Suzuki Swift Sport 2012 Review

June 5th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

Does the sporty version of New Zealand’s best-selling small car does live up to its moniker? Even with a six-speed manual and a slightly peppier engine it’s actually a pretty sedate and boring car around town. But this is a car that gets much better when you are on the open road or driving ‘more enthusiastically’.

The problem with being at the top of the pile is that there are always young upstarts trying to knock you off. To find out whether it’s still worthy of the top spot I took it from Auckland to Continue reading “Suzuki Swift Sport 2012 Review” »

Suzuki Swift Diesel Economy Run Results

May 23rd, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

The first Swift diesel to arrive in New Zealand has proved to be a fuel economy wizard after a lengthy North Island drive.

The 1.3-litre Swift used a mere 21.25 litres of diesel to travel from Auckland to Wellington, averaging a remarkable 3.27 litres/100 km (85.5 miles per gallon).

It then turned around and headed north along the same State Highway 1 route via Taupo, completing the 1,303 kilometre journey for an overall average of 3.36 litres/100 km (83.4 miles per gallon).

The Swift was driven by Auckland motoring journalist Donn Anderson who has competed in many fuel economy events, and was a member of the team that broke Guinness fuel economy records in Britain and New Zealand.

“We always knew the new Swift DDiS would be capable of doing the Auckland-Wellington drive without the need to refuel the relatively modest sized 42-litres tank,” said Anderson.

“However, we didn’t expect the car to return as far as Mercer before the tank was dry,” he said. “The Suzuki was only 60 kilometres short of reaching Auckland, and managed 1,240 kilometres on the one tankful.”

Anderson said the result could have been even better had the car not encountered high winds and torrential rain on the Desert Road in central North Island. Where possible on the open road, the Swift cruised between 80 km/h and 100 km/h to provide a real world figure.

On the Auckland-Wellington leg, the Swift consumed just 21.25 litres of diesel for a fuel cost of $34, based on a typical pump price of $1.60 per litre.

Factor in the Government Road User charge of $28.80 for the distance, and the total fuel/tax cost for the journey was $62.80.

“The Swift diesel is an astute answer to motorists and business users wanting to lower their costs of transport, particularly for those who travel long distances annually,” said Anderson.

“With 46 per cent more torque than a 1.4-litre petrol-engined Swift, the car is responsive and well geared for local conditions,” he said.

Peak torque is achieved at a low 1,750 rpm and at 80 km/h in fifth gear, the turbocharged diesel engine is spinning at around 1,900 rpm, rising to 2,250 rpm at 100 km/h.

Anderson said the standard fitment of the trip computer, with instant and average fuel economy readings, proved invaluable in squeezing out the optimum economy for the constantly changing road conditions.

The test proved that with careful driving, it is possible to better posted economy figures from motor manufacturers.

In the official extra urban fuel cycle for highway driving, Suzuki claims a figure of 3.6 litres/100 km (78.5 mpg).

“However, the combined cycle for both urban and open road driving is a more reasonable consumption figure for everyday motoring,” said Anderson.

Suzuki claims 4.2 litres/100 km (67.3 mpg) for the combined cycle, making the diesel Swift the new economy champion in the Suzuki line-up of models.

It also arrives as arguably the most fuel efficient new car available in New Zealand and a viable alternative to petrol/electric hybrid models.

Suzuki Swift with Turbocharged Diesel Power Goes On Sale in New Zealand

May 15th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

The highly economical, low emission Suzuki Swift DDiS diesel five-door hatchback is expected to have special appeal to government, fleets and businesses and for motorists who do higher than average annual distances.

Powered by a European designed 1,248cm3 four-cylinder, common rail diesel motor built under license by Suzuki, the new DDiS is the most economical model in the Swift range and packs the most engine torque.

With four valves per cylinder and an advanced fuel injection system, the efficient D13A engine produces 55 kW of power (75 bhp) at 4,000 rpm, and 190 Nm of torque at a low 1,750 rpm. Availability of high torque at relatively low engine revolutions means the Swift diesel is responsive at mid-range and medium road speeds.

The DDiS boasts 46 per cent more torque than the 1.4-litre petrol Swift, has a maximum speed of 166 km/h and reaches New Zealand’s open road speed limit of 100 km/h in less than 13 seconds.

A five-speed manual gearbox is standard and the gear ratios and final drive gearing are unique to the Swift DDiS.

In the official Combined fuel cycle test simulating both urban and open road driving the diesel Swift averages 4.2 litres/100 km (67.3 miles per gallon).

The Suzuki delivers an outstanding 3.6 litres/100 km (78.5 mpg) in the Extra Urban highway only cycle and 5.1 litres/100 km (55.4 mpg) in the Urban city and suburban street cycle.

