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Suzuki ready to make a Splash


IT’S BEEN a busy time for Suzuki as it’s launched no fewer than four models this year, one of them being the new Splash, a small city-like car with MPV-type styling.

Arriving at our offices, I had very few expectations as the Splash drove down our driveway and fitted into our parking bays with ease. My initial thoughts were… I’m impressed. I thoroughly enjoy its little big design. The elongated boot lid and upright stance with a tall roofline, not only gives you a commanding driving position in traffic, but it works well with a car of this stature.

A combination of soft and sharp angles adds to the car’s whacky, yet practical styling. Okay, so the Splash’s looks might not appeal to everyone, but I think Suzuki did a good job breaking the mould of dull, small car designs. And the 14-inch steel rims with full wheel covers provide a decent drive, although it is a tad on the hard side for a city vehicle.

Inside, the first thing I noticed was the hideous brown interior colour didn’t make an appearance. Thank goodness! Instead, durable cloth seats with a charcoal textured finish dashboard are fitted. Sticking to its youthful look, the cabin has a funky element to it, complemented by a white-faced dial clock. The motorcycle-type rev counter on the dashboard is also kind of colourful and hip. But once again, it won’t be to everyone’s liking.

As a mid-entry-level hatch, there are no niceties missing at this price tag. Aircon, radio with MP3 and USB are standard, as well as steering-wheel-mounted audio system controls in our top spec GL model.

For the daily commute it’s great. The high roofline makes the cabin feel spacious and the peppy 1.2-litre engine is adequate. Producing 63kW of power and 113Nm of torque, you will have to drive it hard on highways if you want to keep the 120km/h pace. Mated to a five-speed gearbox, it’s not as smooth shifting as we would’ve liked.

My other bugbear was the lack of reach adjustment for the steering wheel. Given my tall frame, I was unable to find a comfortable driving position as I constantly felt I was seated too high while driving, which left me feeling like an old bus driver.

The Suzuki doesn’t splash out when it comes to fuel as it uses a claimed 5.6 litres/100km and during my time with the car I consumed just 5.9 litres/100km. Capable of producing a top speed of 160km/h it might not blister the highways but it’s nimble and fun to drive through town, where it’s designed to thrive.

I grew fond of Suzuki’s new offering, but the pricing is too close to the Swift Dzire. Then again, it does offer another option to the already spoilt consumer.

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