Euro-spec model has so much more to of­fer

SIDE­BAR

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS -

There is al­ways talk about the dif­fer­ence be­tween mod­els sold in SA and those in Europe and it’s def­i­nitely a con­ver­sa­tion that needs to be had when it comes to the lat­est Swift. Just weeks af­ter driv­ing the SA-spec model, I drove the Euro-spec ver­sion in the UK.

First, there is a big dif­fer­ence in safety. The SA model is built by Maruti Suzuki in In­dia and while it has two airbags, ABS, EBD and brake as­sist, it fared poorly in re­cent crash tests, scor­ing only two stars.

The Euro ver­sion is dif­fer­ent, with a stronger body struc­ture and a raft of ad­di­tional safety fea­tures in­clud­ing more airbags, elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol and driver as­sis­tance sys­tems. These in­cluded lane de­par­ture warn­ing, blind spot as­sist and even adap­tive cruise con­trol.

It’s not just about safety ei­ther be­cause we tested the 1.0l Boost­er­jet mild hy­brid with out­puts of 83kW and 170Nm, with a 195km/h top speed and 0-100km/h sprint of 10.6 sec­onds. We drove this one for a week around the south of Eng­land and it proved to be a re­spon­sive and nim­ble ma­chine, cruis­ing well on the high­ways and dart­ing around back roads with ease.

It had a great man­ual gear­box which, like the Swift in SA, showed that en­gi­neers have suc­cess­fully in­jected the Swift with a bit of driver en­joy­ment. There are other spec­i­fi­ca­tion items that are dif­fer­ent too such as al­loy wheels and more func­tion­al­ity to the in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem.

It’s im­pos­si­ble to com­pare pric­ing given im­port du­ties, taxes and so on but at £5,999 it’s right up against the Volk­swa­gen Polo, while in SA Suzuki has cho­sen to bring its Swift down to a level where it can com­pete with mod­els like the Re­nault Kwid and Polo Vivo.

It’s a pity be­cause the Swift avail­able overseas of­fers more. Yes you have to pay more, but given how much peo­ple are will­ing to pay for a Polo or an over­priced Toy­ota Yaris, Suzuki def­i­nitely has ex­tra to of­fer.

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