Suzuki S-Presso

Cheap and cheerful

Suzuki sPresso between the Canola fields near Klipheuwel

Suzuki are masters at creating good small cars. They know how to extract the essence from the kernel or bean. And voila!

S-Presso – just what the barista made at Wecke & Voigts coffee shop in Windhoek in my youth. Small cup, strong and aromatic. Mmmm.

Suzuki’s little percolator on four wheels is just such a memory in the making.

With Suzuki you know you are getting a reliable car, relatively economical and safe for its niche. With the S-Presso you get more than they promise. Good finishes, enough space, especially headroom, surprisingly good kneeroom at the back, practical touchscreen and sound system and a good engine.

The 1.0 ℓ engine which produces 50 kW and 90Nm coupled to the five-speed auto box which has manual function (or a manual), their new “Heartec” platform and a three-quarter ton weight means this little coffee kettle goes sweetly even on gravel as it rides 180 mm above the road. Expect around 5 ℓ/100km.

This entry level car is not just a basic bear bones kettle but a real machine. As standard the GL+ has electric windows at the front, aircon, touchscreen which couples with Android and Apple smartphones, rear camera and a large round instrument display a la Mini in the centre of the dash. Safety systems include ABS, EBD, two airbags and a solid steel capsule around the cabin.

The boot is a usable 239  ℓ. The seats are comfortable even for little trips on weekends even though this car’s forte is the city. I took two adults on day trip to Melkbos via Klipheuwel and Philadelphia to get a feel for the open road in this little car. What a pleasure. Keeps to the legal limit with ease, feels safe around bends and has enough woema to overtake easily. There is a bit of wind noise, but not enough to drown out easy conversation. A pleasant drive. Very pleasant coffee at de Malle Meul in Philadelphia.

In a nutshell – it is a small car but does not feel cramped and performs above expectation.

If you need a city car or are buying a small car for yourself I recommend the S-Presso GL+ automatic. Easy to park (especially with the camera), nippy, safe, fair space, economic and probably solidly built. In June 2020 Suzuki sold over 500 of them in a very depressed market. Tells you something.

Your options include Renault Kwid around R160k, Datsun Go (R170k), Hyundai Atos (R160k), Kia Picanto (R190k), Mahindra KUV100 (R165k) and Toyota Aygo (R190k).

The Suzuki S-Presso range starts at an incredible R134 900 for the 1.0 GL manual. The rest are the GL+ MT – R139 900, S-Edition MT – R147 900, 1.0 GL+ AMT – R152 900, S-Edition AMT – R160 900.

You get a 5 year/200 000 km warranty, 2 year/30 000 km service plan and 1 year insurance.

I think the GL+ AMT at R152 900 hits the sweet spot.

S-Presso. Just what the barista ordered.

 

 

Suzuki Swift Sport

Little firecracker from Suzuki

Fun on four wheels can mean many things. From a rough and ready offroader, a vehicle for journeys deep into nature or a track ready sportscar. Suzuki are really good at small fun cars. Their Jimny is amazing offroad and their new Swift Sport is amazing on tar.

The Sport is one of those little grin-inducing machines, like a Mazda MX-5 which performs way above its price point. Sure, it is no Porsche or M-class Beemer but boy can it make a driver smile if not laugh out loud.

The Sport is the top of the range, one can almost say, aspirational model of the Suzuki Swift range. What sets it apart is the 1.4 turbo engine (as opposed to a normally aspirated 1.2), special sports seats with red stitching, additional instrumentation, twin exhausts and model specific body panels as well as upgraded suspension, wheels and brakes.

The Sport really makes a statement just sitting waiting for you, ready to leap on the road. Push the start button and the fireworks begin. It sounds right, the display looks right, the seats and steering wheel feel right. Press the loud pedal. Smiling already. I told you. Its fun, even to park at the mall.

Now, the 103kW and 230Nm on offer does not sound like a sports package, but remember the low weight at less than a ton, upgraded chassis, turbo and well matched box give this little runabout running legs. Grin factor. The Sport reaches 100km/h in less than 8 seconds, tops 200km/h and uses under 7 L/ 100 km depending on your right foot.

This is a car one tends to drive enthusiastically – throwing it around corners with abandon it just sticks to the road. Overtaking is effortless. You can use the paddles, but the auto box does the job superbly. Fun factor.

The interior is typically Suzuki but is well equipped and laid out. Not stunning, but neither is it shabby. I like it. The roof is quite high, even at the back, so for a small car even tall people will feel comfortable. Rear leg room is good for a super mini. The boot offers a not so great 242 litres, but it is okay for daily use.

Quite a few luxury items are included as standard, like rear camera, cruise control, infotainment system, climate control electric folding rearview mirrors.

