Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Suzuki Splash - What's not to like?
I like Suzuki cars - but not all of them.
Strong negatives are the abominable "Bigfoot" Vitara, the pointless X-90 and that old Swift which seemed to have long since lost the will to die, and continued to be reiterated like an off-colour joke to the increasing embarrassment of its intended audience. And I never "got" the Cappuccino.
The good ones are mostly straightforward and utilitarian, although neither description fits the "Hillman Imp meets Porsche 911" SC100. The new Swift and Grand Vitara show how well Suzuki understand European markets and I'm a huge Wagon R fan - it's the nearest thing we have to a modern-day Renault 4 or Citroën Ami.
It's somehow appropriate that the Splash, the Wagon R's replacement, for Europe at least, bears the same sort of relationship to the Wagon R+ as that of the Renault 5 to its utilitarian older sibling, although it is based on a shortened current Swift platform. Tragically short-lived Renault stylist Michel Boué's 1972 masterpiece changed little in principle from his first overlay tracing based on the side elevation of an R4, and despite being likened to a Bren Gun Carrier by one of La Regie's managers, remains possibly the best looking supermini ever.
The Splash isn't even remotely in contention for that title, but the dimensions (disregarding the height) - 3,780mm (Length) 1,780mm (Width including mirrors) 1,650mm (Height)Wheelbase: 2,360mm, are closer to the 1972 Renault -3,506mm (Length) 1,525mm (Width) 1,400mm (Height) Wheelbase: 2,434mm - than the present Bloated Supermini norm.
It also weighs (just) under a ton so should shift adequately with the one-up-from-base 86bhp 1.2 litre four. At price of £7-8K, what indeed is not to like?

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