Stability control now standard on all new NZ Suzuki cars

January 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Suzuki NZ has just taken a step up the safety ladder with the announcement that electronic stability control will be fitted on all its new passenger car models sold in New Zealand.

The technology, is now standard specification across the Suzuki range, from the least costly Alto hatchback to the most expensive Kizashi executive sedan.

“We are delighted this potentially life-saving feature is included in all our new cars,” said Tom Peck, General Manager of Marketing for Suzuki New Zealand. “ESP is the most important step forward in motor vehicle occupant safety since the seat belt and we have made it our mantra for it to be available to more New Zealand motorists,” he said.

Arrival of the all-new sixth generation Suzuki Swift with standard ESP on each variant has completed the availability of the safety technology on all passenger models marketed by the brand.

According to several international safety agencies, one-third of fatal road accidents could have been prevented by ESP. From September this year, ESP will be mandatory on all new cars sold in the United States. It will also be a requirement in Australia by November 2013, and in Europe by 2014.

The technology features a series of sensors mounted at each wheel, on the steering wheels and in the centre of the car. These sensors constantly measure information at the rate of 50 times a second.

When understeer or oversteer is detected, ESP reduces engine torque and applies hydraulic pressure at the target wheel to ensure smooth, safe driving. Continue reading “Stability control now standard on all new NZ Suzuki cars” »

Suzuki Swift tops NZ hatchback sales race for sixth year

January 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Suzuki Swift has romped ahead in the New Zealand new car sales race for the sixth successive year. NZ’s love affair with the Swift seems far from over with the small hatch posting a 17 per cent sales gain over the previous year while total Suzuki car sales increased by 14 per cent.

Still going strong even after six years, the fifth generation Swift hatchback is the most successful Suzuki passenger car model ever sold in New Zealand. Last year it was a key factor in Suzuki increasing its total new car sales by 22 per cent to a record market penetration of 7.1 per cent.

Suzuki sold 4,411 cars in 2010 compared with 3,612 in 2009 and maintained its position as the sixth best selling passenger franchise. Not only did the European inspired Swift outsell all other super-mini cars last year, it was second overall to the Toyota Corolla in all model sales.

“In a tough private buyer market the popularity of the Swift and the benefits of Suzuki’s real value pricing policy shone through to consumers” said Tom Peck, General Manager of Marketing for Suzuki New Zealand.

Amazingly, more than 20,000 examples of the current generation Swift are now on New Zealand roads. Continue reading “Suzuki Swift tops NZ hatchback sales race for sixth year” »

Booming Indian car market shuns Tata Nano

December 17th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

When it comes to cars, price point isn’t everything, just ask the Tata Nano. Major production delays, land debates and serious questions over occupant safety are slowly killing the Tata Nano and its aspirations in the Indian market. India’s people car has hit hard times despite the nation’s booming car market and a low asking price of just US$2,900.

The overall car market in India is growing at a crazy rate with a 22% year-to-date increase in car sales. With those sort of statistics Tata must have felt it was onto a sure thing and things started out well, with 200,000 advanced orders for the sub-subcompact leading to its 2009 launch. But sales have dropped severely with the Indian carmaker selling just 509 Nano’s in November, down from 9,000 in July.

By comparison India’s bestselling car is the US$6,200 Maruti Suzuki Alto. It offers a larger engine, more spacious interior and a longer history than the Nano, this leads many buyers to go with the Alto even though it costs more than twice as much. With 30,000 units sold in November, the numbers seems to agree. Even the US$7,800 Hyundai i10 is easily outselling the Nano.

So what are the reasons behind the Nano’s demise? Well it turns out that even though the cheapest cars are still where the buying action is in India, but peoples aspirations are getting greater and they want something more substantial. Also at the time of its launch, the Nano was unavailable and dealerships and many customers were put off by not being able to test drive the vehicle before placing an order.

Continue reading “Booming Indian car market shuns Tata Nano” »

Suzuki Kizashi Ltd & Sport 2010 Review

November 12th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Changing brand perception isn’t an easy task; consumers often have strong mental associations that can be difficult to break down. Suzuki is well known by most for its motorbikes and successful range of small cars like the Swift. But Suzuki decided a few years back that this image wasn’t enough and it wanted to be seen as a full strength carmaker. The only way Suzuki could see to show it’s a heavy hitter was to move up a weight division into the mid-size sedan segment. Now, after learning the ropes with a series of concept cars Suzuki has unleashed the production version of its Kizashi sedan for the NZ market. But will it have the deft moves and raw firepower to trouble the established journeyman of this hard fought category? Car and SUV spent some time ringside with the Kizashi Limited and the Kizashi Sport to find out more.

So how does it look?

The Kizashi’s Euro-inspired styling is athletic and handsome with a strong road presence and clever branding. A large Suzuki logo is framed at the front by a wide mesh grille and large HID headlights. A curved bonnet pushes back into lean shoulder lines and thick C-pillars add to the muscular look. But it’s the Kizashi’s rear design which is most distinctive with its curved boot lid, wrap around taillights and integrated stainless steel exhaust covers that pay homage to Suzuki’s motorcycle designs. The stumpy boot and minimal rear overhang help make the Kizashi look compact but boot capacity is surprisingly large at 461-litres.

Continue reading “Suzuki Kizashi Ltd & Sport 2010 Review” »

Suzuki Grand Vitara boasts extra features for NZ market

November 10th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The popular Suzuki Grand Vitara has just been given some serious product upgrades for the NZ market.

