Suzuki making waves (Again)

by Stephen de Vries 669 views0

  • New Suzuki Splash links minicar footprint to maximised interior space
  • Becomes the eighth nameplate in Suzuki Auto SA’s vehicle line-up
  • Aptly expresses Suzuki’s small-car expertise
  • Frugal 1,2-litre engine ensures zesty dynamics and low consumption
  • Two specification levels, high safety standards
  • Automatic transmission option reflects growing demand in minicar sector

Suzuki Auto South Africa has added the versatile, zippy and affordable Suzuki Splash hatchback to its local model line-up. The Splash joins an already extensive range of Suzuki passenger cars, MPVs and SUVs on offer in SA and will boost demand for the brand’s products even further.

The feisty newcomer’s fresh, youthful styling and versatile layout are expected to endear it to a wide range of buyers – from singles and young families to empty nesters. A compact footprint, tall roofline, comparatively long wheelbase and short overhangs create a surprisingly spacious and practical interior.

For the South African market, the Suzuki Splash is powered by the familiar, zesty 1,2-litre four-cylinder engine also fitted to entry-level Swift hatchback models. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard, but a four-speed automatic transmission is available as an option.

In line with Suzuki’s reputation for exceptional value, the Splash boasts a useful array of standard features. Even the affordable GA derivative features dual airbags and ABS brakes, while the GL version includes additional comfort and convenience items.

“The new Suzuki Splash usefully fills a gap between our popular, entry-level Alto minicar and the highly successful Swift subcompact hatchback,” says Francois van Eeden, national marketing manager at Suzuki Auto SA.

“It provides a level of space and practicality not usually available in the minicar segment. But it’s also fun to drive, thanks to its agile road manners and composed ride. At the same time, its efficient drivetrain keeps running costs low.”

EXTERIOR STYLING

While practicality and versatility are important aspects of the Splash design, aesthetic appeal hasn’t been compromised. Indeed, form does follow function, but in a way that is also attractive in cosmetic terms.

At 3 775 mm long, 1 680 mm wide and 1 620 mm tall, the Splash’s compact exterior dimensions benefit manoeuvrability in tight spaces such as shopping centre parking lots, while also ensuring wieldy handling. At the same time, the relatively generous 2 360 mm wheelbase, and wide front and rear tracks (1 470 and 1 480 mm respectively) ensure sure-footed stability.

The short overhangs, relatively long wheelbase and tall roofline all conspire to maximise interior space, but also endow the Splash with a cheeky, youthful appearance. The front view is dominated by large headlight clusters, while a slim upper grille and larger lower air intakes add a purposeful expression.

The roofline’s rearward taper emphasises the aerodynamic profile of the car, while a high waistline, flared wheel arches and pronounced lower character line create an athletic impression. From the rear, the almost vertical tailgate adds a cheeky touch, emphasised by the pronounced tail light clusters. All Splash models ride on 14-inch steel wheels with full-sized styled wheel covers.

INTERIOR

The cabin of the new Splash reflects its youthful personality, while also adding comfort, style and versatility to the equation. Boosted by the high roofline, the impression of space is particularly impressive, with ample legroom and headroom to provide seating for five adult occupants.

The extended roofline is a key feature of the new Splash. It allows the seating positions to be raised, which benefits all-round visibility, while it also means that the doors are larger, which benefits convenient entry and exit.

The front seats have been sculpted for additional comfort and support, while the rear bench seat offers three distinct seating positions, and is split 60/40 for modular extension of the cargo compartment when necessary. Head restraints are standard front and rear.

The layout of the controls and instruments places the emphasis on user-friendly ergonomics, with a single, large analogue speedometer positioned directly ahead of the driver.

The white-faced dial also incorporates a digital information display, indicating range, average fuel consumption and instant fuel consumption, as well as incorporating dual trip meters. In the case of the GL models, a separate rev counter adds a sporty element.

The controls for the air-conditioning and the integrated audio system (in the case of the GL models) are centrally located for convenient operation, while the high-mounted gear shift lever is within easy reach, too. A grippy three-spoke steering wheel is standard, with GL versions equipped with steering wheel-mounted audio system controls.

