The nifty Swifty

New Zealand Her­ald Viva ed­i­tor Amanda Lin­nell takes a spin in one of New Zealand’s most pop­u­lar cars.

Element - - Element Motoring -

BI'm swing­ing down High Street, squeez­ing into tiny park­ing spa­ces and nip­ping into stores to pick up prod­ucts for a photo shoot, and the new Suzuki Swift is liv­ing up to its name. As I buzz around town, up and down one way streets, bump­ing with ease over the paved pedes­tri­anised Fort Street, I can see why this car is so pop­u­lar. Isn't it funny when you have a new car, you sud­denly notice them ev­ery­where? It's like when it's a new sea­son in fash­ion and sud­denly ev­ery­one's wear­ing neon (which a year ago we wouldn't have been seen dead in!)

I love that small cars are cool. In Europe this has long been the case, as savvy ur­ban­ites have re­alised the ad­van­tages of get­ting about town in some­thing nifty and eco­nom­i­cal. Gi­ant gas-guz­zling wag­ons that block other driv­ers views just seem point­less, and so off-trend right now. The petrol-heads tell me that my Nifty Swifty, which I have taken to call­ing my lit­tle white pearl of driv­ing plea­sure, has the low­est CO2 emis­sions of ``pretty much any­thing on the mar­ket at the mo­ment'' and it's ‘good on gas’.

This I put to the test with two girl­friends when we loaded up the car with lug­gage, bas­kets of foodie de­lights and bot­tles of cham­pagne and head north to Wark­worth for a birthday week­end. The fuel gauge barely moves the whole trip.

As we whizz up State High­way One we hold our own; there is none of that `I feel vuner­a­ble, like I'm trav­el­ling in a tin can', a feel­ing which some small cars can in­duce as log trucks roar past in the op­po­site di­rec­tion. We cruise in com­fort, there's plenty of leg room and the seem­ingly high roof adds to the sense of space. ``Great if you had a Patsy up-do','' laughs Niki from the back seat, as we plug in my iPad and to the am­bi­ent sounds of Tosca leave the stresses of the city be­hind.

In the name of re­search, I ask my trav­el­ling companions “does size mat­ter?” And af­ter lots of gig­gles, we all agree in­deed, as in life, it is the lit­tle things that count: the steer­ing­wheel-mounted au­dio con­trol but­tons, the com­fort­able seats, the easy to see - and use - panel of in­stru­ments, the cup hold­ers.

The lines of the car are clean and sim­ple; the in­te­rior fash­ion­ably min­i­mal. I'd liken the Suzuki Swift to a lit­tle black silk skirt - just above the knee and with a cheeky kick pleat at the back. It may not be as eye-catch­ing as a flo­ral Karen Walker jacket, or ooze money like a Louis Vuit­ton bag, but it's dis­creet, ver­sa­tile, re­li­able - and I know I'll get plenty of mileage out of it.

I'd liken the Suzuki Swift to a lit­tle black silk skirt – just above the knee and with a cheeky kick

pleat at the back.

Amanda Lin­nell is the ed­i­tor of Viva mag­a­zine, out in the New Zealand Her­ald ev­ery Wed­nes­day.

Pho­tos: Ted Baghurst

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