Maruti-Suzuki Swift vs Hyundai i20 vs Honda Jazz

The Maruti Suzuki Swift has been launched in an all new avatar. The Hyundai i20 too gets a mid-life facelift. The Honda Jazz con­tin­ues to be unique. But which one shines?

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In the re­cently con­cluded Auto Expo 2018 there was plenty to be ex­cited about. For starters, one of In­dia’s favourite hatch­back was get­ting a makeover and need­less to say, there was a cer­tain buzz in the at­mos­phere. Which was in­fec­tious to say the least. Adding to this ex­cite­ment was the fact that Maruti-Suzuki’s Swift wasn’t the only hatch mak­ing car lovers anx­ious. To set the bar higher than it al­ready was in the hatch world, South Korean car man­u­fac­turer Hyundai also had an­other trick up their sleeve. While Maruti-Suzuki launched the swank­ing Swift, Hyundai launched the re­freshed edi­tion of i20 to com­bat it. Both are well de­signed, fea­ture-loaded cars, there­fore for our this month’s road test, pitch­ing them against each other was in­evitable. And while we were at it, we de­cided to spice up the process and give our readers an­other choice to pon­der over. This is why, we threw in the equally

ca­pa­ble Honda Jazz. So which one should you opt for? Read on and see which one fits your lik­ing.


The Swift is all new and by that Maruti-Suzuki means just that. The new hatch is based on the new HEARTEC plat­form which un­der­pins the big­ger Baleno as well. It is also wider than be­fore and even has a larger wheel­base. How­ever the over­all length has re­duced slightly. The new Swift also stays true to its orig­i­nal design. It is un­mis­tak­ably the Swift. How­ever there are nu­mer­ous changes one can spot in­stan­ta­neously. It now gets pro­jec­tor head­lamps with in-built day­time run­ning lights. The bumpers have changed both up front and at the back. In pro­file it’s easy to miss out the rear door han­dles and that is be­cause de­sign­ers have clev­erly repo­si­tioned within the C-pil­lars. This is in a bid to give the Swift a coupe’ look and we’d like to be­lieve that com­pany has come pretty close. Over­all the chunky tyres and com­pact di­men­sions all give the Swift a sporty hue. Which es­sen­tially main­tains the essence of the car.

The i20 on the other hand re­ceived a mid-life facelift. But in sync with Hyundai’s game plan of seg­ment dom­i­na­tion, the com­pany has loaded it up with even more fea­tures than be­fore. Take for in­stance the head­lamps which now are pro­jec­tors. A day­time run­ning light has also been added, not to for­get the ex­tremely handy cor­ner­ing lights are also a new ad­di­tion. The wheels are re­done and at the same time the tail lamps have been re­designed and look rather dashing. The new colour schemes look good on the i20 and our per­sonal choice is the unique two-tones. The Jazz, on the other end fea­tures a rather racy design. The ‘man max­i­mum machine min­i­mum’ phi­los­o­phy en­sures this hatch­back of­fers a large cabin. To do this the wheels have been to the far­thest cor­ners pos­si­ble. The bon­net is stout and we loved those large and edgy head­lamps. The pro­file also re­veals the large green­house and vis­i­bil­ity all around is top class.


The Swift’s in­te­ri­ors have changed dras­ti­cally. Ear­lier the Swift and the Dzire shared sim­i­lar dash­boards and in­stru­ment panel. But this time round they are dif­fer­ent from each other. The dash of the new Swift main­tains a sporty theme which com­ple­ments its ex­te­rior as well and makes the car look bal­anced inside out. The cen­tre con­sole houses the cli­mate con­trol sys­tem which now look good. The num­ber of but­tons has been re­duced and the dis­play looks smart and mod­ern. The re­duc­tion in the num­ber of knobs is also be­cause the Swift now gets the large touch­screen in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem. This is the same sys­tem de­ployed in the Baleno and Brezza and sup­ports An­droid and Ap­ple Car Play. The IP is lined with a non-in­tru­sive red back light and is easy to read. It

also of­fers plenty of in­for­ma­tion to the driver. Adding to the fea­ture list is the key less en­try and go. As for the space, the new Swift sure is spa­cious up front. Get­ting the right driv­ing po­si­tion is easy thanks to the height ad­justable driver’s perch. To be fair, we must add that the other two cars have sim­i­lar fea­tures too. The Swift is spa­cious than be­fore but as far as this front is con­cerned, it can­not be called the best in class. And this fact stands out as a sore thumb in the rear seat­ing. How­ever the Swift does get a 60:40 split seats which aid ver­sa­til­ity. The boot can now hold 268 litres of cargo.

