Suzuki’s Swift auto not as nimble

2009-10-08 13:05

THE Japanese makes me think of sushi and samurai warriors. I happen

to like both.

It was was no surprise when the Suzuki Swift made its local debut

last year – and the shape of the car reminded me of a samurai warrior

helmet.

It has sharp lines, symbolising a warrior’s sword and it is aptly

named the Swift. The manual model proved to be exactly that too. Changing gears

was simple on the five-speed gearbox and while it looked charming it was

spacious as well.

I recently drove the automatic 1.5 GLS version and for some reason

I was disappointed in the performance. I guess I was looking for that lively

response that I got from the manual transmission and then thought perhaps the

four-speed gearbox had to wake-up a bit.

After driving a while, I realised that was as good as was going to

get and I would have to deal with the sluggish gearbox even though the gear

changing itself seemed smooth.

Nonetheless, I forgot all about that minor detail when traffic

seemed to be at its worse that week. That is when I forgave any qualms I might

have had about the car.

Stuck in Johannesburg’s bumper-to-bumper traffic, the car’s

throttle was smooth enough to crawl along in a snail’s pace. There was no jerky

braking either.

Even in those jam-packed traffic, the Swift’s highlight has to be

its low fuel consumption. Its fuel tank has a capacity of 43 litres and the

average fuel consumption for a combined cycle is only 6.5 litres/100km.

The automatic model delivers 74kW of power and 133Nm of torque and

has a claimed top speed of 175km/h.

The car is equipped with an anti-lock brake system along with

electronic brake force distribution and brake assist systems.

On a safety front, there are dual front, side and curtain

airbags.

While leg room is enough in the rear seats, taller passengers might

not be able to stretch their legs completely. The car also looks rather short to

compliment its hatch-shape. When the boot is opened it looks small until the

“floor-board” is lifted and a second compartment is revealed.

This is ideal when you want to keep more valuable items such as a

laptop or handbag out of sight.

Pricing is R172 900 for the 1.5 auto, while the manual model is

almost R15 000 cheaper. It is not a bad car and makes a good package with

stylish looks, good fuel consumption and sufficient performance. I would still

prefer the manual model though.


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