ONE successful new model can give a carmaker a whole new dimension and that certainly is the case with Suzuki
ONE successful new model can give a carmaker a whole new dimension and that certainly is the case with Suzuki and the Swift.
Having won plaudits from motoring journalists and customers alike for the Swift, Suzuki offers a special edition of the car with young drivers in mind. This week’s drive, the Special Edition Swift SZ-L, which went on sale earlier this year is, says Suzuki, “ideal for younger Swift fans”.
This is a shrewd move by the Japanese carmaker: I imagine a lot of young new drivers look covetously at some of the new cars available and say: “If only I could afford one like that!” I know I did when I was young.
The SZ-L is based on the 1.2 litre SZ3 model but offers young drivers hard-pressed by rising insurance premiums a lower rating of 11E plus a 1.2 litre Dual VVT 94PS engine. This achieves emissions of 116g/km CO2, fuel economy of 56.5 mpg (combined) and only £30 in annual road tax licence.
The 11E rating is helpful though insurance group ratings are advisory — insurers don’t have to follow them. But as one well-known ad slogan goes, every little helps, especially when you are starting out as a new car owner.
What young drivers will get — and here comes the shrewd part of Suzuki’s marketing techinique on this car — is the great looks of the Swift at a lower cost.
The power source in the SZ-L is identical to the same engine SZ-3 Swift but with a sportier look that appeals to young people. The car does not have the performance of the 1.6-engined Suzuki Swift Sport but then the rating there is higher up the insurance group scale at 19A. However, the looks of the cars are similar.
The SZ-L then may not have the zip of the swifter Swifts but again — with young drivers, particularly young males, being those most likely to be involved in road accidents — this cannot be a bad thing.
The SZ-L, however, emulates the fastest Swift’s handsome styling. The hardest aspect to learn while driving I have found is discipline and on the roads today that means driving at all times with safety the number one priority.
We all get tempted to put our foot down when it would be better not to but I think the risks of collision are far greater today than they have ever been.
So if Suzuki is on to a good thing, then you might ask why don’t other carmakers follow suit? The answer is they do and have been offering incentives for young drivers — summer special editions, for example — for many years. The difference with the Swift SZ-L is that it is a “complete” package.
For your money you get a great-looking supermini that is giving its competitors a good run for their money.
As well as the insurance rating the SZ-L specification includes air conditioning, USB port, front fog lamps, Bluetooth connectivity and cruise control.
And because young people like a bit of razzmatazz Suzuki has come up with styling features which include a rear upper spoiler in body colour, privacy glass, polished 16in wheels, red interior stitching and standard metallic paint.
Having achieved global Swift sales of three million units since May 2005, the Swift has become a compact supermini to be reckoned with.
The SZ-L version while not necessarily appealing to those who find the zip and willingness of the Swift Sport a joy to behold, at the very least offers younger drivers a glimpse of the good times to come with regard to motoring.
Swift SZ-L factfile:
* Price £10,599 for the three-door model and £11,016 for five-door
* Max speed: 103mph
* 0-62mph: 12.3 seconds
* Engine: 1.2 petrol
* Heated electric door mirrors
* Keyless entry and push button start
* Audio controls on steering wheel
Swift SZ-L factfile
Price £10,599 for the three-door model and £11,016 for five-door model