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)” »

Toyota Corolla takes back No.1 sales spot in NZ

October 7th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Toyota Corolla has taken back the number one sales spot on the NZ national sales charts, both for the month of September and year to date. The Corolla has faced stiff competition this year from the new 2011 Suzuki Swift and the pair have dueled it out for total sales supremacy.

Official data for the month of September shows Corolla outsold all other passenger and commercial vehicles, and Toyota’s Hilux ute took a strong second place. It was a very strong month for Toyota with four vehicles in the sales top 10 – the others being the Highlander SUV and the Hiace van.

Steve Prangnell, general manager Sales and Operations, said the sales figures reflect the full recovery of Toyota’s international supply chain, which slowed for several months after Japan’s earthquake and tsunami. “To have Hilux at the top of the overall year to date table, and Corolla a strong second, is incredibly pleasing. It shows Kiwis trust the Toyota brand and keep turning to the vehicles they know and love.” Continue reading “Toyota Corolla takes back No.1 sales spot in NZ” »

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” »