I DROVE THE SWIFT THIS MONTH AND I CAN tell you I like it very much. Some of my peers complained about too much understeer, some cried out for 20 more horsepower and all moaned about the automated manual transmission, but you have to be practical. At this price what more can you expect? In this segment, fuel efficiency is A Very Big Deal and that equals to understeer, though it’s hardly of the extravagant slide-off-the-mountain variety. Instead we should all be grateful for the fact that the Swift is still fun to drive. And start clamouring for a Swift RS. A proper Swift RS.
No, I’ve not forgotten about the Swift Sport but let us be realistic – that is about as likely as Formula 1 coming back to India. A Swift RS, despite the Baleno RS not setting any sales charts on fire, is on the drawing board. But this time round let’s do the RS badge justice.
Start with the 1-litre turbo petrol but don’t go overboard asking for more horsepower. That we can leave to the tuners and their laptops. In any case, with the Swift now weighing well under a tonne, 101bhp is good enough to put a big smile on your face. But what we definitely want are proper boots. An upsize to 16-inch rubber is enough, too much grip and not only will fuel efficiency get murdered (not that I care about that) but it’ll kill the playful, slidey, nature of the Swift, a key factor that makes it fun to drive. Stiffer and slightly lowered suspension is a must to tie down the body and better exploit that eager-beaver of a front end. A major side effect is that the lowered suspension will dramatically improve the stance of the Swift. Add a neat little body kit and you’ve got a hot looking car.
Make it sound hot too – an exhaust that growls and farts adds 20bhp in the driver’s head, if not 30. You can’t do anything about the electric power steering so forget about it (though somehow it has become better than the Baleno’s despite sharing the same platform), just throw in a sporty steering wheel and snugger seats and you’re done. And most importantly don’t offer it in just one fully-loaded (and consequently expensive) variant. How about an RSlite that petrolheads can use as a (semi) blank canvas to which they add the wheels, suspension, exhaust, stereo and assorted luxuries of their choice? Or strip it even further to go racing or rallying with?
Where do we sign up Maruti? l
‘We should be grateful for the fact that the Swift is still fun to drive. And start clamouring for a Swift RS’