Moving swiftly along...
Published 02/10/2010 | 05:00
The older I get the more I admire simplicity. It appears to be in scarce supply. Maybe that is why I have always loved Emily Dickinson's sharply worded precision poems (she's a regular on the Leaving Cert as thousands of us parents know only too well). There is something about one of her words sufficing where others use a dozen.
The older I get the more I also realise how difficult and complex it can be to make something appear simple. As far as I can see there are a lot of people employed and involved in justifying their existence by making sure the simple is complicated.
Others make a fuss or a fortune, or both, to make it accessible.
I am not going after politicians or public servants or journalists or doctors or anyone specifically but you do have to admit there are not that many people who will give you a straight yes or no answer any more. There are always 'complicating factors'.
Frankly I don't have time for all this messing any more. Give it to me straight, cut the bull and get on with it. I wish . . .
It is a complaint I have had with some of the cars I have reviewed here over the past while. I'm happy to say this new Suzuki Swift is largely bereft of complication, which is what I want and is what a lot of others should strive for.
Now this Swift is no revolution. It is quite like the old one -- which won a few serious official accolades by the way -- though it is significantly lighter and I think has a bit more room (90mm longer, wheelbase adds 50mm).
My two rear-seat passengers on a sad farewell drive to the final resting place of my former editor, Vinnie Doyle, were, luckily, small of stature and therefore not squashed.
Considering its physical parameters, it packs a decent cabin. However, it stands to reason that if, for example, I had two large adults to accommodate in the back then they would have been uncomfortable.
It's as simple as that.
Just like the rest of the car. The knobs and thingies for the audio system, air con, windows etc are straightforward, large and tangible.
No mazy runs down techno cul-de-sacs; no surprises.
It nipped along at a decent rate, felt nicely secure on the rougher bits of roads and demanded little of me as a driver. And a dream to park such are its modest dimensions. Not much of a boot, mind you, but what did you expect?
By virtue of its reduced weight, and an improved 1.2-litre petrol engine, it now dips into the critical lowest road tax Band A.
Yet I wasn't happy with the engine when I stopped at lights. There seemed to be an uneven tick-over or something that came back through the clutch pedal.
Other than that we whizzed around a fair bit. I liked it because I could nip in through gaps in traffic. Now that might seem overly simplistic to say but you must realise I've had large cars for a long run now (not complaining in the least, believe me) so doing what I did with the Swift would have been unthinkable.
It is an urban motor, primarily, but was no slouch on the motorway and the backroads of Westmeath. They have improved the suspension, so the extent and frequency of thump and thud is greatly reduced, Indeed it had the feel of a car from a larger division.
The Swift is, and has been for some time, a fine supermini. Given the tradition of engineering the company has manifested for so long, this is one of those cars that go on and on. It may not be the first name to roll off your tongue when you start thinking about a new car. And it might suffer a little because, no matter what they say, it looks so like the previous one.
But, simply put, the Swift is one for the short shopping list.
Suzuki Swift Supermini, 1.2-litre, 5spd gearbox, front-wheel-drive, CO2 of 116g/km 5.1l/100km; VRT is 14pc. €104 annual road tax.
€14,650 for 3dr, 5dr €15,050, 5dr GLX €15,950. Delivery and related charges extra.
Singles, young couples, mature couples downsizing.
Ease of driving, frugal engine, equipment, sturdy build.
Engine bit uneven at standing, some cabin boom/tyre noise at higher speeds.
Seven airbags, ESP (helps avert skidding), electric windows, remote audio controls, child-proof rear door locks; higher GLX spec, air con and alloys.
Others to consider:
Ford Fiesta, Nissan Micra, Skoda Fabia, Toyota Yaris, Citroen C3, Fiat Punto, Honda Jazz, Mazda2, Opel Corsa, Peugeot 208, Renault Clio
Rating: 83 / 100