Best-selling car 'not recommended'

Wed, 18 Nov 2009 | Latest News | NZPA

One of New Zealand's best-selling cars has fared poorly in the latest Dog and Lemon Guide, the Suzuki Swift being hit with a "not recommended'' tag.

The Swift was the only one of the 10 top-selling new cars labelled not recommended by the manual, which touts itself as "like a Lonely Planet Guide to the world of cars''.

Worse for Suzuki, its arch-rival in the small car market - the Toyota Yaris - was recommended by the 800-page guide, which recommends very few vehicles.

In September, 217 new Swifts were sold in New Zealand - the fifth-biggest seller - compared with 188 of the Toyota Yaris, which was sixth on the list.

Of the 10 top-selling cars in September, based on AA figures, the others all rated "it's OK''.

In order of most sales, they were Toyota Corolla, Ford Falcon, Holden Commodore, Toyota Camry, Mazda 3, Mazda 6, Ford Mondeo and Toyota Highlander.

The guide rated the Swift one of the best-value cars in the market, and said there were not many better small cars around.

It did not have electronic stability control, or a proper spare tyre, but its biggest failing was the cost of repairing even low-speed accidents.

"After a simulated 10kmh front and rear collision, it was estimated that the Suzuki Swift would cost $10,939 to repair,'' the guide said.

"That's nearly 65% of the retail price. By comparison, a Toyota Corolla suffered an estimated $1210 worth of damage in the same test.

"It's not merely that parts were expensive, although they were. The problem is that Suzuki has left many major parts exposed to damage.''

The test was carried out by IAG's Australian research centre on behalf of State Insurance.

Even the Yaris got only faint praise, with its range of three engines rated "gutless'', its interior having a "could break at any moment'' look, and it being extremely noisy to drive.

Overall though, it was "fun as well as practical''.

Toyota's green-friendly petrol-electric powered hybrid, the Prius was not so highly regarded.

"Like most hybrid cars, the Prius is an attempt to feel good about sitting in rush-hour traffic.

"It's bloody expensive and won't save the planet.''

Once fuel savings were measured against the cost, the Prius made little sense.

Source: NZPA