Base model Suzuki SX4 gets dressed up for NZ market

September 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The entry model Suzuki SX4 GLX Sporthatch has been given some body enhancements to boost appeal for this small crossover.

The 2.0-litre SX4 Sporthatch inherits the exterior detailing previously only fitted to the four-wheel-drive GLX and LTD i-AWD version. Included in the upgrade are black wheel arch extensions, black under-body protection mouldings front and rear, and sports roof rails. Ground clearance has also been increased from 160 mm to 175 mm.

Eight versions of the SX4 are available in total, with the latest improvements focused on the entry-level GLX variant.

Pricing has been adjusted with a $500 increase the 6-speed manual transmission model now retails at $25,990, and the CVT automatic is listed at $27,500.

Standard equipment includes air conditioning, remote control door locking with answer back, steering wheel audio controls with back-lighting and driver’s seat height adjustment. There are body-coloured bumpers and the electrically adjustable door mirrors are also colour-keyed to the bodywork. Continue reading “Base model Suzuki SX4 gets dressed up for NZ market” »

High-spec Suzuki Swift RS added to NZ range

September 13th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Suzuki NZ has added a new highly-specified Swift to its model range – the Swift RS. Billed as a limited edition variant the RS receives extra luxury and equipment.

The RS version is based on the Swift five-door hatchback and is the first special edition since the arrival of the new generation series earlier this year. With its higher level of standard equipment, the RS is the most equipped Swift ever sold in New Zealand.

Extra features include a tilt and telescopic adjustable steering column, keyless locking and the push button start/stop function which is inherited from the Suzuki Kizashi sedan. There’s also a full climate control system with a digital readout replacing standard air conditioning on other Swifts, and the RS has Bluetooth hands-free mobile telephone connection. A six-speaker audio system includes a USB input for MP3 or iPod music player functions, and can be controlled by switches on the steering wheel.

Mechanically, the RS benefits from four wheel disc brakes, previously only available on the high performance Swift Sport model. The new 1.4-litre K14B four-cylinder engine introduced for the latest generation Swift is retained for the RS version. This powerplant produces 70 kW of power while averaging 5.5 litres/100 km in the combined fuel cycle, or 6.2 litres/100 km for the automatic. Continue reading “High-spec Suzuki Swift RS added to NZ range” »

New Suzuki Swift sport previewed before Frankfurt debut

August 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Suzuki has given hot hatch fans a preview of its upcoming 2012 Swift Sport ahead of its official debut at the Frankfurt motor show next month.

When Suzuki unveiled its S-Concept earlier this year, it was a styling exercise to show what the next Swift Sport may look like. Some of the concepts bold styling has remained and some has been dropped. The pumped out wheel arches are gone, as are the vented quarter panels and giant wing. What has been kept is the striking front bumper and smoked headlights.

Under the bonnet the 2012 Swift Sport will feature a 1.6 litre M16A engine developed exclusively for the sportier model. The four-cylinder petrol unit will produce 100 kW of power and 160 Nm of torque. That’s a 30kW/20Nm increase over the standard new-model Swift and a 8kW/12Nm increase over the previous Swift Sport.

The engine will be connected to a six-speed manual gearbox. Continue reading “New Suzuki Swift sport previewed before Frankfurt debut” »

New 2012 Suzuki Swift Sport on track for next year

July 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The new-model Swift in its regular form has been on sale in NZ for a few months now and is proving popular with Suzuki on track to launch its new 2012 Swift Sport early next year.

While official details haven’t been released, there have been leaks revealing that the new model will be a three-door hatch with styling cues borrowed from the S-Concept (pictured).

Power is expected to come from a naturally aspirated 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing around 100 kW. The standard transmission will be a six-speed manual box but if 100kW is too much power for you to shift through – an automatic transmission will be an available option.

Development and testing of the car is currently taking place at the Nurburgring race track in Germany, mostly centering on a new aerodynamics package, stiffened suspension and uprated Brembo brakes. Continue reading “New 2012 Suzuki Swift Sport on track for next year” »