Smart, durable finishes create an upmarket ambience. The dashboard gets a charcoal textured finish (with metallic-look detailing in GL models), while the seats are upholstered in durable, attractive cloth with contrasting inserts.

The Splash offers an extended array of storage options, including a lidded binnacle on the top of the centre stack, an oddments tray behind the gear shift lever, a hinged glove compartment, and a large storage tray ahead of the front passenger.

Front door binnacles with integrated bottle holders, front and rear cup holders, and seatback pockets are standard, too. On GL models, the passenger seat has an under-seat, slide-out tray .

The 60/40 split rear bench seat provides a versatile range of seating versus cargo area combinations. Folding down both seat sections creates a generous, flat-floored cargo area with a total volume of 1 050 litres to roof height. A low loading sill eases access when loading bulky or heavy objects.

SAFETY AND SECURITY

The new Suzuki Splash offers a comprehensive complement of safety and security features.

All models are fitted with dual front airbags as standard, together with side impact protection beams in the doors, and inertia reel seatbelts for both the front and the two outer rear seating positions. The centre rear seating position is equipped with a lap belt, while the front seat belts have pre-tensioners and load limiters.

Also standard across all Splash models is ABS anti-lock braking for the front disc/rear drum brake system. Child locks are provided for the rear doors, and central locking is standard, with keyless entry offered on GL models.

DRIVETRAIN AND SUSPENSION

All three models in the South African Suzuki Splash range are powered by the same 1,2-litre four-cylinder engine. The 1 197 cc unit has a maximum output of 63 kW at 6 000 r/min, combined with a torque peak of 113 Nm at 4 500 r/min.

The powerplant has already proven its mettle in the larger Swift, thanks to an admirable combination of zip and economy. The engine revs freely to ensure smooth, willing performance, while gear ratios have been selected for an ideal compromise between response and economy.

The standard transmission is a five-speed manual gearbox, driving the front wheels, but a four-speed automatic transmission is also offered.

The underpinnings of the Splash are based on the Swift, and it therefore shares the larger hatchback’s compliant ride and agile road manners. The rack-and-pinion steering is electrically assisted in the interests of efficiency, while the turning circle of just 9,4 metres is further proof of the Splash’s agility.

The independent front suspension consists of MacPherson struts and an anti-roll bar, while the rear layout employs a space-saving torsion beam with coil springs and dampers.

PERFORMANCE AND ECONOMY

With a kerb mass of just more than a ton, and a lively 1,2-litre engine, the new Suzuki Splash delivers nippy performance. The five-speed manual model accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 12,3 seconds, while top speed is 160 km/h.

Fuel economy is exemplary, with a combined-cycle consumption figure of 5,6 litres/100 km in the case of manual models, and 6,4 litres/100 km for the automatic transmission variant. CO2 emissions levels come to 133 and 150 g/km respectively.

MODEL RANGE AND STANDARD SPECIFICATION

The Suzuki Splash model range consists of three models, all powered by the same 1,2-litre petrol engine, but with a choice of two transmissions and two specification levels.

The most affordable member of the line-up is the Splash 1.2 GA, but it still boasts an impressive list of standard features. This model is only available with the five-speed manual transmission.

The GA’s list of comfort and convenience features includes a digital clock, air-conditioning, key-operated central locking, cloth seats, and 60/40 split rear seats.

This model also gets the full complement of safety features common to all Splash models, including dual airbags, ABS brakes, side impact protection, front and rear head restraints, inertia reel seatbelts, and rear child locks.

The Splash 1.2 GL is offered with a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions. Externally, the key distinguishing features include colour-coded door handles, front fog lamps, and a sporty rear spoiler.

An extended standard features list includes a rev counter in addition to the large speedometer, a four-speaker CD receiver audio system with auxiliary and USB inputs, and audio controls on the tilt-adjustable three-spoke steering wheel.

In addition, GL models gain keyless entry, electrically operated windows, and a heated rear screen with wipe/wash system. The front passenger seat also gains an under-seat stowage tray.

SERVICING AND WARRANTY

The Suzuki Splash is sold with a three-year/100 000 km warranty, and a

two-year/30 000 km service plan. Scheduled services are at 15 000 km intervals