It goes without saying that purchasing a Suzuki Swift+
is not an emotional decision. It's a matter of necessity. And yet, few people are buying it. Less than 2,000 units have found takers in Canada last year, while overall econobox sales amounted to over 150,000 cars. The exterior design is far from the most spectacular in its class, but the Swift+ can comfortably sit two adults and two kids. This lack of interest isn't caused by a less exciting design than a Toyota Yaris or a less sophisticated construction than a Honda Fit. No, it's simply the result of most Canadians not even knowing it exists!
+ is clearly the lesser child in the Suzuki
family. Dealers have all the reasons to put more emphasis on the SX4, even the base model, because it's roomier, higher-performing, more pleasant to drive... and more profitable to sell! The poor success of this subcompact car can also be explained by its seesaw history. The Swift nameplate isn't new; consumers should normally have heard about it as Suzuki has been using it ever since the Swift replaced the Forsa in 1989.
The thing is, the Swift+
is not a Swift. It's not the same Suzuki-designed model that's currently all the rage in Asia and Europe. The car we have here since 2004 is actually manufactured at the GM-DAT (formerly Daewoo) plant in Bupyong, Korea. Plus, it shares basically the same design with the Chevrolet Aveo5 and Pontiac G3 Wave Hatchback. In 2008, GM Canada sold over 8,000 of these, not to mention the 11,000 copies of the sedan variant, which is exclusive to GM.
An unfortunate series of events and coincidences has kept the "real" Swift from Canadian showrooms: the alliance between Suzuki and GM (which ended last November), the purchase of Daewoo by GM in 2002 and the expansionist designs of Suzuki in Europe which have monopolized its production capacity. That's how a Korean-born subcompact found its way under the wing of Suzuki in Canada -- not in the U.S. The American branch rejected the Swift+ in 2004, arguing that their customers would find no interest in that model (at least back then!).
Despite marginal sales volumes, the Suzuki Swift+ gets a slight makeover for 2009 -- just like its twins, by the way. A new, sharper grille that's specific to each one, redesigned headlights and taillights, a reshaped hood and front fenders that now integrate fake air vents are among the upgrades that define the new model. The dashboard gets a fresh look and the steering wheel is connected to a precise, nicely-calibrated steering.
The 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks add versatility to the interior of the Swift+, which is great since they allow owners to adjust the size of the cargo area based on their needs. Folding all seatbacks increases cargo capacity from a meager 200 liters (the smallest of all econoboxes on the market, including the smart fortwo) to a whopping 1,190 liters, which is enough to load big items. In comparison, the Fit offers 25-percent more room for your luggage. That said, the Yaris is 36-percent less accommodating than the Swift+.
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Labels: 2009 Suzuki Swift, autonews, Suzuki, Suzuki Swift