Electronic stability programme (ESP) and cruise control are now standard across the Grand Vitara range, including the entry level three-door 2.4 JLX.

The LTD Flagship version of the five-door 2.4 four-cylinder models available in New Zealand is now equipped with seven-spoke 18 inch diameter alloy wheels shod with 225/65 series tyres. Previously these wheels were an optional extra.

All versions have climate control air conditioning, trip and fuel computer, alloy wheels and anti-lock brakes with EBD and brake assist.

The Grand Vitara’s braking capability has also been improved by standard fitment of four wheel disc brakes, underpinning the vehicle’s high safety standards.

“We have had strong business enquiry for Grand Vitara from clients who have requirements for a low range four wheel drive but would like a more compact and affordable vehicle than a double cab utility,” said Gary Collins, sales manager for Suzuki New Zealand.

More than 2.5 million Grand Vitaras have been sold world-wide, and the model has racked up more than 35 awards.

On-road recommended retail prices start from $31,690 for the three-door 2.4 model with five-speed manual transmission extending to $41,990 for the five-door 2.4 LTD and $46,990 for the five-door 3.2 litre V6 LTD.

Click here to read a Car and SUV review of the Suzuki Grand Vitara.

Suzuki previews superbike inspired Swift R Concept

October 15th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The Suzuki Swift has dominated the small car scene here in NZ for a few years now but its never really had much to offer genuine hot hatch fans. That may change in the future with the next-generation 2011 model.

There will be plenty of economy-focused, low-spec models to please the masses in the new Swift range, but to build some serious excitement for the launch Suzuki is preparing a pumped up 2011 Suzuki Swift R Concept to present at the Beijing Auto Show next year.

Apparently, it draws on inspiration from Suzuki’s line of GSX-R ‘superbikes’, the new Swift R Concept will feature an aggressive wide body kit wrapped around pumped up guards and fat tyres. The concept car has also been lowered with a custom sports suspension setup, with the camber adjusted to give it a more menacing stance.

No official specs have been released at this stage but power is expected to come from a turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine rated at 135kW and it will send the power exclusively to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual clutch transmission.

Look out for more info on the Swift R Concept when it debuts next year.

Suzuki releases Swift SR7 Special Edition into NZ market

September 28th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Suzuki NZ has just announced a new limited edition version of its ever-popular Swift to be introduced into the New Zealand market.

The SR7 Special Edition adaption of the Swift five-door hatchback celebrates an unbroken record of leading sales in the small car category. The Swift was highest selling super-mini for the fourth successive year in 2009 and has continued its number one position on the local market this year.

Based on the 1.5-litre Swift GLX model with six airbags, the new SR7 model includes a number of special features as standard. A black spoiler and skirting kit is included with special wheel arch mouldings, side body skirts, and door mouldings featuring.

Filling the wheel arches are 17-inch diameter MAK7 aluminium alloy road wheels finished with a liquid smoke background. These special wheels are shod with Bridgestone MY01 205/40 low profile R17 tyres.

Available with the choice of a 5-speed manual gearbox or automatic transmission, the Swift is also given SR7 body graphics and an optional rear upper spoiler is available to special order.

Suzuki is offering the SR7 in seven colours – Bluish Black, Azure Grey, Pearly White, Shiny Green, Supreme Red, Silky Silver and Kashmir Blue Pearl Metallic.

“The SR7 represents outstanding value, with $4,000 worth of accessories as standard and a retail price similar to the Swift GLX model,” said Tom Peck, General Manager of Marketing for Suzuki New Zealand.

“With its youthful good looks and responsive handling, the Swift has become something of an icon and the SR7 adds an extra slice of attitude,” he said. “The added enhancements make this latest Swift stand out from the crowd but production numbers will be limited.”

In manual form, the Swift SR7 goes on sale at a recommended on-road price of $22,500, with a $1,490 premium for the automatic variant.

Manual transmission SR7 models are fitted with a Coby sports rear muffler.

The SR7 is additional to the Swift range which also includes XE, GLX, Sport, RS Limited and Limited versions.

Suzuki SX4 Ltd Sporthatch 2010 Review

June 11th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

When most people think of a compact hatchback made by Suzuki it’s one model they usually have in mind — the Swift. But the Suzuki range has another small hatch within its ranks named the SX4. Riding higher than the Swift and with a larger engine the crossover-inspired SX4 hasn’t been able to match the Swift’s popularity since it was first introduced back in 2007. Back then, some claimed the SX4 was too thirsty for a small car and commented on the absence of a stability control system. Now for 2010, the SX4 is fighting back with a revised model range that features a CVT transmission, improved economy and better safety credentials. Car and SUV spent a week in the facelifted SX4 to see if it’s ready to emerge from behind its Swift sibling’s sizable shadow.

So what’s new on the 2010 model? Well, plenty, just not much in terms of exterior sheet metal. Some subtle tweaks feature up front in a new grille design and on our tested Ltd-spec model, sharp 17-inch alloys fill the guards. Elsewhere it’s a smart-looking hatchback with a tall but progressive stance, raked back headlights and a distinctive wrap-around rear windshield. The Ltd Sporthatch receives extras like front fog lamps and a sports-styled skirting kit with high mounted rear spoiler. Overall, the SX4’s looks aren’t exactly groundbreaking and while slightly generic, do still carry a broad modern appeal.

Continue reading “Suzuki SX4 Ltd Sporthatch 2010 Review” »