Suzuki Ciaz review

Suzuki Ciaz at Rickety Bridge winery.

It must be the most under-the-radar car in the history of South African motoring. Have you heard about it?

The Ciaz is the biggest sedan car Suzuki offers in South Africa. Its about the size of the earlier Honda Ballade and previous era Corolla. I think it competes heads on with the VW Polo sedan, although it is possibly marginally bigger.

Ciaz is a no-nonsense proper traditional family car with all the little luxuries and safety equipment you can expect from a car.

Surely a recipe for sales success.

Suzuki Ciaz

But no.

In the first place the fashion for cars at the moment is for station wagons dressed up as SUVs or crossovers and secondly it seems people just don’t know about the Suzuki Ciaz – the big little family sedan of the fastest growing car brand in the country (Suzuki sold 1 632 vehicles in January). More is the pity. The advantages of a sedan include the more secure boot, lower operating costs (everything from fuel, insurance, to the price of tyres), ease of use in town and lower acquisition costs.

There is quite a lot of competition in this dwindling but still important segment though.
The Corolla Quest (998 sales per month) and Polo Sedan (503) dominate the sales of small to medium family sedans with the Honda Ballade and Suzuki Ciaz trailing by quite a margin, even though the Ciaz in GLX guise is arguably much better value as it comes well equipped. The Hyundai Accent and Fiat Tipo are also in the mix.

I drove the Ciaz recently and was impressed by the size of the boot (424 litres), the rear leg room (806 mm), the general feeling of space in the very neat cabin and the pleasant handling. A great family car, at a very good price. Big enough for a family of four to go on holiday with but small enough to easily park. It will make a good car for a sales rep too.

The interior of the Ciaz is understated but apparently well screwed together and uses fairly smart materials and finishes which seem to be hard wearing. The instrumentation includes classic analogue speedometer and rev counter dials with an informative selectable digital display between them. Suzuki’s Smartphone Linkage Display Audio (SLDA) system includes a 7” touch display with Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity via a USB cable. The Bluetooth car phone system is easy to use and the sound is crystal clear. I liked the multi-function steering wheel and the steering position in general even though it is not highly adjustable. The seats are comfortable and supportive and allow good legroom for the rear seat passengers. There is a sprinkling of storage bins and bottle holders dotted all over the cabin.

The Ciaz GLX has cruise control as standard as well as automatic climate control, electrically folding side mirrors, leather upholstery, integrated lighting in the foot wells, individual rear reading lights and a retractable rear sunshade. Almost all the bells and whistles as standard.

I found the road manners of the Ciaz, on a number of mountain passes and on the highway, to be above par. In town it’s a gem. The steering stiffens up at speed, something which I liked but sporty orientated divers may consider a little vague.

Acceleration is fine and one can pass quite effortlessly and quickly. In short, a well handling sedan with adequate power (77 KW @ 6000 and torque of 138 Nm @ 4400) and good fuel consumption at or around 6L/100 km in combined city and highway use and much better on the open road.

The range starts with the 1.5 GL MT at R223 400 and tops off with the 1.5 GLX AT for R269 900; the car we drove is the GLX manual at R254 900 which includes a solid 5 year or 200 000km warranty and a 3 year or 60 000km service plan.

 

Suzuki Vitara review

Small to medium family cars come in a variety of flavours these days. Sedan, hatch, MPV, crossover and SUV.

Sometimes the distinctions are quite blurry, concerning both size and purpose.

Suzuki Vitara at Jacobsbaai.

The Suzuki Vitara is a SUV and is a biggish small family car, or is it a smallish medium SUV?

Ah, that is the question.

I can safely say that four adults can sit comfortably for extended distances and you can get four cabin size suitcases in the back, which has a little secret flattish compartment below the removable deck suitable for valuables and flatter items.

There are a number of right size storage cubicles and places. One I particularly like is a slot to the right below the steering wheel which would be ideal for a torch, remote or self defence device. There is another little one in the centre on the tunnel for either your car fob or change. Nice. There are more, but I leave them to you to explore and find when you take one for a test drive, something which I recommend you do

We drove up to Jacobsbaai for a family celebration with three adults on board. My wife kept talking about the oodles of space, especially the headroom and the legroom at the back. On the trip I could get a real impression of how suitable this car is for touring. I can report that the turbo Vitara is effortless to drive on the open road, passing with ease and cruising along in sixth gear at the legal limit.

