NZ Today - - ON MOTORING -

Suzuki qui­etly slipped in the 1200cc Splash a cou­ple of years ago. As you can see from the pho­tos, it has a more up­right stance and the same wheel at each cor­ner de­sign as the Alto.

It is only one kW shy of the Swift so is very quick off the mark given the smaller size. Suzuki de­scribe it as a ‘Su­per­mini’ What is ev­i­dent is the much more up­right driv­ing po­si­tion that will en­dear the Splash to any­one who has prob­lems get­ting into ve­hi­cles.

Also im­me­di­ately no­table is the lack of a tacho that even the Alto has, al­beit an af­ter­mar­ket one. It was hard to es­ti­mate what revs the 1200cc 4 cylin­der mo­tor was do­ing so I guess we found the rev limit quite of­ten be­fore chang­ing up. As you read this story you’ll no­tice that’s a re­cur­ring theme as a journo tries to find the lim­its of per­for­mance econ­omy and road hold­ing. Just don’t tell Gor­don we might have used a tad more fuel than the Splash is ex­pected to con­sume. Still, I was also im­pressed that I man­aged 6.2 l/100km just ½ litre more than Suzuki’s 5.7 claim.

Our grey test ve­hi­cle pic­tured was very new as one of Gor­don’s sales peo­ple had sold their demon­stra­tor the morn­ing I was due to pick it up. So I was given a freshly reg­is­tered Splash with just 15kms on the clock.

On the road the Splash has fab­u­lous vis­i­bil­ity and like the Alto, wheel at each cor­ner sta­bil­ity and road hold­ing. Throw­ing it into cor­ners and back­ing off did not up­set the com­po­sure though the ESP light did flicker re­as­sur­ingly when over­cook­ing it. Sit­ting with just 145mm ground clear­ance, care needs to be taken on un­sealed roads as the un­der­sides touched sev­eral times when I’d ex­pected to still have ad­e­quate day­light be­tween us and the road.

For all that, driven care­fully on un­paved roads the Splash is com­pe­tent. On the seal it rev­els in be­ing asked to cope with un­du­lat­ing sur­faces and even off cam­ber cor­ners. There is some­thing mag­i­cal about small cars fast speeds and tight cor­ners that re­ally puts the thrill of driv­ing back in, that some­how is ab­sent in the big­ger mod­ern cars.

With a sim­i­lar boot space of 178 litres to the Swifts 210 litres, the Splash is a real al­ter­na­tive at just $18,000m and $19,990a. Stan­dard fea­tures in­clude front elec­tric win­dows, air con­di­tion­ing, Steer­ing wheel con­trols for the en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem, leather steer­ing wheel, rear fog lamps and ISOFIX for two in rear. The model I drove was the Ltd which adds key­less start, front fog lamps and al­loy wheels and is just $21,990a.

Up­right styling means easy ac­cess and huge in­te­rior space.

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