Ok, ok, I know, that was one cheesy title but I really couldn't help myself. I'm not even sure that a kei car can have a boot, but if they did, then this would be one. This right here is the all-new Suzuki Dzire, and it's now an entity all of its own. Before you'd hear people describe these as a "Swift with a boot", which was accurate because it's pretty much what it was, but now the Dzire badge identifies a whole new model range in the Suzuki household. Well the badge as well as some other exterior details as well as a different dashboard that has notable differences to the Swift. Up front the nose of the Dzire features a split bumper with a clearly divided upper and lower airdam, whereas on the Swift it's one larger airdam with a split lower down making it look like a smile. There's also chrome trim surrounding the grille and on the pronounced angles below the fog lights. On the Swift, Suzuki have given it a floating roof design thanks to blacked-out A and B-pillars with a section in the top of the C-pillar, all of which isn't seen on the Dzire which keeps it looking a little more upmarket. Before you could fit a Swift window in the sedan version, but with a different angle on the A-pillars for a more aggressive rake and a better drag coefficient (18% better) means parts can't be swapped across anymore. Not a bad thing in any way. Oh, and the wheels are also different on both cars...
As I said, the interior is also different and so you now find silver accents throughout the dashboard and air vents (that mimic the design of the front grille). There's a new instrument cluster, that features a clearly readable multi-information display showing distance, power, fuel consumption. When you bump up a level to the GL-spec model there's the addition of a rev gauge, more silver bits and premium white illumination that looks rather good. Specs are quite Swift-like of course, and so the all-new Suzuki Dzire models come equipped with aircon, electric windows all round, driver and passenger airbags, a tilt-adjustable steering column, a security alarm and immobiliser and ISOFIX anchor points for rear-fitted child seats. As expected, the more expensive (but not by much) GL-spec sees the addition of rear air vents, an additional 12V socket, a Suzuki audio system with Bluetooth and USB connectivity, front fog lamps, colour-coded, electrically adjustable side mirrors, steering-mounted audio controls and a high-grade upholstery with rear foldable armrest with integrated cup holders.
The Dzire is built on Suzuki’s new HEARTECT platform which not only increases the safety levels thanks to being more rigid with a lower weight, it's features a longer wheelbase which equates into more cabin space. In cars at this price range the rear occupants usually have a little bit of a squash, but in the Dzire Suzuki has increased the space between the front and rear seats by a massive 55mm, the same goes for shoulder width that's up by 15mm (there's 10mm more up front). Boot space is also at an increase with 378-litres available, a rather impressive 78-litres more (26% ). In my week with the car, I used the space properly, actually surprisingly so. I did a few trips with the family in the car and one kid sat behind the driver's seat and he event commented that the space is decent, and he's 6ft.2. Ok, that was behind my massive 5ft.7 frame, but it counts. The monthly shopping for a family of 4 didn't even manage to fill the boot, I could easily have packed in at least one more full-sized Chelsy. What's also worth a note is that with the Suzuki Dzire fully loaded up, the small capacity motor manages without breaking a sweat, even pulling off on a steep uphill works ok.
I said it's small capacity and it is, the new Dzire is fitted with the K12M engine, and this one is shared with the all-new Swift too. The small 1.2-litre lump has a high compression ratio which makes it quite responsive, and also equates to decent fuel consumption. The new lump produces just 61kW with 113Nm that's directed to the front wheels via either a 5-speed manual or an AMT transmission. I had the manual version on my test week and a got a couple of hundred kilometers done in and around Jo'burg and the HIGHEST the fuel consumption showed was 5.6-litres/100km. That's just mad! Taking note of the reading and driving very nicely to get it lower, I saw it hit just 4.3-litres/100km, and I know for a fact it can go lower. With our government friends pushing the fuel price up like a thermometer on a hot summer's day, that's one serious selling point.
The Dzire drives great, the steering is light, but firm enough on the highway for a comfortable drive. The car does sit high to cope with local road conditions, but even so, it's quite planted on the tarmac and feels like a bigger, heavier car, not like the 890kg it actually tips the scales at. With the VW Polo sedan being off the table as a an entry-level sedan, the market opens up for this Dzire to do well. I did drive new Honda Amaze the other day at the local launch, and I think it would be the only real competition to the Swift in this segment, and I stick by that. Of course, given the choice you know I'm Team Suzuki all the way. If you're downsizing, or if you're after an affordable family car, then you'll be doing yourself a disservice to not take one of these for a test drive. This little sedan has you covered in every way, and will see you travelling in comfort and safety and still have your bank balance in the black.
The Suzuki Dzire 1.2 GA manual kicks off at only R161 900.00 and can be had in Oxford Blue Pearl Metallic, Sherwood Brown Pearl Metallic, Gallant Red Pearl Metallic, Arctic White Pearl, Silky Silver Metallic, Magma Grey Metallic or Midnight Black Metallic. They're all sold with Suzuki’s acclaimed 5-year/200 000km mechanical warranty and a 2-year/30 000km service plan.
For more, head on over to the Suzuki SA website.