The GLX has cruise control and very effective climate control, a good sound system, really comfortable seats, a good driving position with above average visibility and a pleasant cabin ambience.

he Suzuki infotainment system is easy to use, fairly comprehensive and effective. Apple CarPlay works extremely well and the Bluetooth phone connection is crystal clear.
There is a multi-data display in the middle of the instrument binnacle between the attractive classic analogue rev counter and speedometer which is customisable for your preferences. I tend to select the fuel consumption display. Speaking of which, I got 6,7L/100km during the week I drove the Vitara. I think 6L/100km will be achievable over the lifetime of the vehicle especially after the engine has loosened up.

Acceleration is almost on the sporty side when you push those revs up a little. As a result overtaking is easy and driving this SUV is fun. This boost in energy is due to the new 1.4 turbo-petrol engine which puts out a very competitive 103kW and 22Nm which is 46% more than the original 1.6 normally aspirated motor.

I really liked the ride quality which is partly due to the right size rim and correctly-sized tyres (Continental 215/55 R17) for this size of car. The handling is also good and almost on the sporty side without being too hard.

There are quite a few cars in this niche, from the really interesting and different Citroen C3 Aircross to the tried and tested Ford EcoSport, the newbies from Haval the H2 and Mahindra, the XUV300 to the classy Mazda CX-3 and the tough Renault Duster. Hyundai offers the Venue and Honda the BR-V, oh did I mention the VW T-Cross and Peugeot 2008? Mmmm, it could be quite confusing.
Of this little lot the Duster in AWD turbo-diesel guise will go furthest off the beaten track, the Aircross has the most flair, the T-Cross sells the most, the CX-3 is the classiest, the H2 shows the most improvement and the Vitara possibly gives the best value, especially over time and especially with the promotional offer at the moment.

From R293 900 for the 1.6 manual GL 2WD right up to R405 900 for the 1.4 GLX Turbo AT. The AWD GLX Allgrip 1.5 five-speed manual is R390 900.
We drove the 1.4 GLX manual which is at present listed at a very competitive R359 900.

The service plan is included and is for 4 years or 60 000km, but the promotional warranty is for five years or 200 000km.

 

 

 

 

 

Suzuki JIMNY 1.5 GLX 4AT

I love the Jimny.

To be fair I have gone out of my way to find and tellyou about the design issues or dodgy bits. To me they make the little off-roader even more endearing. So, be warned – a bit of bias may have crept in.

Suzuki JIMNY 1.5 GLX 4AT

The Suzuki JIMNY 1.5 GLX 4AT is very much a specialised vehicle – a horse for a very tough obstacle course, very much in a league of its own off-road, with amazing prowess off the beaten track.

They have been around since 1970 as the LJ10, which had a 359-cc, air-cooled, two-stroke, in-line two-cylinder engine. The next generation Suzuki SJ30 was released in 1998, the fourth generation Production commenced in Japan on 29 May 2018 at Suzuki’s Kosai plant.

Car magazine has this to say about the Jimny: “tales of the Suzuki’s off-road prowess have been told around braai fires… it is affordable, reliable and cheap to run also count in its favour” just about sums this car up.

Jimny is still based around a traditional steel, ladder frame chassis, but now has stiffer, supporting rigid front and rear axles with separate differentials and remains absolutely unpretentious. It is what it is.

It now has a proper multi-function tilt adjustable leather covered steering wheel with cruise control and phone buttons, just like cars.

The Jimny can seat four adults. It can also offer 377 litres of luggage space. But it cannot do these things at the same time. In fact, with the rear seat backs raised, the boot would struggle to swallow a MacBook Air.

You can also fold the front seats near-flat and have them join the rear seat squabs as a makeshift bed.

Happy camping.

The GLX has electric windows, central locking, climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, USB port and shift lock. Its a thoroughly modern little car and has LED headlights, ABS, ESP, hill hold and descent control, brake assist and Isofix mounting points.

The Jimny is powered by a new 1,5-litre, naturally aspirated engine (code name K15B), which delivers peak outputs of 75 kW and 130 Nm and is now more stable and refined on-road. Suzuki claims between 6 and 7L/100km, which I found to be accurate.

Optional accessories really are extras, like under garnish for the front and sides, Rain deflectors, handle escutcheons, dor mirror and rear wheel covers, mud flaps, wiper rain detector, differential guard protectors, parking sensors, rubber mats, boot liner, cargo net and roof rack. If you’re the sort of person who appreciates a flat-roofed vehicle because it’s easier to clear snow off and mount cargo racks to, or you favour cars with a roofing gutter so you’re not dripped on as you load the tailgate, then you might like the Jimny.
Top Gear had this to say about the UK version: “In the end, you just can’t separate the sheer joy of the way this rascal looks, and the adorable character it plays as it skips along, from the way it drives, and that irrepressible cute-meets-tough joy is what will make it ultimately a little cracker to live with. It’s not the most complete 4×4 you can buy, but it’s a plucky underdog. Not to mention, something of a new Top Gear hero.”

