Suzuki Swift Test Drive

So I finally walked into a Suzuki showroom today to check out the 2011 Suzuki Swift (GLX). Right after the drive, there were a few things evident:

The Swift is a really nice car. In person, it’s got a number of security features I like. Instead of having to dig out your keys, all you need is the key to be in your pocket, and you can open the car by pressing on the buttons on the door handles. Even better, you can open only the door you need, so if I’m driving alone, I can press once to open just the driver’s door instead of the entire car. Considering the scariness of Malaysian crime these days, it’s an advantage. Oh, and that single door thing applies to the boot as well. When I’m near the car, I can open just the boot instead of the whole car. It’s a pretty neat feature.

The boot space was surprisingly roomy and deep. I’m thinking that maybe it’d be big enough for a few bags. Note though, that it’s definitely smaller than my current Proton Iswara hatchback. It’s deeper yes, but it’s not longer. That means if I’m carrying longer stuff, the seats will definitely have to come down.

The seats were firm. Driving the car reminded me of getting my first Android smart phone; SO MANY NEW FEATURES TO PLAY WITH! I should have really taken my time to play with the car. The nervousness of going for the test drive meant that I didn’t spend as much time as I should to familiarise myself. The first thing that I did notice though were that I had a much wider range of view compared to my own car.

The side view mirrors were controlled by what looks like a joystick; twist left and right for their respective mirrors, then move it up, down, left and right for the angles. Nice. To start the car, press the brake and the Engine Start/Stop button simultaneously. The car jumped to life with a pleasant roar. Then it was time to actually drive.

The Swift has a 4-wheel brake disc instead of the usual rear brake disc, and it shows. The few times I pressed on the brake, it was actually rather hard and sudden. Definitely an improvement from my current car. Turning and pickup was quite good. The sound system was quite ok, by my standards. I’m not an audiophile, so as long as it plays music I think it’s good. The sound system supposedly has USB connectivity, and while I did notice it I didn’t get to use it. The USB connector was located under the audio buttons in a fairly sizeable recess behind the gear.

Which brings me to another point; unlike other cars I’ve driven before, there’s no indicator on the gear box to show you which gear you’re in. The displays are on the dashboard, where the odometer was. It was very disconcerting. However, this was offset by the fact that the gear hid the recess to dump your keys and wallet and mp3 player, so I might take it as an acceptable trade-off.

Mileage seems to be far better than my current car (well, the present ride is about 20 years old) at 500km per full tank, which works out to about RM60-RM70 (note: RON 95). The salesperson did warn me that the Swift doesn’t do as well as bigger cars when driving outstation, which was something I already expected. For in-town driving though, it handles well.

However, I did not really take the opportunity to really lean back and enjoy the seats. At first sit they’re hard and nice, while the steering fits well in my hand, but I’m still on the fence on that.

Price was about RM77,888 for the base model, which is what I would have gotten anyway (spending RM5,000 on the body kit which was basically all decoration is not my cup of tea) with a downpayment of RM8,000. I’m still thinking of this though, and I want to give the Ford Fiesta a try. We shall see.

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