The expansion of Suzuki’s popular Swift range, through the addition of the Swift Sport, may just provide Suzuki Auto South Africa (SASA) with a healthy boost in its aim to sell 6 000 vehicles this year, up from 5 462 units in 2011.
SASA national marketing manager Francois van Eeden says the company, 85%-owned by Suzuki in Japan, targets sales of between 40 and 50 of the newcomer a month, adding to the 120 ‘standard’ Swifts sold each month.
SASA currently sells six models in South Africa, with the Swift the most popular last year, at 1 509 units. The Alto sold 1 319 units, and the SX4 1 345 units. The Swift was one of two models that spearheaded the launch of SASA in June 2008.
The new Swift Sport is a permanent introduction, and not a one-off special edition, as seen two years ago. It now also has five doors, and not three, which SASA hopes will see it appealing to a wider audience.
Other gains for the new, nippy vehicle over the previous Sport are a 13% reduction in fuel consumption, to 6.5 ℓ/100 km, with a subsequent drop in carbon dioxide emissions by 8%, notes Van Eeden.
Power is up by almost 9%, at 160 Nm of torque and 100 kW of power. This means the zero to 100 km/h sprint time has been reduced to 8.7 seconds, down from 8.9 seconds for the previous model. Top speed is 195 km/h.
The new 1.6 Swift Sport also shed 30 kg, which provides the vehicle with an 11% improvement in the power to weight ratio, while it now also sits 10 mm closer to the road. Suzuki also promises that the nimble Swift Sport’s roll angles during cornering are about 15% less than the previous model’s, and that the rear wheels track the driver’s steering inputs 20% more accurately than its predecessor.Like
all vehicles which boast a ‘sport’ nomenclature, the racier of the Swift family has several extras that proclaim its ambitions. Here it includes side underspoilers, 16-inch multispoke alloy wheels, dual exhaust mufflers, a metallic-grey diffuser, a roof-end spoiler, hairline chrome instrument panel decorations, stainless steel pedals and red-stitched accents on the leather steering wheel. Even the names of the Swift Sport colours echo this sentiment: Champion Yellow, Premium Silver Metallic, Boost Blue Pearl, Ablaze Red Pearl, Super Black Pearl and Snow White Pearl.
Standard equipment includes automatic air conditioning, electric power steering, six airbags, electric windows and side mirrors, a six-speaker sound system including a CD player with MP3 support, a USB port and remote keyless entry and starting.
There is also an electronic stability programme, which controls the braking forces and engine torque to counteract wheel slip, enhancing stability on the road, as well as electronic brake-force distribution and an antilock brake system.
The new Swift Sport has a price tag of R213 900. This includes metallic paint, as well as a three-year/100 000 km warranty, a four-year/60 000 km service plan and an AA roadside assistance plan, incorporating break-down towing, 24-hour road patrols, battery, fuel and locksmith call-out services, and emergency medical rescue.