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LATEST OFFERING MILES APART FROM PREDECESSOR
It was Ian Fleming’s fictional British Secret Service agent 007 James Bond who popularized the catchphrase “shaken and not stirred” when he describes his preference for the preparation of his martini cocktails.
With the arrival of the new Suzuki Dzire, pronounced Desire, the sub-4 meter sedan segment has indeed been shaken and the buyers are no doubt stirred.
Thing is whichever way you look at it, Suzuki has completely flipped the script in its redesign of the third generation Dzire.
Previously known as the Suzuki Swift Dzire – it has done away with the Swift moniker and is now simply known as the Suzuki Dzire.
Having sorted out its identity challenges, the new offering now stands proudly alone to face the opposition.
What is generally agreed upon is that the previous generations Dzire lacked aesthetic appeal and was thought of as an ugly duckling of a compact sedan.
Again, the jury is still out on the new design but most people will agree that the new Suzuki Dzire now looks more contemporary and its overall design more appealing than before.
The frontal view is dominated by a vertical nose with a large grille with black slats and a huge “S” badge in the middle circled by a thick chrome border.
If the eyes are the window to the soul, the Suzuki Dzire with its sweptback headlamps looks more mature and aggressive enough.
The side profile is better proportionate and can at a glance be mistaken for a BMW 1-series sedan or similar.
The rear may not necessarily be of the Kim Kardashian type, but more the peachy derriere of Jennifer Lopez with the boot neatly integrated unlike in the previous model where it looked like an afterthought.
Despite its sub compact size, enthusiasts will be pleased to know that Suzuki says the new offering is rigid and strong in that in its making they used 36 percent of high tensile steel rather than the 20 percent for the outgoing model.
Open the door and the dashboard though plastic is not incongruous for a vehicle of this type and price.
What is immediately impressive is the tilt-adjustable three-spoke steering wheel with satellite controls, found in most expensive sports cars which makes it easier for egress and ingress.
On the test Suzuki Dzire 1.2 GL which we had, the seats were covered with cloth and the vehicle had all the modern entertainment conveniences which are standard like a 7-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity.
To ensure a pleasant drive in these soaring temperatures, the Suzuki Dzire comes with a manual air conditioner (for both rear and front passengers) and a pair of conveniently placed 12V ports in the cabin.
Mention must be made of the surprisingly good sound quality, even though the kilowatts are just a few decibels lower to can hold a street bash.
Safety has not been compromised either, with the Dzire endowed with two airbags, ABS + EBD with brake assist, ISOFIX child seat mounts and seatbelt pretensioners as standard.
Surprisingly headroom and legroom is galore especially in the front, even though taller passengers may feel a bit claustrophobic at the rear.
Boot space is decent and though not the best in the segment, but enough to smugly fit in a golfbag and a few items.
Huge bottle holders on the door side panels and in the centre console will keep your drinks in check.
For a small car such as the Dzire, one can only marvel at the way the little cabin space has been optimally maximised.
But it is when driving around the city (0 -100 km/h of 11.7 seconds) that the Suzuki Dzire proves to be an efficient and convenient daily commune.
The suspension is supple and soft, and its knack to absorb all the bumps and humps on the road is highly commendable.
With the air-conditioner on, however, the Dzire seem to struggle especially when going on a steep slope but there are no qualms when it comes to an open straight road.
The 1.2-litre engine is sprightly, pulls strongly and handles well.
The steering, though light, is responsive enough.
In the Dzire, be prepared for loads and loads of convenient kilometres without having to visit a filling station.
Even after a week of (hard) driving the Dzire in and around Johannesburg, we just could not reach the empty level on the petrol gauge.
Our overall impression is that the Dzire does not pretend to be anything else but ticks all the boxes as a well-rounded, practical, economic, city-friendly small family car package.
As far as the competition is concerned, it looks like the Suzuki Dzire is its own enemy as it has to now compete with its sibling the Suzuki Swift (latest generation to be launched later in the year) for the hearts and minds of the budget conscious buyer.
We think the Dzire will attract the more family oriented individual while the Swift (as a hatchback) will likely appeal to a first car buyer with a sense of adventure.
Buyers have a choice of three models, the GA, GL, and the GA AMT (automatic manual transmission) with the GA at R161 000, the GL at R178 900 (which we had for test) and the top of the range GA AMT at R192 900.
As a package, we give the Suzuki Dzire a four-star rating.
It comes with a two year/ 30 000 km service interval.