Swift gets over­haul

Suzuki’s new hatch will keep the same ba­sic look, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

THE car that changed ev­ery­thing for Suzuki is due for a change of its own. The Swift drove Suzuki in a more Euro­pean di­rec­tion and put style and driv­ing en­joy­ment ahead of a bor­ing ba­sic bot­tom line.

Now the Ja­panese baby that was the cars­Guide Car of the Year in 2005 is be­ing com­pletely re­vamped.

The new ver­sion has been seen dur­ing pri­vate prov­ing-ground tests and, de­spite a gi­ant burqa dis­guis­ing the de­tails, it will clearly fea­ture a con­tin­u­a­tion of the same ba­sic look.

The Swift still has a rounded front end, a short rear over­hang and a sexy tail.

The Carparazzi team says the next Swift will go pub­lic at the Paris Mo­tor Show next year, which means it’s lit­tle more than a year from a fi­nal pro­duc­tion sign-off.

‘‘We won’t get it un­til the end of next year,’’ Suzuki Aus­tralia gen­eral man­ager Tony Dev­ers says.

He can­not and will not go into de­tail on the car, but ad­mits Suzuki is close to a ground-up re­vamp.

‘‘The cur­rent Swift has been so suc­cess­ful they won’t de­vi­ate from the ba­sic style. We’ll wait and see, but it’s likely to be a lit­tle big­ger and a bit more roomy in­side.’’

Carparazzi fore­casts sev­eral changes for the Swift, in­clud­ing an all-wheel drive and a diesel op­tion.

There also are ru­mours of a hy­brid ver­sion, but not un­til 2011 or 2012.

The Swift has been a huge suc­cess for Suzuki in Aus­tralia, but Dev­ers says the com­pany is plan­ning a ma­jor model ex­pan­sion.

‘‘In Aus­tralia we’ve sold al­most 60,000 Swifts. In the early days it was about 60 per cent of sales and it’s still close to half,’’ Dev­ers says.

‘‘Our big­gest is­sue is still our lim­ited model range.

‘‘The Alto will start to change that, and then we get the Kizashi (mid­sized sedan) next year. We should see the pro­duc­tion Kizashi to­wards the end of this year.’’

No shocks: the new Suzuki Swift will be a lit­tle big­ger.

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