The Swift Sport is well equipped on the safety front too, with 6 airbags, stability control and EDB and ABS.

The Swift Sport retails at R327 900 for the manual and R347 900 for the automatic we drove. This includes a 5 year or 200 000km warranty and 4 year or 60 000 service plan.

The ordinary Swift range starts at R171 900 for the 1.2 GA manual, R202 900 for the 1,2i GL SE to R224 900 for the GLX AMT.

I think the differences and upgrades justify the price. The competition, in the form of the VW Polo GTi at R411 900, Toyota Yaris GR (2021), Mazda MX-5 RF (R551 700) and the yet to be launched Hyundai i20N are all more, or much more, expensive.

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.

Suzuki S-Presso freshly brewed

The S-Presso is a compact and affordable urban mini SUV with a choice of five model derivatives and two transmission options in SA. Its either a 5-speed manual or AMT (the latter using Suzuki’s Automated Gear Selection (AGS) technology for smooth shifts using a manual transmission with self-actuating clutch) transmission, GL, GL+ or S-edition trim level.

Suzuki S-Presso-180

“We are very excited to introduce the new Suzuki S-Presso in South Africa. It combines many of our most advanced technologies, such as our HEARTECT platform, with our compact SUV expertise to offer a compact, but roomy and well-specified new urban SUV that is truly within everyone’s reach,” says André Venter, divisional manager for sales and marketing at Suzuki Auto South Africa.

The new Suzuki S-Presso shares its 998cc engine with the established Suzuki Celerio. This three-cylinder engine is code-named K10B and offers 50kW at 5 500 r/min and 90Nm of torque at 3 500 r/min and consumption of around 5L/100km.

It is a small car and in a way replaces the rather mundane Alto with a much more funky and practical product.

All versions of the S-Presso are very well equipped and feature electric windows for the front occupants, rear parking sensors, air conditioning, power steering and a multi-information display, which includes information such as distance to empty, trip duration and distance travelled.

On the GL+ model, Suzuki has bumped up the specification with its easy-to-use functional infotainment system. This system is touch sensitive and includes full integration for most smartphones through the in-built Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems.

This  system also offers USB and auxiliary ports and Bluetooth connectivity as standard and will display the image from the in-built reverse camera on the screen.

S-Edition models retain the infotainment system and mirror the silver detailing on the exterior with similar highlights on the centre console, air conditioning louvres and side door panels.

The range starts at R134 900 for the GL manual and tops off at R160 900 for the S-edition AMT.

It comes with a 5-year / 200 000 km mechanical warranty, one year insurance and two year service plan.

The Renault Kwid is the most obvious alternative, but also look at the Mahindra KUV100, Fiat Panda and Haval H1.

#Doyou #Suzuki #S-Presso

2019/20 #CarsAwards – powered by WesBank

Category winners: 2019/20 #CarsAwards – powered by WesBank

Adventure SUV: Toyota Fortuner 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Auto

Budget Car: Suzuki        Swift 1.2 GLX

Business Class:               Volkswagen Arteon 2.0TSI 4Motion R-Line

Compact Family Car:      Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0 TSI Highline R-Line

Compact Hatch:              Volkswagen Polo 1.0TSI Comfortline Auto

Crossover:                       Audi Q3 35 TFSI S Line

Executive SUV:                BMW X3 xDrive20d M Sport

Family Car:                      Mazda CX-5 2.0 Dynamic Auto

Fun Hatch:                     Volkswagen Polo GTI

Leisure Double-Cab:      Volkswagen Amarok 3.0 V6 TDI Highline 4Motion

Performance Car:           Toyota GR Supra 3.0T

Premium Hatch:             Volkswagen Golf GTI

Premium SUV:               BMW X5 xDrive30d M-Sport

Volkswagen Amarok and Toyota Fortuner have now won the categories Leisure Double-Cab and Adventure SUV ­respectively – for three consecutive years. Suzuki won the Budget Car category with a Swift  for four years in a row.

In no fewer than five of the 13 categories the judges’ favourites did not win, due to the impact of data from the Cars.co.za Ownership Satisfaction Survey. Fifty per cent of the final scores of the #CarsAwards category finalists was determined by the rankings the vehicles’ respective brands achieved in the Cars.co.za Ownership Satisfaction Survey

The Toyota Fortuner (Adventure SUV), Volkswagen Amarok, Arteon and T-Cross (Leisure Double-Cab, Business Class and Compact Family Car) and BMW X3 (Executive SUV) did not score the highest marks from the panel of judges following evaluation, yet emerged victorious because consumers rated their brands’ experiences higher than those of their competitors.

