There are independent outfits that run parallel to the R&D setups of auto companies. These outfits do a very simple job – bring the car down to every nut and bolt and study them carefully for metallurgy, strength, materials used and longevity in terms of service, before making a report and providing them to rival auto companies. I’m sure that the Maruti Suzuki Swift’s report was in the hands of the companies who make the other three cars here before they went around developing their own.
It really is the class benchmark. When it was first launched in 2005, it came across as a breath of fresh air, and even today with sales crossing the 10,000 units a month mark, it is the car to beat in the marketplace. So there’s no doubt that Volkswagen, Ford and Nissan have done all they can to usurp the Swift. Except that it’s not as easy as it looks.
What the Swift has done is offer a complete package at a price that is still quite delicious to most Indian middle-class palates. And the newest entrant, the Nissan Micra, has its work cut out in not just beating the Swift but ensuring it becomes the new class benchmark. But can it? We drove all four cars back and forth and analysed every single bit before coming to a conclusion. We warn you though, it could change when the next new hatch is launched, which
could be a few months from now. Class benchmarks, from here on, are bound
to change rather rapidly.