Suzuki has retained the defining qualities of the previous two generations of the Jimny: small size; go-anywhere ability; relatively low running costs and an adorable character.

The 1.5 GL manual is R285 900 with a 2-yesr or 30 000 service plan, GLX manual is R323 900, while the 1.5 four-speed automatic in GLX trim is R343 900 with a 4-year 60 000 service plan.
A 5 year/200 000 km mechanical warranty is standard.

On the question about the alternatives. Quite simply there are none. The nearest is the Renault Duster which is more practical but does not have the off-road prowess of the Jimny. Fiat has the rather pap Panda, Mahindra has the wannabe Jeep, the rough and ready Thar and GWM offers perhaps the Steed 5 double cab bakkie. The Jimny’s big sister the Grand Vitara also has low-range is really capable off-road.
Love it or hate it, the Jimny is unique and very capable off-road, although only okay at highway speeds.

Enjoying day 7 Covid-19 lockdown – Thursday

On the last day of the first week of the first Covid-19 lockdown my Lovey and I went for a game drive to our local water hole after lunch. We saw a duck, pheasant, hippo, buffalo, and more.
It reminded me of our last trip to Kgaligadi in 2016, especially the 14th Borehole near Mata Mata. What a place.
Full of life but silence too.
Pauses, when ostensibly nothing is happening (sound familiar?), but actually a myriad of life is buzzing, being and watching. How I would love to be there right now. Flask of tea or coffee and rusks with a back-up beer and biltong in the fridge. Absolute bliss. Taking pictures of big and small. Getting a good picture of a bird in that light is inordinately difficult, although the birdlife is astounding in variety and numbers. If you have never been to the Kalahari that is perhaps what will surprise you the most.
In the evening the antics of the meerkats and mongooses will give you joy. They are so busy living.
There is time to take out your sketchbook, but no time to get that picture when a cheetah suddenly bounds past your car intent on supper. First a blur, then a cloud of dust.
On a completely different note, if your car is gathering dust during the lockdown you should take a few simple precautions to keep it happy and purring. It is a good idea to drive it even a few metres and turn the steering wheel this way and that, apply the brakes and so on. Just get everything working including the tyres. If it is going to stand a while disconnect the black electrode or terminal of the battery making sure it does not touch any metal parts. Modern cars never completely switch off unless the battery is disconnected. Protect the inside with sunshades or cloth and leave a window or two about a cm open, if safe and practical. Find out now already who has jumper cables and knows how to use them.
Tomorrow, Friday 3 April we start week two of the lockdown. Some experts say it is the most dangerous week. Stay home folks, especially if you have a lung issue or any other medical condition.
Gesundheit!

Staying In – Siege Day 4

Jacob was right all along – a good wash or shower will wash away all your problems. The WHO says so. Remember that incident between our ex pres and the daughter of a friend. Old showerhead has had the last laugh. That military doctor of his and Shabir is a bit of a miracle worker. Just look how long the Shaik has survived past his best before date and how sick our friend Jacob was just the other day and how good he is feeling now. That doctor should be put in control of our national coronavirus efforts. We will all live to a ripe old age.
Speaking of which.
This enforced practice for retirement is showing me just how difficult it is being old. My dad, bless his soul, always said being old is not for sissies. You were so right dad. I am so glad you could enjoy the garden right up to a few months before the end.
We began our day, Lovey and I, at the Café Sombrero sitting partially in the sun and enjoying the garden, the mealiepap (with honey, cinnamon, butter and milk) and the coffee and Kani Bran rusks. Excellent way to start the day. We topped it with a little stroll through the garden, picking some lemons along the way. Not a bad start to a Monday morning.
I have not checked the latest Covid-19 news and stats yet (never mind the Rand). That is all too real. The enormity of the situation only hit home last night. A bit of a slow learner you might say. Its just that although you know the theory – it is different in life. So, slightly sober this morning. We so love to look at the negative we often miss the bright side. It seems 90% + have light symptoms and recover fully. Our chances are actually quite good to make it through this. The glass is nine tenths full. Just don’t spill it or knock it over. And do not kick it.
I am loving the sounds of the children on their bikes and Mr D our trustee in charge of the watering busy with the sprinklers and struggling with a recalcitrant pump. I think that was a Spanish word or two I heard. The pleasant sounds of life.
Not hearing the cars and trucks going past is blissful.
Enjoy the peace while it lasts.
Viva Café Sombrero!

