Suzuki update makes gentle Splash

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A bolder new nose and changes to interior trims and standard equipment specifications have been provided as part of a gentle update of the Suzuki Splash.

Tested in mid-range pre-facelift GLX guise for these pages in February last year, this compact member of the Suzuki range makes a return here in its updated form in top-flight LTD specification.

The new nose, which features a deeper section grille and more prominent side air vents, adds 60mm to the car's length. Even so, the Splash remains substantially shorter (and narrower) than a Swift.

Yet it is also a significant 80mm taller, which enables it to accommodate a higher than normal seating position that will (along with its wide-opening doors) appeal to the older and less physically mobile drivers who are the core of the car's market.

Inside there are new seat trims and glossy black finishes around the centre console and gear lever.

Equipment levels have been revised, too, with the major change being further down the range, where electronic stability programming (previously provided only on the LTD) becomes standard.

Special features for the LTD include 15-inch alloy wheels, body-coloured door handles, front fog lamps, keyless entry and keyless start, and heated power-operated door mirrors.

The key practical and dynamic strengths of the car are unchanged with the facelift: as well as providing easy access and egress, the high seating position is comfortable and contributes to the good all-round visibility that is a significant strength of the car. The rear seating position is a little knees-up, and boot space is tight, although a clever folding arrangement for the back seats does provide considerable load-carrying flexibility.

As before, power comes from a 69kW/118Nm 1.2-litre engine, propelling the front wheels via a four-speed automatic gearbox. The combination works well for gentle round-town motoring and even out on the open road, where a chop down to third gear allows the Splash to maintain momentum up steep hills at open-road speed, albeit with the engine revving away quite hard. Where an extra cog (or two) would be welcome is on steeper city streets.

Handling is competent, although with more body roll and not quite the same level of dynamic sparkle of the Splash's (slightly) bigger brother, the Swift. That's unlikely to be a major issue for this car's target market, which will, by and large, be more interested in its visual appeal and practical packaging.


Suzuki update makes gentle Splash
At a Glance


Rating: 3 stars +

For: Interior packaging, tidy road manners, fresh styling

Against: Limited boot space, lacks a little vim on steep city hills

Verdict: Appealing small car for the predominantlyround-town driver


Price: $21,500 (as tested)

Engine: 1242cc DOHC CVVT four-cylinder petrol, max power 69kW@6000rpm, max torque 118Nm@4800rpm

Transmission: Four-speed automatic

Brakes and stability systems: Disc front brakes, drum rear, ABS, EBD

Safety: Four-star European NCAP

Wheels, tyres: Alloy wheels, 185/60 R15 tyresFuel and economy: 5.7 litres per 100km (on European combined cycle), capacity 45

Dimensions: Length 3775mm, width 1680mm, height 1590mm.