The i20 cabin feels plusher and the twotone treat­ment makes the cabin bright. The AVN sys­tem has been up­graded to a larger and more loaded unit and it can now be con­nected to your mo­bile phone via an ap­pli­ca­tion. The in­stru­ment clus­ter of­fers more in­for­ma­tion than be­fore like the in­stant fuel econ­omy op­tion. The steer­ing wheel is ad­justable for both reach and rake now. It is also per­haps apt to men­tion here that Hyundai

will sell the i20 with an op­tional six airbags, spe­cific to the Asta (O) vari­ant. Lower vari­ants will get two airbags and ABS much like the other two. As for cabin space, the i20 is more spa­cious than the Swift at the back. Get­ting in and out is not a prob­lem and all pas­sen­gers get de­cent legroom and space in the rear. The boot is quite large as well but the i20 does not get the op­tion of split seats. The Jazz gets a rather large dash and an all-new in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem. The cli­mate con­trol sys­tem is op­er­a­ble through a touch­screen panel it’s a cool fea­ture and looks classy. The Jazz has been the bench­mark when it comes to space. The only down­side is the fact that those bril­liant ‘Magic Seats’

are only avail­able in the top vari­ant now. The Jazz also has sev­eral nooks and cran­nies in cabin to stow knick knacks. It also comes with a big boot which can be filled up with rel­a­tive ease thanks to the low load­ing lip.


The mod­els that we tested were all diesel vari­ants. Pow­er­ing the Swift is the tried and tested and su­per re­li­able 1.3-litre DDiS90 en- gine. It is fur­ther mated to the 5-speed gear­box. As for the i20, it too con­tin­ues with the 1.4-litre oil burner and is mated to a 6-speed gear­box. The Jazz on the other hand gets the big­gest en­gine here in form of the 1.5-litre i-DTEC mo­tor. Much like the i20, the Jazz too gets a 6-speed box.


The Swift starts up with a fa­mil­iar diesel clat­ter. The en­gine feels more re­spon­sive and pulls well. There sure re­mains the bit of turbo lag as be­fore but it has com­par­a­tively im­proved from be­fore. We ac­tu­ally like the surge in power which comes around the 1,800rpm mark and it gives a sporty feel to the driver. This also means that in case the revs have dropped, a down shift will be nec­es­sary to get the boost back. This brings us to the gear­box which is crisp and bril­liant to op-

er­ate. The clutch is light too. How­ever the high point in the Swift’s arse­nal is fuel econ­omy. The fig­ures are best de­scribed as stag­ger­ing and if it is ef­fi­ciency you are af­ter, opt for the Swift hands down. The Swift also han­dles well. It is ag­ile and loves to be thrown around cor­ners. Much like the Dzire, the Swift too of­fers ex­cel­lent ride qual­ity.

The steer­ing set of­fers a de­cent amount of feed­back and the re­sponses are quick. Over­all the Swift sure is the driver’s delight. In the i20, all of the above come with more fi­nesse. The NVH pack­ag­ing is bet­ter and the en­gine is not as au­di­ble within the cabin. The big­ger en­gine also al­lows the i20 to get off the line pretty fast de­spite it be­ing a heav­ier car. We love the lin­ear power de­liv­ery of the en­gine and though one will not feel the ‘boost’, ac­cel­er­a­tion re­mains fairly rapid. The gear­box though slick is not as crisp as the Swift or even the Jazz for that mat­ter. How­ever the shifts are easy and the cogs are well iden­ti­fied. The i20 also of­fers a bet­ter ride than be­fore. Bump ab­sorp­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties have im­proved and even han­dling is bet­ter. The bot­tom line is that the i20 now loves cor­ners more than be­fore. The steer­ing though could have of­fered more feed­back.

Com­ing to the Jazz, the mo­tor is noisy and that crackle can be heard clearly in the cabin. Which means there’s no hid­ing its diesel traits. But the best thing about the Jazz is its pulling ca­pa­bil­ity. It goes with ease and there is am­ple power on tap too. Adding to these ac­co­lades is the gear­box which feels slick. The throws are short too and makes it all the more en­joy­able. The Jazz also likes to dance around cor­ners. Show it one and it will cut clean through it like a blade. Body roll is less and the steer­ing feels quick and re­spon­sive. Even though it’s a lar­gish hatch, the Jazz is flick­able.

The Jazz is in­cred­i­bly spa­cious too. Of­fers plenty of room for three

i20 is more spa­cious at the back and it also of­fers a rear AC vent which is of­ten handy

Space in the Swift is far bet­ter than be­fore. How­ever not the best in this lot

1. The Swift cabin is all about be­ing sporty and young. 2. The Honda’s touch­screen cli­mate con­trol panel makes it unique. 3. The Hyundai of­fers a plush and more so­phis­ti­cated cabin ex­pe­ri­ence. So all three cars cater to dif­fer­ent flavours

All three hatch­backs get touch­screen sys­tems. 1. The one on the Swift is iden­ti­cal to the Brezza and Baleno. 2. The Honda’s unit looks a bit old school in com­par­i­son to the oth­ers. 3. The Hyundai gets a brand new in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem which is larger and...

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