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Thrifty Splash Bolsters Suzuki’s Strength

Thrifty Splash Bolsters Suzuki’s Strength In Small Car Market

The highly efficient new 1.2-litre Splash five-door hatchback which has just launched in New Zealand strengthens Suzuki’s presence in the small car market.

Fitting neatly between the larger Swift and smaller Alto models, the Splash GLX with its bespoke appearance and practical interior adds a new dimension to the compact class.

Measuring 3,715 mm, the Splash is 135 mm shorter than the latest generation Suzuki Swift, while the 2,360 mm wheelbase is 70 mm less.

Significantly, the lighter Splash is 80 mm higher than its stablemate and has slightly more ground clearance.

The car’s distinctive shape is characterised by a gently rising nose, A-pillars that blend into the roof and a flowing roofline that gently slopes towards the back, culminating in an almost vertical tailgate.

Large boomerang-shaped taillights are positioned towards the outside on the C-pillars, a look that is further enhanced in hours of darkness. The positioning of the rear lights allows a wider tailgate for easier loading and unloading.

The 178 litres boot capacity expands to 573 litres by folding the 60/40 split rear seats, while a 36 litres under floor compartment in the boot with waterproof lining is ideal for valuables and wet or soiled items.

Short overhangs front and rear create a compact appearance while this practical shape and upright rear is also good for parking. To enhance the tidy look in spite of a relatively high body, the wings are boldly contoured.

The drag coefficient of just 0.32 is an outstanding result for a car in the mini-MPV category.

Powering the Splash is the new K12B four-cylinder engine which has received rave reviews from European testers.

This is the same motor used in the new Swift for European markets, and is essentially a shorter stroke version of the K14B found in the Swift for New Zealand and Australian markets.

The variable intake and exhaust valve timing, twin overhead camshaft engine has a displacement of 1,242 cm3, compared with 1,372 cm3 for the K14B yet produces a lively 69 kW of power - just one kW less than the larger capacity power unit.

The K12B achieves 118 Nm of torque compared with 130 Nm for the K14B, and its 11.0 to 1 compression ratio is higher than the Swift engine.

In the combined fuel consumption tests, the manual gearbox Splash returns 5.1 litres/100 km, while the automatic version averages 5.7 litres/100 km. The low emission Splash emits only 119 grams/km in manual gearbox form and 133 grams/km with the automatic transmission.

The K12B is Euro 5 compliant and has silent chain timing gear technology with low noise, low-load valve springs and resin intake manifold. It has lightweight pistons and low tension rings and distributor less ignition

Not only is the low friction engine quiet and economical, it is flexible and smooth at low speeds, and comes alive at 3,000 rpm.

The 1.2-litre engine provides the Splash with a top speed of 175 km/h and the ability to accelerate from a standstill to 100 km/h in 12.0 seconds.

Suspension and brakes are similar to the proven Swift, with a MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion beam rear, and coil springs front and rear. Fifteen inch diameter wheels are shod with 185/60R tyres, and the steering is rack and pinion.

Complimenting the ventilated front disc brakes and rear drum brakes is ABS with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and brake assist.

Standard equipment includes six airbags with dual front, dual seat-side and dual curtain airbags, while there are seatbelt pretensioners and force limiters for the front seats, and height adjustable seat belt anchorages.

The Splash has a crash-optimised body structure with high rigidity characteristics and pedestrian protection provided by an energy-absorbing front structure. Energy-absorbent trim materials are used near the occupants’ heads and there is a deactivation system for the front passenger airbags.

Safety equipment also includes a decoupling mechanism for the brake and clutch pedals in the event of an accident and side impact beams.

There are childproof rear door locks, an engine immobiliser for security, two child seat tethers and two ISO FIX child restraints. The Splash carries a four star Euro NCAP safety rating for adult occupants, and three stars each for child and pedestrian safety.

Independent critics claim few cars this small can get the people in so comfortably. All round visibility is excellent and the feeling of spaciousness is boosted partly by the tall body configuration.

The dashboard is finished with a metallic-silver border and a large speedometer located centrally behind the steering wheel has all indicator lamps arranged around it. A digital liquid crystal display is positioned in the lower half of the speedo while a handy multi-function display provides readouts for outside air temperature, clock, fuel consumption and tank range.

Suzuki has minimised the number of switches and levels to ease operation and the transmission shift lever is ergonomically shaped and located relatively high in the centre console. This minimises the distance from the steering wheel and gives extra storage space.

Heating and air conditioning are controlled by three clearly marked dials. Storage spaces abound, with a bottle holder incorporated into each door and additional ones in front of and behind the handbrake lever.

A lidded glove box on the passenger side of the facia is supplemented by an open compartment, while a third space for wallet or mobile phone is positioned beneath the ventilation controls.

Standard equipment includes front electrically operated windows, tilt facility for the power assisted steering, four speaker audio system with CD and MP3, speed sensing volume control and steering wheel controls for the audio.

The three-spoke steering wheel is leather covered, both front seats are height adjustable, and the equipment level also includes halogen multi-reflector headlights, a headlight levelling device and a rear fog lamp.

Five colour options are available for the New Zealand market, with the only non-metallic body colour being Bright Red. The other colours are Cool White Pearl, Silky Silver, Galactic Grey and Smoky Green.

The Splash is introduced to the local market with a recommended retail price of $17,990 for the five-speed manual transmission model and $19,500 for the four-stage automatic transmission.

As with all new Suzuki passenger cars sold in New Zealand, this driveaway price includes all on road costs, a comprehensive three-year, 100,000 km warranty and a full five-year roadside assistance plan.


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