First Drive – Suzuki Swift 1.2 and DZire:

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Yesterday, Suzuki South Africa added 2 new members to the best-selling Swift family, in the guise of an ultra-affordable new 1.2-litre variant, and a new sedan variant touted as the DZire, also in 1.2-litre variants.  We got to drive the new models through the scenicWestern Capeto find out if they really are, as Suzuki puts it, a “Paradigm Swift”.

The new models to the range are essentially the Swift we all know and love, but with the exception that these Indian-market based models are designed to be affordable, bulletproof, and resistant to poor conditions.  As such, both models feature a raised ride height over the standard Swift, taking ride height from 130mm to 170mm.  The new engine added to the range comes in the guise of a 1.2-litre 4-cylinder, developing 63kW @ 6000 rpm and 113Nm at 4500 rpm.  This can be mated to either a 5-speed manual gearbox, or a 4-speed automatic unit.

In both hatch and DZire guise, the new 1.2-litre units are incredibly potent.  Driving through the scenicWestern Cape, I was able to get a rather good feel for the new models, which until you look at them from the outside, feel identical in the way they drive.  For once, cheap doesn’t mean bad, and the Suzuki Swift 1.2 proved to be a lovely companion around theCape.

Built on the modern chassis we know and love, and utilising the latest in Suzuki’s K series engine family, the little 1.2 is modern tech through and through.  The engine is grunty and offers great low-range pull.  In combination with a well-weighted clutch, the small displacement makes for easy driving, whether in traffic or carving up through Gordon’s bay.  The revvy motor was made even more fun thanks to the sharp, precise gearbox, providing solid shifts and perfect power delivery, seldom requiring downshifts.  Suzuki tells us that the manual gearbox offers consumption figures of 5.7l/100km, while the automatic sips slightly more at 6.3l/100km.

The raised ride height of the 1.2 and DZire models made poorly tarred roads a pleasure to traverse, and added minimal body-roll to the Swift, whilst the supple ride made viewing the Cape scenery that much more comfortable.  The steering on the new models retains the sharp, direct approach of the higher spec. models, and was greatly appreciated for its weight during the gusts that theCapeis known for.

The Swift 1.2 hatch and DZire drive like any other Swift in the range, but with the added bonus of being more affordable than ever.  Pricing starts off at R126 900 for the 1.2 GA trim manual hatch, whilst the GL trim adds R10 000 to the price, and the GL automatic retails for R151 900.  The DZire pricing starts at R128 900 for the GA manual, whilst the GL is priced at R138 900 and R153 900 for manual and automatic variants respectively.  The entry level GA models are equipped with manual air-con, cloth interior, and 4-speakers, whilst the GL upgrades the 1.2 to include fog-lamps, ABS brakes, electric windows, remote central locking, USB and auxiliary audio inputs, and steering wheel mounted volume controls.

With the new models in the Swift range, buyers can look forward to the price of an A-segment vehicle, with the quality, drive, technology, and space of a B-segment buy – and with the DZire, Swift buyers will now finally have a larger boot, to the tune of 300 litres.

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