Suzuki Auto South Africa has added a new sedan model to its highly popular Swift hatchback range. The new, cheeky four-door sedan will be marketed under the DZire nameplate, and shares the proven platform of the Swift hatch, while adding the practicality and security of a boot and more space for rear occupants.
The new Swift DZire is powered by a latest-generation 1,2-litre engine combining willing performance with excellent fuel economy. The four-cylinder, 16-valve unit is offered in conjunction with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic gearbox.
Swift DZire buyers also get to choose between GA and GL specification levels, but even the GA version offers an attractive array of standard specifications, features and finishes. Particular emphasis has been placed on tactile quality, aesthetic appeal and user friendliness.
As a result, the cabin provides comfortable seating for four or even five occupants, while the 300 litre boot ensures ample luggage space. The combination of the dashboard’s dark upper surfaces, linked to the contrasting, tan-hued lower tier is a design trait unique to the DZire.
Under the skin, the DZire shares the Swift’s strong and rigid chassis, with a suspension layout that combines independent McPherson struts up front with a rear torsion beam. The front disc / rear drum braking configuration is linked to ABS anti-lock control on GL versions.
Depending on model, further safety and security measures include dual front airbags, remote central locking, and inertia reel front seatbelts with load limiters and pre-tensioners.
The DZire recognises that road conditions in South Africa aren’t always optimal, and features a slightly raised ground clearance and high-profile tyres specifically for this reason, thus allowing the newcomer to cope with rutted tar, potholes and gravel surfaces with aplomb.
“The new Swift DZire adds a further, important string to the Suzuki Auto bow,” says Francois van Eeden, national marketing manager at Suzuki Auto SA. “Our Swift range has already established itself as a significant player in the subcompact hatchback segment, and now the DZire will extend that success formula into the small sedan sector.”
Van Eeden points out that factors such as spiralling fuel costs, rising interest rates and the impact of e-tolling are placing an ever increasing emphasis on smaller, more affordable and more economical cars.
“The DZire effectively takes the Swift’s exceptional attributes, and presents them in a fresh and appealing subcompact sedan format,” he added. “The keen pricing of the new DZire is proof of Suzuki Auto’s commitment to providing SA buyers with affordable, high-value models that also live up to expectations as far as quality, specification and economy are concerned.”
The new Suzuki DZire is instantly identifiable as a member of the Swift family. It shares the hatchback’s fresh, appealing front-end styling, recently updated for the 2014 model year. The key characteristics include the dynamically curved bonnet and slim, detailed grille, flanked on either side by large, clear-lensed headlights.
A smoothly contoured integrated bumper serves to emphasise the sedan’s clean aerodynamics, and is also home to the larger lower air intake, while fog lamps in contoured apertures complete the front-end design on GL models.
Seen in profile, the Swift DZire features a pronounced, chiselled waistline that creates an athletic, agile impression. But compared to the Swift, the biggest difference occurs at the C-pillar, which flares outwards at the base and extends into the compact, cleanly integrated deck of the boot – the DZire’s most obvious distinguishing feature.
The rear view underlines the new compact sedan’s sporty, poised stance, with short overhangs, a relatively wide track and bold tail light clusters. A polished metal trim strip runs the full width of the bootlid, between the tail lights. A bright LED, third brake light is mounted above the rear parcel tray, while a roof-mounted bee sting aerial is standard.
The bootlid opens all the way to bumper level, ensuring convenient access to the 300 litre cargo space.
Those familiar with the contemporary execution of the Swift hatchback’s interior will feel instantly at home inside the DZire’s cabin, while also noticing the sedan’s unique characteristics.
The clean, modern fascia features a hooded instrument binnacle providing a home to the clearly presented analogue dials. A tilt-adjustable steering wheel is standard.
The centre stack is home to the air-conditioning and ventilation controls, as well as the audio system which is standard on GL models, and optional on GA versions. A lidded glove compartment is located ahead of the front passenger.
Good news for families embarking on extended journeys is that the DZire features beverage holders mounted in the door side panels, as well as in the centre console. A nifty, quick-release pop-up beverage holder is also provided in front of the passenger side air vent, which will keep the beverage cool.
Visually, the most obvious visual departure from the Swift’s interior is the two-tone treatment. The dashboard’s upper surfaces are finished in black, while the lower part, as well as the upholstery and carpets, are finished in a contrasting light tan hue to create a premium look with the impression of more space.
DRIVETRAIN AND SUSPENSION
The new Suzuki DZire is powered by the auto maker’s latest-generation K12-series 1,2-litre engine. The four-cylinder, 16-valve design features electronic fuel injection and VVT (variable valve timing) in the interests of efficiency and performance.
The new 1 197 cc power unit is credited with 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 engine drives the front wheels via a choice of transmissions. The manual gearbox is a smooth-shifting five-speed unit, while those seeking the traffic-beating convenience of an automatic transmission have the option of selecting the four-speed auto gearbox.
The five-speed manual transmission features a new assist mechanism for reduced driver effort, and an optimised shift-lever pattern in the interests of smoothness. Also new is an inhibitor mechanism that guides the gear level from fifth to fourth gear when changing down, preventing accidental shifting into reverse gear.
