Suzuki Auto South Africa has added the versatile, zippy and affordable Suzuki Splash hatchback to its local model line-up. The Splash joins an already extensive range of Suzuki passenger cars, MPVs and SUVs on offer in SA and will boost demand for the brand’s products even further.
The feisty newcomer’s fresh, youthful styling and versatile layout are expected to endear it to a wide range of buyers – from singles and young families to empty nesters. A compact footprint, tall roofline, comparatively long wheelbase and short overhangs create a surprisingly spacious and practical interior.
For the South African market, the Suzuki Splash is powered by the familiar, zesty 1,2-litre four-cylinder engine also fitted to entry-level Swift hatchback models. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard, but a four-speed automatic transmission is available as an option.
In line with Suzuki’s reputation for exceptional value, the Splash boasts a useful array of standard features. Even the affordable GA derivative features dual airbags and ABS brakes, while the GL version includes additional comfort and convenience items.
“The new Suzuki Splash usefully fills a gap between our popular, entry-level Alto minicar and the highly successful Swift subcompact hatchback,” says Francois van Eeden, national marketing manager at Suzuki Auto SA.
“It provides a level of space and practicality not usually available in the minicar segment. But it’s also fun to drive, thanks to its agile road manners and composed ride. At the same time, its efficient drivetrain keeps running costs low.”
While practicality and versatility are important aspects of the Splash design, aesthetic appeal hasn’t been compromised. Indeed, form does follow function, but in a way that is also attractive in cosmetic terms.
At 3 775 mm long, 1 680 mm wide and 1 620 mm tall, the Splash’s compact exterior dimensions benefit manoeuvrability in tight spaces such as shopping centre parking lots, while also ensuring wieldy handling. At the same time, the relatively generous 2 360 mm wheelbase, and wide front and rear tracks (1 470 and 1 480 mm respectively) ensure sure-footed stability.
The short overhangs, relatively long wheelbase and tall roofline all conspire to maximise interior space, but also endow the Splash with a cheeky, youthful appearance. The front view is dominated by large headlight clusters, while a slim upper grille and larger lower air intakes add a purposeful expression.
The roofline’s rearward taper emphasises the aerodynamic profile of the car, while a high waistline, flared wheel arches and pronounced lower character line create an athletic impression. From the rear, the almost vertical tailgate adds a cheeky touch, emphasised by the pronounced tail light clusters. All Splash models ride on 14-inch steel wheels with full-sized styled wheel covers.
The cabin of the new Splash reflects its youthful personality, while also adding comfort, style and versatility to the equation. Boosted by the high roofline, the impression of space is particularly impressive, with ample legroom and headroom to provide seating for five adult occupants.
The extended roofline is a key feature of the new Splash. It allows the seating positions to be raised, which benefits all-round visibility, while it also means that the doors are larger, which benefits convenient entry and exit.
The front seats have been sculpted for additional comfort and support, while the rear bench seat offers three distinct seating positions, and is split 60/40 for modular extension of the cargo compartment when necessary. Head restraints are standard front and rear.
The layout of the controls and instruments places the emphasis on user-friendly ergonomics, with a single, large analogue speedometer positioned directly ahead of the driver.
The white-faced dial also incorporates a digital information display, indicating range, average fuel consumption and instant fuel consumption, as well as incorporating dual trip meters. In the case of the GL models, a separate rev counter adds a sporty element.
The controls for the air-conditioning and the integrated audio system (in the case of the GL models) are centrally located for convenient operation, while the high-mounted gear shift lever is within easy reach, too. A grippy three-spoke steering wheel is standard, with GL versions equipped with steering wheel-mounted audio system controls.
Smart, durable finishes create an upmarket ambience. The dashboard gets a charcoal textured finish (with metallic-look detailing in GL models), while the seats are upholstered in durable, attractive cloth with contrasting inserts.
The Splash offers an extended array of storage options, including a lidded binnacle on the top of the centre stack, an oddments tray behind the gear shift lever, a hinged glove compartment, and a large storage tray ahead of the front passenger.
Front door binnacles with integrated bottle holders, front and rear cup holders, and seatback pockets are standard, too. On GL models, the passenger seat has an under-seat, slide-out tray .
The 60/40 split rear bench seat provides a versatile range of seating versus cargo area combinations. Folding down both seat sections creates a generous, flat-floored cargo area with a total volume of 1 050 litres to roof height. A low loading sill eases access when loading bulky or heavy objects.