A recent independent fuel test from Auckland to Wellington produced even better economy than the Extra Urban fuel test cycle, with an average of 3.27 litres/100 km (85.5 mpg).

“We originally estimated the Swift DDiS would have a driving range of around 800 kilometres, but in open road running, it has since been found the 42-litre fuel tank is good for up to 1,000 kilometres,” said Tom Peck, General Manager of Marketing for Suzuki New Zealand.

The standard fit 12-spoke aluminium alloy wheels are shod with 185/55 R16 tyres and the engine complies with the latest Euro 5 emission standards.

In line with market demands, the well equipped Swift DDiS diesel is high on safety and equipment levels. It comes with ABS anti-lock and brake assist, ESP (Electronic Stability Programme), foot protecting brake and clutch pedals, ISOFIX child seat anchorages and child seat tether anchorages.

There are driver and front passenger airbags, side airbags (incorporated into the front seats), curtain airbags and a driver knee bag giving the Swift Diesel the highest possible 5-Star Euro NCAP safety rating. This rating considers occupant protection in frontal, side, pole and rear impacts as well as child protection, pedestrian protection and the availability of driver aids.

Standard security features include an immobiliser, remote controlled centralised door locking and freewheeling door key cylinders.

A height adjuster for the driver’s seat and electrically operated front door windows with automatic-down function for the driver’s side window are standard.

Other features include a front accessory power socket, lights-on and key reminder, front seatbelt warning lamp and alarm, halogen multi-reflector headlamps with headlamp leveling control, three cup holders and bottle holders in all four doors.

The Swift DDiS also comes with air conditioning, green tinted window glass and a three-spoke leather-covered steering wheel.

An easily operated trip computer details instant and average fuel consumption, tank range and outside air temperature, while the audio system can be conveniently operated by controls located on the steering wheel and includes a USB input.

Especially handy for cold winter months are the heated door mirrors which are electrically operated.

First examples of the Swift DDiS diesel go on sale in New Zealand in June with a recommended retail price of $25,990 that includes on-road costs, 12 months registration, three year/100,000 km warranty and five year Suzuki roadside assistance plan. Arrival of the DDiS extends the choice of Swift hatchbacks to eight models.

Suzuki Jimny Sierra 2012 Review

April 17th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

It’s been four years since we’ve had a Jimny Sierra to drive and it may be three grand more, but it’s still the best value-for-money off-roader you can buy.

I’ve always maintained that the Jimny is the perfect car to learn to drive in. It’s manual (although, you can get an auto ‘box if you want), and it doesn’t have unnecessary fluff to distract you from the task at hand. The sat nav is made of paper (it’s called a map book), the heat in the seats comes from your own buttocks, and the cruise control is your right foot. There’s hardly any power (62.5kW – notice how they put the .5 in there because 62 sounds just so low?) Torque isn’t much better at 110Nm and if you try to drive it at more than 100kph it Continue reading “Suzuki Jimny Sierra 2012 Review” »

New Limited Edition Suzuki Swift XS With Bold Sporting Look

April 16th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

A new limited edition version of New Zealand’s favourite small car puts the accent on a sporting appearance.

With its distinctive body enhancements, the Suzuki Swift XS arrives as an additional model to the best-selling five-door Swift hatchback.

A black European inspired spoiler kit adds a real edge to the car’s handsome looks, and incorporates bold wheel arch and lower side skirts, rear upper spoiler and side protection door mouldings and a unique XS decal.

The larger diameter 17-inch HRS H-461 aluminium alloy wheels are finished in black with a liquid smoky silver background. These 12-spoke design wheels are shod with high performance Bridgestone MY02 205/45 R17 tyres.

A Bluetooth Sony audio system with external microphone is also included in the low volume model.

Available in Continue reading “New Limited Edition Suzuki Swift XS With Bold Sporting Look” »

Suzuki Swift Diesel Earmarked for Arrival in New Zealand

March 16th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

Suzuki is introducing its first ever small diesel-engined passenger car to the New Zealand market.

A diesel powered Swift five-door hatchback will add a new dimension to the country’s top selling light car.

Suzuki New Zealand is currently evaluating the new Swift supermini diesel and is finalising plans to have the highly economical car on sale by mid-year.

With a fuel consumption figure of 4.2 litres/100 km (67.3 miles per gallon) in the official combined cycle test, the diesel will be the most economical model in the Swift range.

It will also pack more engine torque, underscoring the car’s brisk performance, especially in the critical mid-range. The diesel has 46 per cent more torque than the 1.4-litre petrol Swift.

An additional bonus is the environmentally friendly CO2 emissions level of 109 grams/km, the lowest of any Swift variant.

The 1.3 Swift DDiS uses a high tech four cylinder, 16-valve Fiat-designed diesel which Suzuki builds under license.

This second generation, common rail turbocharged motor is a development of the Multijet power plant which won the International Engine of the Year award in 2005.

