By BRENWIN NAIDU
WHEN Suzuki came on the scene again not too long ago, its small hatchback offering, the Swift was rather exciting to look at. It boasted spoonfuls of attitude, with a sporty, low-to-the-ground stance. There was also the Swift Sport – the subject of wistful dreaming for boy racers like myself. And I’m still dreaming, because I am yet to drive that swift-looking Swift Sport.
Suzuki recently launched the new Swift range – promising to be “More Swift”. In my opinion, a more upmarket, mature kind of appearance has been achieved with the aesthetic changes on the new model. Looking at the Swift, it still gives the impression of agility, with its firm, planted pose. It does seem more refined, and sophisticated, something that a real grown-up would buy, not a boy racer seeking to impress his friends, and the dames. Safety will be one of the big selling points of the Swift in the dealerships: It received the maximum five-star rating in the revised Euro Ncap tests.
Apart from the more obvious exterior changes, the new Swift employs a 1.4-litre engine, rather than the 1.5-litre powerplant that featured in the outgoing version. It produces 70-kilowatts and 130 Newton-metres of torque. As for the 0-100km/h dash, a time of 10,9 seconds is promised for the Swift manual and 12.3 seconds for the automatic.
Kicking-off the range is the starter Swift GL. There doesn’t seem to be many exterior trinkets adorned by the GL: it’s got colour-coded door handles and 15-inch steel wheels with wheel caps. As standard in the GL, you get electric power steering, electric windows for front and rear, air-conditioning, dual front airbags, ABS and a factory-fitted alarm and immobiliser system. Now with the GLS you get some 16-inch alloy wheels and front fog lights. There are also niceties like a keyless-start transmitter, which means that you needn’t fumble for your set of keys when nearing your Swift. In the GLS there’s also an MP3-compatible radio, with CD-player, as well as accommodation for music devices through a USB drive. Opting for the GLS Automatic version would make sense if you’re constantly driving in that congestion typical of Johannesburg.
Prices for the new Swift range from R152 900 for the GL Manual, to R183 900 for the GLS Automatic. There’s the benefit of a three-year/100 000 km warranty and a standard four-year/ 60 000 km service plan. For added peace of mind, the price is inclusive of an AA roadside assistance plan.