The reliable and lovable Maruti Esteem has breathed its last after having served us gloriously for over 14 years. With the demise of the Esteem, the mantle of Maruti's entry-level segment has fallen into the hands of the recently launched Maruti Swift Dzire. With the Dzire Maruti has taken Tata's approach by attaching a boot behind the Swift hatchback. From the front the Dzire looks almost identical to the Swift hatchback barring only the front radiator grille. The sideline of the Swift Dzire is similar to the Swift hatchback till the B-pillar, but beyond that differences are clearly visible.

The rear seems to have been stretched to make the Swift into a sedan. The rear doors have been stretched and redesigned to make them more appropriate for a sedan. From the back the Dzire looks a tad like the SX4 with a chrome strip running over the space for the registration plate. The large peeled back tail lamps have been modified to include a horizontal strip at the bottom incorporating both the turn signal and reversing light.

When the car is viewed from the back it looks attractive but when seen from the side, the front and the rear of the car don't seem to gel together. From this angel the Dzire looks disproportionate and looks as if two different cars have been fused together.

The Dzire, which is based on the Swift, shares many of its components with the latter. However for a longer car, its disappointing to see that Suzuki engineers decided to retain the same wheelbase as that of the Swift, which makes for the same cramped rear. The Dzire sits on 14-inch tyres, which look small for the car. 15-inches would have done a better job of filling up the gaping wheel wells. The finishing is not very impressive either with uneven panel gapping especially around the rear door and the boot, but the Dzire is not all bad. It has a generous size boot, comes loaded with features and is easy on the pocket.

The interior of the Dzire though quite similar to its hatchback sibling, looks better with beige coloured seat upholstery. The front seats, which have also been carried over from the Swift offer excellent support and remain very comfortable even on long drives. The Swift-like dashboard is well finished and comes with an integrated stereo, whose controls are all mounted on the steering wheel. ABS, airbags and climate control all come standard on the top-of-the-line ZXi model.

The same 1.3 litre petrol engine that did duty in the now defunct Esteem powers the Dzire. Churning out 87bhp the engine feels more refined than Swift's however. Also available is the brilliant 1.3litre DDiS diesel engine packing 75 horses. Priced in between Rupees 4.5 lakhs to 5.9 lakhs for the petrol and Rupees 5.4 lakhs to 6.7 lakhs for the diesel, the Dzire is sure priced very competitively. Even though the 3-box Swift may not have the looks to die for, it sure is an enticing package and great value for money. The Dzire might just do for Maruti what the Indigo did for Tata.

Source: Full Throttle
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