Volkswagen – the only brand to have won at least one #CarsAwards category every year since the programme began in 2015/16 – walked away with the most prestigious accolade. Having won six of the 13 #CarsAwards categories in 2019/20, Volkswagen is comfortably the most prolific category winner (with 16 trophies) in the history of the #CarsAwards programme.

#CarsAwards was conceived to be South Africa’s definitive automotive awards programme; the list of vehicles it recognises is meant to guide car buyers to make the best-informed purchasing decisions… Cars are judged directly against their peers in specific categories, each of which has distinct requirements. What’s more, 50% of the final scores is based on brand-specific after-sales data that incorporate customer feedback from thousands of South African vehicle owners.

Suzuki Dzire 1.2 GL review

Small sedan, big Dzire 

Suzuki is very good at making very good small cars. They confirm this status with the new second generation Dzire, in effect the sedan version of the popular Swift, with which it shares a platform and everything up to the “A” pillar.
Many manufacturers have the two shapes. For example Ford Figo and Toyota Etios have both hatch and sedan versions and the Honda Brio is called the Amaze in sedan guise. But Suzuki deals with the twin style and personality best.

Suzuki Dzire 1.2 GL

“The Dzire is a smoother, smarter design with a character that’s quite different from the Swift hatchback,” Deon Schoeman says in Daily Maverick. He gets it spot on.

An interesting differentiation is used in the trim colour. Swift models have a red and a more sporty theme, while the Dzire has silver accents and is more conservative.
Economy

The tried-and-tested 1.2-litre 4-cylinder naturally-aspirated petrol engine produces 61 kW and 113 Nm, which seems a bit pap, but the low kerb weight of under 900 kg and a smooth, quick 5-speed manual gearbox gives the Dzire almost nippy performance. There is enough oomph for safe overtaking, and highway cruising at the legal limit is fairly effortless.

Expect around or just above 5L/100km in normal usage. I got 5.4L/100km which included very windy conditions, hills, town driving and highway cruising at the legal limit.

A new almost classic instrument cluster with a multi-information display is standard. The GL version adds a tachometer, rear air vents, extra 12V socket, audio system with USB and easy-to-use Bluetooth support, steering wheel-mounted controls and electrically adjustable, colour-coded side mirrors. GL specification also includes a foldable rear armrest with integrated cup holders.

The rear legroom is the best in this class, The rear accommodation is generous. It’s spacious, even for adults, with plenty of leg and shoulder room, giving a big-car feel which would be ideal for a taxi or Uber. Or a soccer mom.
The boot can hold 26% more luggage than the old model with 378 L, limited only by the rear seat which cannot fold down to enlarge the boot, but does add security.
At the rear there is an air vent and a separate 12V socket. There’s also a fold-down armrest with two cup holders.

Safety is good for this class with dual front air bags, and ABS brakes with electronic brake force distribution.
According to cars.co.za, “The Suzuki Dzire [has a] low price, generous space, and ease of use, the Dzire makes a great argument for simple motoring.” The Dzire is a very capable small car for people wanting to get from A to B easily, reliably and without fuss.

The impression one gets is of a car which is very well put together, solid, frugal and reliable.

The Suzuki Dzire 1.2 GL costs R177 900, which includes a very reassuring 5-year or 200 000 km mechanical warranty and 2-year or 30 000 km service plan.

Some alternatives include the Toyota Etios 1.5 Sprint sedan at R184k, Honda Brio 1.2 Trend sedan at R175, Ford Figo Ambiente 1.5 at R187 200 and of course the slightly more expensive VW Vivo Sedan.

Wheelswrite car of the year 2018

The year of the SUV – 2018

We started 2018 on a pretty high note with the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. In many ways just what you would expect an Alfa SUV to be. A big step up for Alfa. What could top it?

Nissan X-trail in Onrus

The next car we tested to really impress was the new Nissan X-trail. At the time I said: “Interestingly the new ‘facelifted’ Nissan X-trail, which I have been driving this week got as many , if not more ‘stop and stares’ (as the Stelvio). Especially men.”

Early in February we reported on the very capable Mitsubishu Sport and later in the month the seriously facelifted Mahindra Pik-Up.

At the end of March we drove two very good SUV’s the “new” Kuga and Mazda CX-5 of which I said at the time: “The Mazda CX-5 is not just another crossover SUV wannabe. It is a refined, well rounded car which leads the way in so many ways.”

Nissan Navara LE 4×2 Auto

In March it was the turn of two very good bakkies. Nissan’s new Navara and Ford’s fancy FX4. The Navara is burly and it’s a bit of a beast and is the basis for a whole slew of models from several brands.
And then perhaps the cat among the pigeons. The Peugeot 3008. The 3008 comes with high specification levels and exceptionally good exterior and classy interior design. It not only looks stunning, it is very clever.