The shift updates to the manual gearbox are accompanied by a newly developed clutch featuring an hydraulic release system that is precise, smooth and quiet.
The automatic transmission’s shift design features a straight pattern for ease of use.
The suspension layout follows the Swift’s well-proven design, but has been adapted for the sedan’s slightly different weight distribution and load characteristics.
Thus, the front wheels are still suspended from MacPherson struts, combined with coil springs and an anti-roll bar. The rear features a space efficient torsion beam design, with coil springs and dampers.
As mentioned, the DZire features a raised ride height and high-profile tyres in the interests of traversing the often poor road surfaces encountered by SA road users. This makes the new Suzuki less susceptible to damage from potholes, and allows it to cope more easily with compromised road surfaces.
The rack and pinion steering is equipped with electric power steering as standard, and provides the kind of agile response Suzuki’s compact cars have become famous for. The turning circle is a mere 9,6 metres.
The Swift DZire is fitted with large-diameter, vented front disc brakes, and efficient drum brakes at the rear. ABS anti-lock assistance is standard on the GL model. The system features Brake Assist and Engine Drag Control (EDC) to optimise braking force and prevent wheel lock-up, even when the road surface is wet or slippery.
All DZire models are equipped with 14-inch steel wheels, while the GL models are also available with 15-inch alloy rims as a R4 000 option.
DYNAMICS AND EFFICIENCY
Thanks to a minimum kerb mass of just 960 kg in the case of the manual version, and 990 kg for automatic models, the new DZire achieves a favourable power-to-weight ratio, which in turn benefits straightline performance, response and fuel efficiency.
The DZire 1.2 Manual is credited with a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 12,6 seconds, and achieves a top speed of 160 km/h. Combined cycle fuel consumption is a frugal 5,7 litres/100 km, with an associated CO2 emissions figure of 134 g/km.
In automatic trim, the DZire also achieves a 160 km/h top speed. Fuel consumption remains favourable at 6,3 l/100 km, linked to a CO2 emissions rating of 149 g/km.
RANGE AND EQUIPMENT
The new Suzuki Swift DZire is offered in two trim levels: the entry-level GA, and the more comprehensively equipped GL.
The GA is aimed at value-conscious buyers on a restricted budget seeking a high-quality, economical and compact sedan that remains true to the Suzuki ethos. The GL offers a more extensive list of luxury and convenience features as standard.
Swift DZire GA
The DZire GA is offered as a manual-transmission model only. While it is the junior model in the DZire range, it is mechanically identical to the GL versions, and therefore offers the same mix of agile road manners, peppy response and low fuel consumption.
Despite its entry-level status, the GA still offers a useful list of safety and convenience features. Included are attractive cloth upholstery, manual air-conditioning with pollen filter, front head restraints, a remote boot release, sun visors with a vanity mirror for the front passenger, and four loudspeakers that allow for easy retro-fitting of a sound system.
Ample interior storage is provided by the glove compartment ahead of the front passenger, as well as front door pockets, while the rear screen features an integrated demister.
Safety features include dual front airbags, as well as front inertia reel seatbelts with pre-tensioners and load limiters. The DZire 1.2 GA is fitted with 14-inch steel wheels and full wheel covers, while the standard tyre size is 165/80R14.
Swift DZire GL
The DZire GL provides discerning motorists with a comprehensive package of luxury, convenience and safety features. All GL models are powered by the same K12 engine, but there is a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions.
Externally, GL models get blacked-out A and B-pillars, colour-coded door handles, integrated front fog lights and electrically adjustable, colour-coded exterior mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators. Front and rear mud flaps are standard, too.
While the 14-inch steel wheels with 165/80 R14 tyres and full wheel covers are standard equipment, there is a 15-inch alloy wheel option on offer at an additional cost of R4 000. The alloys are shod with 185/65 R15 tyres.
The GL interior reflects its more upmarket status with upgraded seat fabric, and an instrument binnacle that includes a rev counter. The same two-tone theme of black and light tan remains, but the GL benefits from metallic accents on the steering wheel, the inside door handles, the gear shift lever, and the handbrake. A faux wood finisher strip on the dashboard and front door panels adds further lustre.
Included in the GL package is a CD receiver with four loudspeakers, as well as USB and auxiliary sockets for use with portable music devices. The audio system can be controlled via switches on the steering wheel, and is MP3 playback compatible.
The DZire 1.2 GL keeps its occupants cool with a pollen filter-equipped air-conditioning system, while rear passengers benefit from a fold-down centre armrest, and rear head restraints. The glove compartment and front door pockets are augmented by front seatback pockets.
The DZire GL’s list of standard features also includes electric windows, electrically adjustable exterior mirrors, remote central locking and keyless entry. The dual front airbags are retained, and augmented by ABS anti-lock control for the braking system.
SERVICE AND WARRANTY
The recommended retail prices of the new Suzuki Dzire range include a two-year/30 000 km service plan and a three-year/100 000 km warranty, while a three-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance package is also provided as part of the deal. Services are at 15 000 km intervals.