More recently the 55 kW (75 bhp) engine was updated with a new fuel injection management system that has up to eight injections per cycle instead of five.

The advanced injection controls high engine pressures up to 1,600 bar without being tied to engine speed or the quantity of fuel injected.

Thanks to a balanced hydraulic servo-valve, the innovative common rail injectors are able to more precisely control the quantity of diesel injected into the combustion chamber, with a faster and more flexible sequence of injections than was previously possible.

By reducing the amount of time between injections, these injectors optimise fuel introduction to the chamber and therefore make the diesel combustion process more gradual. This has a positive effect on fuel consumption, emissions, and noise, vibration and harshness.

The new generation fixed geometry turbocharger, combined with the advanced Multijet injection system, ensure the best possible turbo function at any engine operating level.

“We are excited about the arrival of the Swift diesel which is capable of a driving range of at least 800 kilometres, and will have a specific attraction to fleet and business users,” said Tom Peck, General Manager of Marketing for Suzuki New Zealand.

“Not only does the engine comply with stringent Euro 5 emission levels, but also offers lively performance allied to outstanding economy.

In the open road official Extra Urban fuel cycle, the Swift diesel returns a remarkable 3.6 litres/100 km (78.5 miles per gallon), while the Urban cycle figure is 5.1 litres/100 km (55.4 miles per gallon).

A Swift diesel driven by journalists Dave Randle and Peter Cracknell finished second overall in the 2011 MPG Marathon event in Britain, averaging a remarkable 3.27 litres/100 km (86.4 miles per gallon) 3.27 litres/100 km (84.6 miles per gallon) over a challenging 600 kilometre route that included major roads, motorways and dual carriageways. A second Swift diesel returned 3.34 litres/100 km (84.6 miles per gallon).

Recently launched in Europe, the diesel Swift is gaining a reputation for smoothness and response, with the maximum torque of 190 Nm available from as low as 1,750 rpm. The Swift accelerates from a standstill to 100 km/h in 12.7 seconds, and has a top speed of 166 km/h.

Pricing and specification will be announced closer to the launch date.

Suzuki Splash 2011 Review

November 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

When the Suzuki Swift arrived in NZ it began giving the beat-down in sales numbers to almost every other hatchback in our market. Even the Toyota Corolla struggles to match the Swift’s sales figures. A key reason behind the Swift’s success is its affordability, but for some it’s still not affordable enough. For those folk there is now a second, cheaper Suzuki option. No, not the Alto, a third option then – the Splash.  Suzuki has sandwiched the Splash hatch between the superstar Swift and the entry-point Alto. Priced from $17,990 the Splash undercuts the base model Swift by $2,500 but shares the same platform. While it’s not a brand new model, having been offered in Europe for the past three years, it’s new to NZ. An interesting character for sure, and being marketed as the Swift’s little sister, it’s arrived with big expectations. Car and SUV spent some time with this Swift understudy to discover what sort of sister the Splash really is.

In terms of exterior styling, the Splash isn’t the prettiest member of the Suzuki family but it does have a certain upright appeal. The front is quite fluid with wide-eyed headlights and a trendy split grille but the Splash’s rear is squarer than a Dungeons and Dragons convention. That said, it’s an inoffensive design that borrows glimpses of style from the Swift. Details that give it away as a budget model include the black plastic door handles and side mirrors and also the 15-inch steel wheels – but the silver wheel covers match up nicely. Continue reading “Suzuki Splash 2011 Review” »

Aussie team builds World’s Fastest Couch (+video)

October 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Most sofas never get to experience any serious pace. On occasion they might reach a speed of around 1 km/h when burly furniture movers carry them into a house but they spend most of their tough lives doing all of 0 km/h. But not the world’s fastest couch, it can travel more than the NZ speed limit and then go even faster.

An Australian-based couch has just broken the world record for the fastest couch on the plant (yes, there really is a record). A team from Sydney have turned a rather ordinary brown two-seater into a machine capable of traveling in excess of 150 km/h. In fact, it recorded a top speed of 163.12 km/h to smash the previous record of 146 km/h set by an English man back in 2008.

The couch wasn’t alone in its triumph either, it shared the glory with a coffee table and a bowl of fruit. The couch was specially built for the world record attempt by Evolution Motorsport, a racing firm from Sydney.

The speedy sofa is powered by a Suzuki GSX 1400 motorbike engine and according to the project leader, Paul McKinnon the biggest challenge was battling the aerodynamic obstacles of pushing along a chunky piece of furniture. We aren’t aerodynamic masters but we’d guess that the coffee table isn’t just ornamental and doubles up as some sort of air splitter. Sneaky Aussies.

Bet your couch is looking pretty lame right now. To check out the record setting run, view the video below. Continue reading “Aussie team builds World’s Fastest Couch (+video)” »