Staying Alive – Day three of Covid-19 lockdown #1

It’s proving to be a long start of a really long weekend. Peaceful, “rustig”, pleasant and relaxing it has been so far, but… for how long?
A cool breeze is pointing to the possible early onset of autumn here in the Cape. We were all hoping the warmer temperatures would chop the virus off at its suckers as was suggested early on in the episode. Not so sure about that any more.
Our garden is looking really good except for the patches of grass where the nineteen guinea fowl who reside with us in the complex have been decimating the lawn. My neighbour above me has had enough. Yesterday he grabbed a red towel and in his pj’s charged them like a matador. Confusion was the order of the day. They slipped back while we weren’t looking though. Tough fowls, these. Real survivors. I see a duel developing. With very fit guineas and a very fit neighbour.
My Lovey is spending a lot of time on her phone. This led me to think, what would we have done pre smartphone? The radio would have been on all day and we would have been on our phones whether cellular or landline talking to people, hearing their voices feeling their emotions. Now we seem more cut off than ever, as if it is a Survivor Virus reality type show. Don’t you feel its all a little surreal? Even dreamlike? As if we all discovered magic mushrooms at the same time. I find communicating via text is just not the same as talking to someone. Just chatting.
Lovey and I have just come back from a walk around the complex gardens which are quite spacious as the developer was generous with the space between buildings back in the day 30 years ago. We met a neighbour jogging and exchanged pleasantries at the two metre gap as required and chatted to another neighbour who was sitting in the sun reading. A real village feeling. A lucky village, as we have enough space, fair security and it is well kept.
On day three; puzzle number two. It is a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle of a dachshund. At least we know all the pieces are in play.
We have an issue with tiny ants which invade our house before rains or when their moisture in the air. Nothing is sacrosanct. As a result we now have ant flavoured cookies amongst other ant infused delicasies in the house. It s an acquired taste, but interesting. Wonder if this is a business opportunity. Ant infused gin. I mean, you can infuse gin with anything these days and make a buck.
Hang in there.

Running home – Day two of siege

Running home – Day two of siege

Made it painlessly through day one of the first SA Covid-19 lockdown. I expected the country to do it (easily) as we are experienced in stay-aways and strikes. Should have been a piece of cake. And it was, except for a few contrarian hold outs in traditionally revolutionary areas. Viva! Viva? Mmmm.

Looking back to Thursday and my experience of it, is interesting.

It hit me at about lunchtime on L-Day -1 that I could be short of my most important meds. We charged down to Clicks and Tops. My wife to find out about a Flu jab and me to stock up on a whisky, a couple of shumba quarts and a box of the sweet pink stuff for my Lovey. Mission possible, even went for a de-fleecing at my barber.

On the way back from filling up our water bottles at Oasis we noticed crowds of people queing up to get into the cash and carry. More than a hundred people with absolutely no social distancing whatsoever.

Really?

My Lovey was given a thousand piece puzzle of a typical Parisian street scene, complete with paintings on easels etc. We launched into the build with great enthusiasm. It is fun to build a puzzle together. Until you realise the reason the puzzle was given to you is that at least 10% of the pieces are missing. Bummer. So watched a bit of Bourne Supremacy for a while. For the third time, I think. The thing is the basic plot is good and the execution brilliant, both the acting and the cinematography is top class. I see all sorts of detail on the second and third viewing. Respect.

Speaking of viewing. Some of our local coverage of the whole “gedoente” is more than a little dodgy. Can our editors not train the junior reporters a bit before sending them out? As for the editing and programme construction. The less said the better. Some of the reportage is very good. Daily Maverick is doing an astounding job. They are curating the flow so as not to inundate the reader. That is good news management.

I did my parkrun 5 km this morning round and round the outer perimeter of our complex, on the inside if you know what I mean. A bit slower than I thought though. Strava does not lie. All of 36 minutes later I staggered into the flat for my second cup of Antigua French Roast. What a reward.

I decide mealiepap was just the thing for breakfast. Last week I had bought a packet of mealiemeal at Pick n Pay. A house brand of theirs called Livewell. I liked the packaging. Now I really should not be swayed by pack design. I have a degree in communication science and supposedly know all about the influence of design, packaging, colour on consumer behaviour, or should. No different to Iwisa. Dollied it up with a blob of butter and squirt of honey. Best survival food ever.

Its just as quiet here this morning as yesterday was. There is quite a plump cloud over the Dome of the Helderberg and a gentle breeze cooling the morning down. The doves are cooing and every now and then you hear the flutter of their wings. I am loving it.

I feel so sorry for the 1170 who have tested positive and their loved ones. With over 28 000 tests done so far it seems we are still below the curve.

Hope it stays that way.

#parkrun #root44