The previous-generation Suzuki New Swift GLX.MT started a revolution in the light car segment, but has the new one upped the ante once again?
If you’re a movie buff you’d well and truly know how irritating it is when Hollywood decides to make a horrible sequel of your favourite film. Starship Troppers is a good example, the first movie was pretty good, but the second one left a lot to the imagination. Predator 2, Superman Returns… the list goes on.
What about cars? When a car company nails a certain look, feel and hence starts a trend in an entire category, it’s very difficult to maintain momentum and bring out the next-generation of the same model that continues with similar levels of success.
The Suzuki Swift was the first of the new-generation of light cars that went for the cutesy look, but also provided serious ride and handling characteristics with great practicality, build quality and reliability. I liken it an affordable Japanese built Mini Cooper. It was arguably the first of the light-cars that even young men found okay to be seen in (that’s a big call). Nearly seven years has gone by since the last-generation Swift went on sale in Australia, resulting in more than 65,000 sales.
Back to our sequels analogy. Why do some movie sequels suck? Generaly it’s because they lack the same big-name actors, the story is pretty poor and the budget is about 1/10th of the original. Lucky for Suzuki, the new Swift is more like Iron Man 2. Everything you loved about the first movie but more action, more goodies and if you happen to be female, more Robert Downey Junior. Essentially just, more Swift.
From the outside it looks relatively similar to the old one, which is good for many reasons. One, because it will keep the good resale value of the old model (it’s always a good sign when a brand cares about its existing customers). Two, because everyone loved the original unique design, and three, because good car design philosophy has changed somewhat to be more evolutionary than revolutionary.
Suzuki had the option of going for a more radical design but decided to stick with the same theme. The big question though, is whether or not it will stand the test of time. The original design is now more than seven years old and this evolutionary update will no doubt carry the nameplate for at least the next five years. Will it still look good then? Only time will tell.
SUZUKI ERTIGA GL M/T
The new Suzuki’s Ertiga’s compact form factor and low-slung, car-like proportions belie its considerable interior space, seven-seater capacity and generous cargo area.
At just 4 265 mm long, 1 695 mm wide and 1 685 mm high, the Ertiga looks the sleek and streamlined part, emphasised by short overhangs that position the wheels at each corner, thereby maximising interior space.
Also assisting the efficient packaging of the newcomer is the front-engined, front-wheel drive layout, which places all the bulky mechanicals at the front of the car, away from the passenger compartment, while also minimising drivetrain losses.
The interior dimensions of the cabin are impressive, with an interior length of 2 665 mm, an interior width of 1 415 mm and an interior height of 1 310 mm.
The three seating rows can be varied and configured to offer the optimum combination of accommodation and cargo space for different needs: from maximum seating space for seven, to a conventional split of two seating rows and a generous luggage compartment, or even both second and third seating rows folded down to create a cavernous cargo area.
With all three seating rows in position, the luggage compartment offers 135 litres of loading space. This increases to 482 litres when the third seating row is folded flat, while also folding down the second seat row increases cargo carrying capacity to a mammoth 736 litres. The cargo area dimensions are a generous 1 180 x 1 840 x 860 mm.
A key trait is the flat loading floor, created by folding the seating rows down, which eases loading of long items, and the fact that the second row seat bench is split 60:40, allowing an even more versatile combination of seating and cargo space. There’s even a hidden 22 litre storage space under the cargo floor in the case of GL and GLX models.
On the subject of access, the Ertiga’s rear doors open wide in the interests of easy passenger entry and exit, as well for easier loading and unloading of bulkier items. At the rear, a low loading height of 706 mm, and a generous loading aperture measuring 860 mm high and 1 180 mm wide, makes loading and unloading of cargo a cinch.
The Ertiga also offers ample cup holders and storage binnacles, including a glove compartment, a dashboard rack, door pockets, seat back pockets and bottle holders. The exact combination of storage options varies between GA, GL and GLX models.
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