Team ICB put both the petrol and diesel variants of the 2012 Dzire compact sedan through the paces and here is our experience of Maruti Suzuki”s latest product, and one which will be launched a few hours from now. The Maruti Dzire sedan was first launched in 2008, and ever since has managed to clock more than 330,000 units nationally. How do you improve upon a product that has been running rings around the competition despite a love-it-hate-it design? That was one question we were wondering about even before getting behind the wheels of the new Dzire variants. Talking of which, we’ll begin with just that, the design, shall we?
The Maruti Suzuki Dzire is now well within into the realm of compact sedans with the overall length measuring a touch under 4 meters. What it means is, the new Dzire’s boot is a compact unit, a far cry from the bulbous rear the older Dzire came with. This compactness of the boot actually means that the Dzire is quite a looker from many angles, especially the front and the rear three quarters. Coming to the front end, the 2012 Dzire is very similar to the all new Swift, a car with which it shares its platform with, just like the older Swift and Dzire of yore.
While the headlamps show the typical flair like the new Swift, the Dzire differentiates itself from its hatchback sibling with an all new grille and bumper design. These standout design elements will ensure that the Dzire will not be mistaken for either the new Swift or even say, the older Dzire. From the sides though, the taller stance of the new Dzire makes the design lose some sense of proportion. Buckling up into the new Dzire, the first thing that will strike you is the vast improvement in quality of the interiors. We could go out on a wing and even say that the new Dzire’s interiors is next only to the Kizashi and the Grand Vitara and that is quite a statement to make.
Although the new Dzire shares the dashboard with the new Swift, the colors that Maruti has chosen for the Dzire’s dashboard makes the car feel a lot more premium than the Swift. The interplay between beige and black along with a sparing use of faux wood inserts mean that living with the 2012 Dzire will be a lot more appealing. The powder coated door latches are especially a nice touch. The dashboard now ensconces the neatly integrated stereo and the automatic climate control unit, features that existing Dzire owners sorely missed.
Also, the instrumentation console now brings a multi information display function to the table, which is quite a handy feature. While the 2012 Dzire’s driver seat was a perfect fit ergonomically for taller drivers, the vertically challenged folks amongst us will need some adjusting to arrive at the perfect driving position. One reason for this is a plastic panel just over the clutch pedal which keeps hitting the left foot, and this can get annoying over a period of time. The only way around this ergonomic issue is finding a driving position that eliminates contact between the leg and the panel.
This apart, the driving position of the Dzire is bog similar to that of the Swift with decent visibility all around. The high boot though could make reversing a spot of a bother for shorter folks although the shorter length of the 2012 Dzire will more than compensate for this. Coming to the space inside the car, the new Dzire is 5mm wider than the outgoing model, and the increase in width wouldn’t have been perceptible if not for the interiors. The beige upholstery for the seat and the dual tone dashboard, along with the 25mm increase in height over the older Dzire means that the new model feels quite airy.
While three well built adults on the rear seat will be bit of a squeeze, the scooped out rear ends of the front seats means that additional legroom of 20 mm is liberated. Then, there’s the 40mm increase in wheelbase(Remember, the 2012 Dzire uses a modified platform from the new Swift) will make for a very comfortable rear seat, especially when sitting two abreast. Bluetooth is a feature you’ll sorely miss although the Dzire does get stereo controls on the steering. Safety wise, the top end model gets ABS, EBD and twin airbags. So,that’s pretty much what the competition offers.
We drove both the petrol and diesel variants of the new Dzire, with both variants using the all new Swift’s petrol and diesel engines. The 1.2 liter K-series unit with dual variable valve timing produces a peak power of 86 Bhp and a peak torque of 114 Nm. The engine revs eagerly right from word go and the power delivery is quite creamy although the motor begs to be revved to get the best out of it. Hustle ‘er and she’ll respond right back. Just like the new Swift, the 1.2 Liter K-series engine on the Dzire loves to be given the stick and mated to the slick shfting five speed gearbox, the 2012 Dzire is quite a drivers package.
Handling is top notch, and is very similar to the Swift. In fact, you’d to be hard pressed to find any difference in the handling between the Swift and the new 2012 Dzire, expect perhaps when pushed hard, where the Swift will get its nose ahead in the twisties, thanks to its excellent and neutral balance. The tyres though will give up soon before the Dzire’s limits can be put to test. Coming to the diesel engined 2012 Dzire, the car features the same fixed geometry turbo based 1.3 Fiat Multijet diesel, which has come to become our national engine for the sheer numbers and models it powers.
This 75 Bhp-190 Nm diesel motor feels quite responsive but the edge that the previous generation unit found on the older Dzire and Swift is missing. While the older engine felt punchier, the new engine feels more linear. While this is a good thing for the majority of the 2012 Dzire diesel buyers, folks wanting that punch the Multijet diesel motor delivers in good measure might be a trifle disappointed. A sweetener though is the higher fuel economy. Maruti claims that the new diesel motor is more fuel efficient than ever before.
While we couldn’t check mileage on both the petrol and the diesel variant,we expect a step up from the previous model for all the wight lost and tuning in favor fuel economy.Win some, lose some, then? On the whole, both the petrol and diesel Dzire handle very similar to the Swift, read good. Both the petrol and diesel engines too perform quite like the new Swift, considering that the 2012 Dzire weighs exactly the same as the hatchback, another proof that hatchbacks require additional strengthening and as a consequence are heavier.
Whilst the petrol 2012 Dzire ZXi weighed 990 kilos, the diesel ZDi variant came in at 1080 kilograms. The gear ratios though, might be different although we’ll need Maruti’s confirmation on that. Both the petrol and diesel 2012 Dzires tugged hard in the first three gears, while fourth and fifth felt taller in the interests of higher fuel economy we presume. The ride, while being pliant can get a little unsettling on broken stretches at higher speeds and this is the hangover from the older Swift days. That said, the ride quality has improved by miles compared to the older Swift and Dzire.
Coming to the boot, which is the biggest change on the 2012 Dzire, the car loses out a full 86 liters of boot space to the older model with well, the larger boot-y. While you could get by comfortably with shopping and other sundries, airport transfers and the big bags they tag along with would mean that you’d be better off taking a cab, or if you feel like making your car look like a gargoyle, getting a roof carrier fixed. The 2012 Dzire for the record, comes with a 316 liter boot. Coming to the most crucial aspect of all, pricing, we hear that the new Dzire will be priced slightly higher than the older model justifying the higher level of fit, finish and for that matter, even finesse.
The 2012 Dzire will be available in three variants each, the LXi, VXi and ZXi on petrol and LDi, VDi and ZDi on diesel. Maruti also offers an automatic variant of the Dzire, which is essentially a three speed automatic gearbox with the fourth gear being an overdrive function. The automatic variant will be available only in petrol guise, in the VXi trim. The older version of the Dzire though will continue to do duty as a cut price cabbie special LDi model. If you can live without the bigger boot, we simply suggest that you go for the new 2012 Dzire. It is a humongous improvement over the older model. Oh, judging by the way the older Dzire has sold, the newer one has all the trappings of becoming yet another best seller for Maruti Suzuki.
Images and Impressions: Amber Goyal and Mohammed Imran
Text: Jay Prashanth M