Suzuki Swift Ltd 2011 Review

June 17th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Suzuki Swift may be a lightweight in stature but it’s a heavyweight in terms of new car sales. Since 2005 when the compact hatch first reached our shores it’s battled hard with the much-loved Toyota Corolla for new car sales supremacy. Some months it won, some months it finished runner up but along the way more than 20,000 Swifts found their way into kiwi garages. That’s an impressive figure, but it’s just a fraction of the more than 2 million Swift’s that have been sold globally. So how did a one-time minnow car company like Suzuki do it? Simple really, with the Swift, Suzuki got the value-for-money ratio absolutely perfect. Now for 2011, the next-generation Swift has arrived in NZ and is already generating sales of more than 10 vehicles a day. Car and SUV joined the masses in getting behind the wheel of a new Swift to find out if Suzuki can really improve on a winning formula.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is how the old saying goes and it must have been in the minds of Suzuki designers when they penned the new model. The design is a safe evolution of its predecessor and only a keen eye will catch the differences at a glance. But take a closer look and the new model is more curvaceous and dynamic with a new front end including new wave-shaped headlights and a widened front grille. Along the flanks the glass profile narrows from the front windows to the rear, giving the Swift a more athletic stance. A- and B-pillars are still blacked out for a floating roof look and side mirrors and door handles are smartly colour matched. Rear design is defined by new red and clear tail lamps that push towards the back doors, a subtle hatch spoiler and bulky bumper. Our tested high-spec Swift Ltd was further dressed up with 16-inch alloy wheels and front fog lamps as standard kit. The Swift is available in 7 different colours with our test subject looking particularly dapper in ‘Boost Blue’. Continue reading “Suzuki Swift Ltd 2011 Review” »

Suzuki snatches record share of NZ new car market

June 10th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Suzuki is going from strength to strength in the NZ car market with May being its best selling month ever. The Japanese carmaker achieved a record 9.55 per cent share of the NZ new passenger car market and was the third top selling brand.

While total new car sales decreased compared to April, Suzuki volume jumped ahead by 19 per cent, largely on the back of the new Swift.

“This was in spite of some supply constraints due to the devastating March earthquake in Japan,” said Gary Collins, Sales Manager for Suzuki New Zealand. “Suzuki was the private car brand of choice, and the most popular Japanese make overall,” he said.

The new Swift attracted more buyers and was NZ’s top selling new car with May sales that were 39 per cent higher than the second most popular model.

While total new car sales in New Zealand for May were up 7 per cent on the previous month, demand for Swift increased 15 per cent during the same period. Continue reading “Suzuki snatches record share of NZ new car market” »

Suzuki Swift dominates NZ new car sales in April

May 10th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Suzuki Swift, is re-establishing its dominance as the top selling passenger vehicle in the New Zealand market. The Swift was the number one new car choice in April, according to Motor Industry Association figures, with total sales 66 per cent ahead of its nearest rival – the Toyota Corolla.

A new version of the Swift was launched in New Zealand in February and has reignited the strong sales figures achieved by its predecessor in the last six years. In year to date sales, the Swift is still running second overall to the Toyota Corolla.

“Total new car sales in New Zealand for the opening third of this year are up by 11 per cent but the average sales rate for new Swifts is 29 per cent higher,” said Tom Peck, general manager of marketing for Suzuki New Zealand.

“Swift has a well established history in our country dating back 27 years. However, it was the arrival of the fifth generation model in 2005 that really saw the car take off,” he said. Continue reading “Suzuki Swift dominates NZ new car sales in April” »

Try A Jimny, You’ll Be Converted

April 1st, 2011 by Tim Grimley

It is with some enthusiasm that I watch the new craze of hand-wringing that is sweeping the country in the build-up to RWC 2011. Will the waterfront look nice? Is party central going to be a) up to standard or b) even up in the first place? How will our transport infrastructure deal with the influx of egg-chasing fanatics trying to access Eden Park? People have become so fixated on the potential banana skins waiting to slip up the whole shooting match that they’ve forgotten to ask the most important question of all.

Does it really matter?

Barring a few overly precious journalists and merchant bankers complete with trophy wives who will be frequenting the corporate boxes, do rugby fans give a stuff about the window dressing that everyone else seems in such a tizz over?

Steve wasn't too happy about handing over the keys to the Jimny

Speaking as a Pom who has for many years occupied the terrace at Leicester Tigers – arguably the biggest rugby club in England in every way – the answer is “probably not”. Despite the clubs’ status it still has stands made from wood and scaffolding, comes with bugger all in the way of parking facilities and offers no food more glamorous than chicken tikka massala pie; absolutely none of which stops people showing up in their droves for every single game.

I suspect you could upholster each seat with barbed wire and greet supporters with a punch in the face and there would still be queues on match days. The simple draw of having a few beers and a good laugh with some mates whilst watching top class rugby (please remember that we from the northern hemisphere still appreciate the noble arts of rolling mauls) is what really appeals – anything beyond that is rather unnecessary.

And come November, when all is done and dusted, while a few hacks may be cooing over the canapés or bitching about  transport, the majority of stories will be coming from the fans regaling their friends with tales of all the interesting people they met, watched rugby and got drunk with. Which begs the question, why spend millions on redeveloping the waterfront when, if you want people to have a really good time, you could simply hire enough marquees to turn the main street in Kingsland into an Oktoberfest-style beer tent and be done with it? Flamboyant extravagance is all very well, but what people really get their teeth into is a bit of good old fashioned, back to basics fun. Continue reading “Try A Jimny, You’ll Be Converted” »