Nobody knows better than Suzuki how to make a small car truly sporty
Starting early-morning from my Lincolnshire home, I drove across country to collect a colleague and friend from Ludlow. Having equipped my Baleno with some Bridgestone Turanza tyres (on test), I was keen to experience how they would manage our subsequent drive north, through spectacular Welsh countryside, to Anglesey and the high-speed ferry service to Dublin. The tyres worked wonderfully, improving the already sound handling of Baleno. The drive was an enthusiastic delight.
However, with a ferry that had ‘gone technical’, which is always a good excuse for upsetting travellers, we had to spend almost five hours familiarising ourselves with the town of Holyhead (where I discovered the marvellous, Welsh, Abbey Falls Marmalade Gin at lunchtime), until the next scheduled service to Ireland docked. Don’t worry, it was only a small gin!
Eventually, we arrived at our hotel just south of Dublin, dined at 9.30pm and enjoyed a welcome night’s kip, before the Swift Sport test exercise commenced after breakfast next morning. Having requested a launch edition of the car in that wonderful acid yellow colour, we set off at full-tilt (wherever it was possible) and into the mountains so beloved by Irish rally fans. Given licence to indulge in the Swift’s amazingly broad resources, I soon began to stretch the envelope, working the six-speed manual gearbox to a frenzy and feeling the benefits of well-tied suspension.
After tackling the tarmac ‘stages’, we headed for Mondello Park racing circuit, grabbing a few seriously quick laps, prior to driving to Dublin docks for the homeward trek aboard the conveniently-named ‘Dublin Swift’ ferry. The Swift Sport more than proved its potential in Ireland, with brakes that work, a knife-through-butter gearshift quality and chassis dynamics that are exemplary. How it would tackle the A5 down through Wales was a joy to be fulfilled.
Waiting a week for my Baleno to be returned was not a hardship. The Swift Sport is a comfortable place for my sizeable (two metres tall) form, which confounds a theory that big people are better suited to large cars. I fell in love with its intelligent design and revelled in its taut, yet amazingly supple suspension. It is a car as easy to footle to the shops in, as it is to punt furiously around a racetrack, or ‘traffic-lite’ back-doubles.
Ever so easily, I could be tempted by this beguiling little hatchback to order one as a replacement for my Baleno in 2020, with the exception that I actually want a Vitara 1.4S. However, armed with the same 137bhp BoosterJet engine in the significantly lighter and more efficient Swift body, it is a car that deserves its ‘Sport’ designation. Few cars are as competent as the Suzuki Swift Sport, which explains why it is being a runaway success story for Suzuki Cars GB.
Luscombe’s summary: Not only Iain loves the Swift Sport. We are managing our way through a demanding waiting list for a car that has fast become the king of compact hot hatches. Be patient. Yours will come soon.
Next week, Iain gains a deeper insight to the new Jimny, not due until January next year.
Being in contact is a modern phenomenon and Suzuki connectivity helps
One of the easiest and simplest methods of pairing-up your mobile-phone, or music selection, is made possible by Suzuki’s colourful ‘touch-screen’ interface, which is common to all SZ5 models but also to some others below that trim level.
There can be nothing more annoying than hopping into a new car, as I do frequently, only to fail to hook-up my smartphone readily. The ‘mirroring’ exercise in a Suzuki takes mere seconds to achieve and, once the connection is made with the car, its call performance is second-to-none.
Of course, it uses Bluetooth wireless technology to achieve the task, which is virtually standard across all forms of communications media. No matter how often you enter, or depart, the car, every time you do so and you have your mobile in a pocket, or handbag, the car recognises it and reconnects. You can load upwards of five electronic alternatives, if that is your fancy.
There is an added degree of functionality with the Suzuki system in that, having depressed the ‘speech’ button on the steering wheel, a simple instruction ‘Phone’, will connect you, via the in-car screen to your mobile-phone. You can then make, or receive, a call and even send messages in a safe and legally ‘hands-free’ manner. Of course, any in-car ‘distractions’ can be regarded as ‘unwelcome’, as they take your mind, if not your eyes, off the road ahead and behind. Therefore, use your device judiciously. If you need to make, or respond to a call, it is always better to stop, where it is both safe and convenient, to do so. Yet, you can communicate on the move, because the Suzuki system allows it.
Sadly, top-spec Suzukis do not feature a separate CD player and attempting to acquire the hardware is very difficult. A great many of us possess enormous CD music collections. However, whether using your mobile-phone’s music record/playback facilities, or investing in an iPod, or even using a USB stick, you can experience a competent digital reproduction on Suzuki’s in-built stereo hardware. The sockets for power and connections are at the base of the centre console.
One of the most useful Suzuki accessories that I have purchased for my Baleno is the nylon-padded ‘gadget bag’ that slots precisely where the drinks-holder would be located ahead of the gearlever.
Okay. I have lost the ability to carry fluids for personal consumption in my car (although the door pockets still have useful bottle and can slots) but I now have a rattle-free receptacle for my mobile-phone, my iPod, loose change for car parks and shopping trolleys and other personal possessions. Connectivity in a Suzuki is both easy and practical and you do not need to be an electronics genius to work it.
Luscombe’s summary: Our staff can help by answering any questions you may have on connectivity. If you like Iain’s in-car organiser, it is available at £21 from our parts department.
Next week: Iain considers the merits of ‘keyless entry and start-stop’.
Did you like this article? Why not share it?