Just the (Ital­ian) job

New Swift is the old clas­sic with a Euro makeover, writes Craig Duff

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive -

IT’S a case of back to the fu­ture for the new­est in­car­na­tion of the Suzuki Swift. The cur­rent car has been a main­stay for Suzuki, with two mil­lion sales since its launch in 2005, so a ma­jor over­haul of the light car is re­served for the me­chan­i­cals and chas­sis.

The vis­ual style is a mod­ern in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the pre­vi­ous model.

The base price is also based on the pre­vi­ous model: at $15,990 it is the same as the 2005 model cost.

Value

THE new Suzuki Swift is a main­stay of Suzuki Aus­tralia’s op­er­a­tions.

The com­pany has sold 65,000 of the ex­ist­ing model cars.

Suzuki Aus­tralia gen­eral man­ager Tony Dev­ers says the new model — with the catch­line ‘‘More Swift’’ — will ac­count for a 10 per cent sales boost.

The base-model GA (there’s no model-spe­cific badg­ing on any Swift model, so pick them by look) comes with steel 15-inch rims, plain door han­dles and side mir­rors, power win­dows and mir­rors, a four-speaker sound sys­tem with USB and iPod con­nec­tiv­ity, a five-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion and drum rear brakes.

It also packs seven airbags and elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol into the mix.

Step up $700 to the mid-spec GL, there’s 15-inch al­loys, a body-coloured door han­dles and mir­rors, mir­ror­mounted side in­di­ca­tors, a leather steer­ing wheel with au­dio con­trols, and a six-speaker sound sys­tem.

There’s also a tacho, which will be more im­por­tant for man­ual own­ers than those who spend the ex­tra $ 1700 for the op­tional four-speed au­to­matic.

The top-spec GLX costs $18,990 and adds all-round disc brakes, 16-inch al­loys, Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity, a steer­ing wheel that ad­justs for reach and height, key­less en­try and start/ stop but­ton and front fog lamps.

Tech­nol­ogy

THE ‘‘New Swift’’ is more — and in some cases less — of the same. And that’s good for buy­ers.

The en­gine has been down­sized from 1.5 to 1.4 litres, but the new pow­er­plant is lighter, help­ing to off­set the drop to 70kW and 130Nm, from the 1.5’s 74kW/133Nm.

The flip is petrol use is down from 6.3 litres/100km to 5.5, which puts the Swift at the top of the class on fuel use. CO emis­sions are 132g/km.

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All cars now have the elec­tronic throt­tle con­trol pre­vi­ously re­served for the sporty Swift S model.

The chas­sis is lighter and stronger and the MacPherson strut front and tor­sion beam rear have been over­hauled.

Cruise con­trol isn’t a op­tion — yet. Dev­ers says he’s aware how im­por­tant it is in Aus­tralia ‘‘ and the com­pany is work­ing with us’’, sug­gest­ing it will be an op­tion sooner rather than later.

All cars come with iPod/USB con­nec­tiv­ity

Styling

AN ITAL­IAN in­ter­pre­ta­tion on the orig­i­nal de­sign led to the lat­est look for the Swift.

Suzuki sent two teams to Europe— one to France and one to Italy — to con­ceive a new style for the Swift and it was the Ital­ian-based team’s mod­ern ap­proach to evolv­ing the de­sign that won.

The re­sult is a glass pro­file that pro­gres­sively nar­rows from the front win­dows to the rear, a big­ger front grille, front and rear lights that now sweep around the top side edges of the car and a much smarter in­te­rior.

Sil­ver high­lights help break up the black dash and, while the plas­tics aren’t at Euro-touch soft­ness, they

City slicker: The new model is top of the class for fuel econ­omy.

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