruti Dzires are sold every month, making it the most selling compact sedan in its class. And the class that the Dzire is in, is no less competitive. Looking at the figures, it was not surprising that Maruti Suzuki launched the Dzire first. The new Swift, which the Dzire draws heavily from, is yet to arrive. This reflects the confidence the company has in its new compact sedan, the 2017 Dzire.
Measuring less than four-meters in length, the new car flaunts better proportions than the one it replaces. The front, with those almond-shaped lights, draws attention. Complementing the frontal appearance is the horizontal slat grille with a chrome surround. The chrome accents built into the chunky bumper contribute to the fresh look of the car.
Walk over, and the side profile comes into view. It has soft curves and flowing lines. Ditto at the rear. The rake of the rear windshield contributes to the rear looking decidedly better than that of the earlier car. The LED tail-lamps look smart, and so does the chrome strip connecting them.
Like the all-new exterior, the interior of the car is all-new. The colour scheme is beige and black. The feel of the plastics is hard, and quality is not as different as the trim part of the earlier car. There are some bits that look nice; the flat-bottom steering wheel, and the instrument console, which looks sporty. The front seats are supportive. The height of the driver’s seat is adjustable and the steering, tilt-adjustable. The audio system surprisingly feels a bit out of place.
If the wood insert on the dash draws attention, on close inspection, it looks built to a cost. The front passenger footwell seems to intrude into the legroom. What results in good legroom at the rear over the earlier car is the change in wheelbase. The wheelbase of the new Dzire is 2450mm compared to the previous version’s 2430 mm wheelbase. Tall people may find the head room just about enough. At 1735mm, three adults will have to squeeze to fit in the back seat. The boot offers 378-litres of storage space, but the loading lip is a bit high.
The 83hp, 1.2-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine is the same as that of the earlier car. It is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, and an automated manual gearbox. Refined and barely audible at idle, the car responds well (better than the earlier model) with a linear spread of power. A sporty note emanates as revs rise past 3500rpm, and the engine continues to exert a pull. That is until 6300rpm. Maximum torque of 113Nm at 4200rpm means the most pull is available in this region. The five-speed manual transmission makes for a light and smooth drive. The automated manual gearbox does a good job of swapping gears. Manual over-ride enhances the driving experience. On the highway, it makes overtaking quicker.
Noticeable delay is felt before a strong pull exerts itself on the 75bhp, 1.3-litre diesel engine Dzire. The pull is strong and the engine revs up well. But it feels loud, and a bit clattery. At higher revs it even sounds crude. Good gearing ensures good driveability in town, though some revving may be essential to get over that initial lag.
Lighter than the car its replaces, the new Dzire rides better. Body movements are well controlled, and road undulations are absorbed well. The steering of the diesel feels heavier than that of the petrol. Handling shows noticeable improvement over the earlier car. Especially the straight-line stability. The 185/65 tyres feel narrow, and have an effect on taking quick turns. Offering EBD and dual airbags as standard, the new Dzire, with prices starting at Rs 5.45 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi for the petrol variant, and at Rs 6.45 lakh ex-showroom Delhi for the diesel variant, marks a big improvement over its predecessor. What makes it lead the class, is the 22kmpl fuel efficiency the petrol version is claimed to offer, and the 28.4kmpl fuel efficiency the diesel version is claimed to offer. And this is despite the fact that GST is likely to alter the dynamics of the segment the Dzire is in.
Pros: All-new exterior and interior, more legroom at the rear, refined petrol, ride
Cons: Cramped rear seat, light steering of petrol feels less connected on highway