Getting to Grips with Suzuki
"Who needs a supercar?"
Rolls-Royces, Bentleys, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, McLarens and top of the range Porsches are mostly brilliant cars. A new model of any of these sell like hot cakes, in some cases from the second the launch of the car is announced. That’s because top of the range cars are a fairly easy sell; sensational cars for people with sensational money. As such, manufacturers sell them in relatively small numbers but with great margins.
It’s much harder to profitably produce a regular car that many of us average folk can afford; a Suzuki is a much harder challenge to a manufacturer than say an Aston Martin DB11. A Suzuki has to compete with umpteen other competitors for customers buying on affordable budgets with a much greater span of needs than simply preference and desire.
Yet right now I’m having the time of my life squeezing every ounce of performance out of the new Suzuki Swift SHVS Allgrip. We’re driving through some sweeping hills in South Wales, and I’m having just as much fun as I would be behind the wheel of a powerful sports car. Overtaking is of course a challenge; I have only 90ps to play with from the 1.2 litre dual-jet petrol engine, but somehow that makes overtaking all the more fun – having to work with flow, momentum, and timing rather than the less challenging alternative of pressing the right foot for more power from a big engine.
It’s no wonder then that I’m smiling by the time we get to our off-road destination, the purpose being to explore the capabilities of Suzuki’s latest four-wheel drive model line-up. The predictable, sure-footed and safe handling of the Swift Allgrip makes for a truly fun drive. Who needs a supercar? Well actually… me. But hey, if I can’t afford one, the Swift gives me enough driving pleasure to be happy.
Price: £16,649 | Engine: K12C/4cyl – 1.2 dual-jet | Transmission: Manual |Top Speed: 105 mph | Acceleration: 0-62 mph 12.6 secs | Emissions: CO2/g/km 101 | Average Fuel Consumption: 62.8 mpg
So, to the new 4x4 Suzuki Vitara S for a bit of offroad fun. It is unlikely that many Vitara S buyers will be so inclined, but in these days of global warming even a family weekend in the country can turn into Hurricane Katrina. It was thus reassuring to experience just how competent and self-assured the Vitara S proved to be, coping admirably with our challenging off-road route. Thankfully there’s not a host of gadgets to press for the purpose, just four driver selectable modes that will cope with situations those new to off-road driving might find pretty remarkable. Just have confidence in the technology and allow it to do the work for you. Despite massive ups, downs, and scarily deep and slippery mixed terrain, the Vitara S did the job. Unless you intend to go on a world safari, the Vitara S will do. If you’re a purist and want to climb Everest with it… well that probably won’t happen.
Price: £23,249 | Engine: 1.4 boosterjet | Transmission: Auto | Top Speed: 124 mph | Acceleration: 0-62 mph 10.2 secs | Emissions: CO2/g/km 127 | Average Fuel Consumption: 52.3 mpg
You might, though, want to try Everest with the Jimny – the vehicle of choice for the more serious rugged types with thick jumpers. This one’s the workhorse, when off-roading is not fun, but probably ‘work’. It’s time to roll your sleeves up and get those extra rigid front and rear axles working. This one’ll get you through the worst, its transfer box allowing high or low ratio all-wheel drive depending on the level of the suicide mission. Personally, I’ve never had any interest in the little Jimny, but now I’d buy one just to be a hooligan off-road somewhere.
What gets me is that all this fun is available for honest money. You could buy all three of these for the price of one heavily spec’d Range Rover Autobiography, probably with a good dollop of change too.
Price: £14,784 | Engine: 1.3/4cyl | Transmission: Manual | Top Speed: 87 mph | Acceleration: 0-62 mph 14.1 secs | Emissions: CO2/g/km 162 | Average Fuel Consumption: 39.8 mpg
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