You will notice a lot of SUV’s and crossovers in this list.

The year of the SUV – 2018.

In May we had the pleasure of sampling two German examples of the crossover wave. The spacious Tiguan Allspace and the Opel Grandland. The Allspace is pleasant and easy to drive in town and out touring. VW have created a really comfortable, spacious cabin. The Grandland is based on the same platform as the 3008. Similar substance but very different style.

Mazda MX5

In the spring the fresh new VW Polo GTi really impressed. At the time we said: ”A few months ago we reported about the Mazda MX-5 and how it had a grin factor. You just can’t help grinning while driving it. Well, this new VW Polo GTi also has a huge grin factor.” We really loved the Polo GTi. It gives the Golf GTi a run for its money.
The Peugeot 208 GT was another pleasing car. Similar to the Polo GTi in some respects but very different in others.
I like Suzukis so really looked forward to the new Swift. It is new from the wheels up. I thought it a delightful little runabout.

Early in December I drove two astounding SUV’s. Peugeot’s touring oriented 3008 GT-Line and Haval’s off-road toughie, the H9. Both cars do the job required of them extremely well.

Probably the sweetest car I drove this year is the Mazda MX-5 Targa. A driver’s joy, but a strict two-seater and really a toy, in the sense that it’s whole reason to exist is fun, nothing more, nothing less. The most focused car was without a doubt the Ford Fiesta RS200 Limited Edition,

Ford ST200 LE

fun, fast and almost practical.

So, which to pick?

Must be a SUVish type of vehicle. Surely.

I am tempted to pick the Haval H9, it really is that good, especially if you need low range. The Mazda CX-5 is just such a good car though.
The Peugeot 3008 GT-Line was a pleasant surprise and oh-so capable in its context. Mmmm. Let’s not forget the X-trail and the Allspace.

Damn.

May I pick the SUV as car of the year?

Or just go with the Polo GTi.

Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL Manual Mk2 reviewed

Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL Manual

Remember the old tyre commercial with the tag line: “Its so wide”? Well the new Swift, and it is completely new, although it looks quite like the original at first glance, is 40mm wider than the old model. That translates into a roomy cabin with enough space for all four occupants. Even the luggage area scores, the boot is now a little bigger at 268 litres.

Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL

The engine stays the same but the dash and electronic systems are all completely new.

Suzuki’s new HEARTECT platform now underpins the Swift. It integrates with Suzuki’s Total Effective Control Technology (TECT), which applies good design and clear engineering principles using very high-tensile steel to lighten the body weight, while improving crash safety.
The system was designed to integrate active and passive safety systems, including the two front-occupant airbags, ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and ISOFIX seat anchors. A significant benefit is the reduction in weight. The new Swift weighs in at 875 kg, which is a 95 kg lighter than its predecessor making it one of the lightest vehicles in the upper-B segment.

This new Swift was a top three finalist of the World Urban Car of the Year, and as the first- and second-generation models were highly popular in South Africa, with roughly 30% (or 2 966 units in 2017) of all Suzuki sales, the car should sell well.

There are three models, a base GA with five-speed manual at R159 900 and two GLs , manual and automatic.

All versions of the new Suzuki Swift are equipped with air conditioning, front and rear electric windows, power steering and remote central locking as well as a tilt-adjustable steering column, a detailed information display that includes information such as fuel consumption and range, and a security alarm and immobiliser.
On the GL-models, Suzuki adds an audio system with easy-to-use Bluetooth-connectivity and USB socket, steering wheel controls for the audio system and electrically adjustable side view mirrors. So it makes sense to go with the GL, and I would recommend the automatic at R189 900.

The interior is typical Suzuki. Functional and well thought out with ample storage spaces inside the cabin, including two front and one rear cup holder, side door pockets, a console tray box, glove box with lid and a passenger seat pocket.
The D shaped chunky steering wheel feels good in your hands and has audio system controls.

The high compression, normally aspirated 1.2L four-cylinder engine delivering 61 kW at 6 000 rpm and 113 Nm at 4 200 rpm used in the previous model is retained. This is good as it is proven, up to the job and known to be reliable and pretty frugal.

Fuel consumption is rated at 4.9 litres per 100 km in a combined cycle, giving it a real-world range of over 750 km on its 37-litre tank. I got a very frugal 5.7 L/100km which including some spirited driving on the Franschoek pass. You should be able to average close to 5 L/100km.

The Swift has a good 5-year / 200 000 km mechanical warranty and a 2-year / 30 000 km service plan.

Some of the competition in the upper-B segment include the Ford Figo, Kia Picanto, Honda Brio, Hyundai Grand i10, Toyota Agyo and Volkswagen’s up! and Vivo.