Lit­tle Suzi wakes up

For 2014, it’s a case of in with the old, the new and the fa­mil­iar

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News - CRAIG DUFF

A HATCH with SUV pre­ten­sions will spear­head Suzuki’s push to be seen as more than the Swift car com­pany.

The S-Cross suc­ceeds the SX-4 in show­rooms from Jan­uary and Suzuki Aus­tralia gen­eral man­ager Tony Dev­ers pre­dicts it will dou­ble sales to about 500 ve­hi­cles a month.

He says there is more to come in 2014, from the Cele­rio light car that will suc­ceed the Alto to the IV-4 soft-roader that will sell along­side the S-Cross for buy­ers who want the el­e­vated driv­ing po­si­tion of an SUV.

Suzuki Aus­tralia also pushed suc­cess­fully for a ver­sion of the Jimny Sierra 4WD equipped with elec­tronic sta­bil­ity gear .

“Why would you walk away from some­thing every­body loves?” Dev­ers says.

“It is the big­gest sell­ing-small SUV in Europe. The ESP is part of a ma­jor facelift and we should have it late next year.”

The S-Cross will sell in 2WD and AWD vari­ants, with the front-wheel-drive mod­els ex­pected to ac­count for about 80 per cent of sales.

The base GL model will use a five-speed man­ual and the start­ing price will be $22,990, stretch­ing to $34,990 for the leather-up­hol­stered GLX Pres­tige with a con­stantly vari­able trans­mis­sion and seven-step man­ual mode op­er­ated via pad­dle shifters.

The hatch ini­tially will come with­out the Fiat-built diesel en­gine avail­able in Europe, re­ly­ing in­stead on a light­weight chas­sis and fru­gal 1.6-litre four­cylin­der petrol en­gine to bet­ter the power-to-weight fig­ures and fuel con­sump­tion of many of its com­peti­tors.

“Diesel is im­por­tant to our mar­ket but it’s not on our radar in the midterm fu­ture,” Dev­ers says. “We just can’t get it yet.” Suzuki Aus­tralia man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Mac Kato says the diesel is not yet avail­able with an au­to­mated trans­mis­sion, which lim­its its ap­peal to Aus­tralian buy­ers.

“We have asked for an au­to­matic and they are work­ing for it but it will be one to two years away,” Kato says.

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