To say that the Maruti Suzuki Dzire is the undisputed king of the sub-four metre sedan segment in India is an understatement. The segment has grown exponentially over the past years and the despite increasing competition, the Dzire's position at the top has been unchallenged. And today, Maruti Suzuki has taken the wraps off the all-new, 2017 Dzire, built to ensure its reign at the top continues. The car will be launched on May 16, 2017 and deliveries will begin soon thereafter.
The 2017 Dzire is based on Suzuki's Heartect platform that also underpins the successful, Baleno hathcback. Suzuki had unveiled the 2017 Swift hatchback, a few months ago, and the new Dzire, in essence is the sedan version. The very fact that Maruti Suzuki chose to launch the Dzire before the new Swift values is testament of how important the compact sedan is for the company and its ambitions for the market.
The design is completely new and the top spec, Z variants will get auto headlamps with LED projectors and DRLs. The grille is finished in chrome, complete with a wraparound strip that outlines the edges, which aims to make the car look a lot more elegant and in contrast with the sporty Swift.
The wheelbase has gone up by 20 mm which should translate to increased rear legroom, addressing one of the drawbacks that plauged the previous generation Swift. The longer wheelbase also helps with the appearance of the side profile of the car. The boot is neatly integrated and is not as stubby as the one on the outgoing models. The bootspace, at 380-litres, has increased by 60-litres.
While the car has grown bigger in terms of dimensions, its weight has reduced by 105 kilos (diesel variant).
The car is powered by the same set of diesel and petrol motors that have been doing duty in the previous Dzires for quite some time now. Besides a five-speed manual, the Dzire will also get an AMT.
The reduced weight will surely improve performance and fuel-efficiency, this off course, aided by the low-resistance Bridgestone Ecopia EP150 tyres.
The interiors are a mix of beige and black and the car is loaded to the gills with features such as auto AC, climate control, touchscreen infotainment system and a lot more. The flat-bottomed steering wheel is similar to the 2017 Swift's with wood finish inserts, also present across the dashboard.
Maruti Suzuki says the Dzire meets all crash safety ratings and it's commendable that the company has offered dual airbags, ABS and ISOFIX seats as standard across the range.
While it appears that the new Dzire is a pretty strong product, the competition is also quite well prepared for the onslaught.
Hyundai India recently launched the 2017 Xcent, and it too has received a raft of changes, both on the outside and inside. The fluidic design language does look good, though the Elantra inspired grille does look a bit out of place. The headlamps are conventional, halogen units and the Xcent gets LED DRLs, placed right above the fog lamps. The rear end is also revised and the wrap around tail lamps looks striking, while at the same time increasing the sense of width of the car.
The interiors have also been revised, with good use of quality switchgear and a new touchscreen infotainment system that's miles ahead of the unit in the previous Xcent. The cabin is also quite feature loaded and Hyundai's material quality too has improved.
The Xcent gets an 83PS, 1.2-litre petrol motor and a 75 PS, 1.2-litre three-cylinder diesel mill. We were quite impressed with this motor during our road test, particularly with its refinement and driveability.
In terms of safety, the Xcent gets airbags on all variants, however, ABS is only available on the top spec models.
The other new entrant in the sub-compact sedan space is Tata Motor's stylish Tigor. The Styleback, as Tata prefers to call it, cuts a rather impressive shape. The way the boot has been integrated is quite impressive and it definitely does not look ungainly, or worse, a stick-on job. In fact, at 419-litres, the Tigor has the largest boot in among the cars here.
The 15 inch diamond-cut alloys look stunning too, however, they are only available in the top spec petrol motor. The Tigor gets projector headlamps and LED tail lights and the wide, high-mount LED stop lamp, a-la the Audi A7, are other highlights of the design.
The interior space is quite impressive, considering the dimensions and the fact that the car has the shortest wheelbase among this quartet.
Tata too has incorporated a long list of features, including the Harman sourced touchscreen infotainment system that sounds quite good.
The Tigor's diesel motor, at 70PS is the least powerful among these cars and as our first drive revealed, has a very narrow powerband which is a bit of an irritant as frequent shifts are required.
The Volkswagen Ameo is another threat to the Dzire and it too packs quite a punch. Being a Volkswagen, solid build and great quality is one of its strongest attributes. The paint finish, for instance, is one of the best in the segment. The car is based on Polo, albeit with the wheelbase extended by a small amount.
It looks quite similar to its hatchback sibling, when viewed head on but that's not a bad thing since the design is quite handsome, even now. The boot does look a bit stubby, when you look at the side profile of the car, but it's not an eyesore, for sure. The stubby boot also translates to a 330-litre boot capacity, the smallest here.
The interiors too boast of typical VW build quality and this car too has a pretty impressive set of features, including auto headlamps and rain sensing wipers. The Ameo also has the most powerful engine in this spec-test, at 110PS and 250Nm. Its also the only car in its segment to get a 7-speed, dual clutch transmission, which again is vastly superior to regular CVTs or AMTs.
With the competition at par with the Dzire, it's not going to be too easy for the segmet leader. While we await to pit it against its rivals in a full-fledged comparison test, take a look at the table below and see how the new Maruti-Suzuki stacks up against its rivals, on paper.
Here's our walk-around video of the 2017 Maruti Suzuki Dzire: