UP IN SIZE, LIGHT ON GEAR

Suzuki’s lively Swift run­about gains space but the base man­ual leaves a lot out

Mercury (Hobart) - Motoring - - MOTORING - PAUL & ALI GOVER

The Suzuki Swift has al­ways been a smart choice in the baby-car class.

Now the third-gen­er­a­tion Swift has ar­rived as part of a new-model push by the Ja­panese brand.

THE PICK-UP

PAUL: I’ve been look­ing for­ward to the new Swift. It’s been one of my favourite small cars over the years.

ALI: I’m not so keen on the look this time. I’ve al­ways liked the Swift but this one seems to have grown a bit and it has a big butt.

PAUL: It’s look­ing that way be­cause Suzuki has tried to im­prove the cabin space with­out mak­ing the car any big­ger over­all.

ALI: So, it’s now shorter but has a big­ger foot­print on the road. How does that work?

PAUL: They push the wheels out closer to the cor­ners of the body pan­els. This time, Suzuki has also set the seats lower to keep the same head­room in a car with a lower roof for bet­ter wind re­sis­tance.

ALI: They say the seats are pushed slightly fur­ther apart for im­proved com­fort, too, but we’ll see.

THE BAG­GAGE

PAUL: I’m look­ing in the boot and I’m shocked. It’s where car com­pa­nies hide their cost cut­ting and the costs have been slashed on this one.

ALI: That white sty­ro­foam on the sides looks as if we’ve or­dered some­thing from China and it’s still in the orig­i­nal pack­ag­ing. Other com­pa­nies at least use black plas­tic so it blends in.

PAUL: It’s an­other of the cars where the seat backs don’t fold fully flat, which is one of my cur­rent nig­gles. You get a hump where the boot meets the seats, which makes it hard if you’re do­ing some­thing like an Ikea run.

ALI: Oth­er­wise it seems pretty good. It does feel pretty roomy in­side for such a small car.

PAUL: I can’t help com­par­ing this to the Ig­nis that we had a cou­ple of weeks ago. This one seems more prac­ti­cal and the Ig­nis was a bit more fun.

ALI: There’s not much hap­pen­ing in­side, with such a ba­sic au­dio. There’s no dis­play screen or re­vers­ing cam­era.

PAUL: It’s a good tac­tic to get peo­ple to spend more in the show­room.

THE COM­MUTE

ALI: We’ve got the ba­sic GL man­ual and I re­ally like the gear­box, which is smooth for some­one who doesn’t usu­ally drive a man­ual.

PAUL: I think it’s fun to drive. It’s only got a 1.2-litre en­gine, no turbo, but it’s still pretty quick and responsive. Be­ing so light helps.

ALI: And the fuel econ­omy is great. It could eas­ily run for a cou­ple of weeks with­out need­ing a servo.

THE SHOP­PING

ALI: It’s great to park. And it’s re­ally easy to han­dle in traf­fic. The turn­ing cir­cle is one of the best we’ve had for a long time.

PAUL: It’s 9.6 me­tres, which Suzuki says is down from 10.4m. I also like the for­ward vi­sion.

ALI: The back win­dows are not good and the roof pil­lar is wide at the back. It’s a car that should have a re­vers­ing cam­era, too.

PAUL: You’re right about the back end. ALI: The more I drive it, the more I re­alise this GL is the base model. I’m com­par­ing it against the Kia Pi­canto, which costs less than the Swift and has more of ev­ery­thing.

PAUL: The Pi­canto is a fair bit smaller but Kia has re­ally set the bar high for bar­gain buy­ers. I think it will be a Car of the Year con­tender.

ALI: In the Swift you have to jump up to the GL Nav­i­ga­tor be­fore you can get the safety pack, which adds $1200.

PAUL: But the Nav­i­ga­tor model is still only $17,990, so for less than $20,000 you can get auto safety brak­ing, lane-de­par­ture warn­ing, auto high-beam and radar cruise con­trol.

ALI: That’s not the point, you’re still be­ing pushed up and up in the show­room. So it’s not $17,000 on the road.

SUN­DAY RUN

PAUL: The Swift is still good fun and a lively drive in the coun­try­side. It’s no sports car but it’s fine on twisty roads. It seems a lit­tle qui­eter than the pre­vi­ous model and the sus­pen­sion works well for the class.

ALI: I like that we’re not bump­ing shoul­ders in the front and Eli seems comfy in the back.

ELI: I’m fine. But it’s pretty ba­sic. Can I have my iPad now?

ALI: No. Look at the cows out­side.

THE FAM­ILY

ALI: This car re­ally isn’t pitched at us. You can tell by the pic­tures on the web­site that they’re af­ter mil­len­ni­als.

PAUL: But it still works fine as a run­about. It would be good for a se­cond car, or a fam­ily that has some­one learn­ing to drive.

ELI: Will I be driv­ing it? I can al­ready help to change gears if I’m sit­ting in the front.

PAUL: Not yet.

ONE TICK, NO TICK

PAUL: This looks like a split de­ci­sion. I think it de­serves The Tick for how well it drives. ALI: I like the way it drives but I wouldn’t rec­om­mend the GL — other cars have the same stuff for less money. So no tick for me.

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