Deluxe features and plenty of bang for your buck!
by John K. Lindgren
The are many contenders in the so-called B-segment (small cars or subcompacts) but few with so much extra kit as the Swift RX-II. Call it the “Special Edition” with all the goodies like start/stop keyless entry, cruise control, paddle shift, HID projector lamps, boomerang-shaped LED lights, premium-looking 16-inch alloys and a telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel. And this Swift sure drives like hot-hatch! Price same as the previous Swift RX: 599,000 baht.
Design: The front boasts the black honeycomb grille. The rear displays Suzuki Swift wrap-around taillights. On the roof a new stylish shark fin antenna. Here’s a highlight: the 10-spoke, gun metallic alloy wheels. More, the ubiquitous oversized HID (high-intensity discharge) headlamps plus the new LED daytime running lights. In the UK they call the Suzuki Swift “a pretty racy-looking supermini”. Over there it has been a bestseller for many years. RX-II comes in only three strong colors: Ablaze Red Pearl, Snow White Pearl and the cool Super Black Pearl. On the tailgate you’ll notice the black, bold, block lettering: SWIFT RX-II. Another detail, the lack of chrome strips and chrome window trim. No chrome on the exterior gives the vehicle a cleaner sportier look. Also the German supercar Porsche usually never has chrome trim, except some Panamera models. Sports cars also reduce weight. RX-II’s kerb weight (without passenger): 975 kg only.
Interior: Inside, the Suzuki Swift RX-II has an all black cabin with fabric upholstery and silver elements. It comes equipped with an adequate audio system, automatic climate control, leather-wrapped telescopic steering wheel, and a start/stop button as standard. No ignition key anymore! Now, it’s a key fob! A fob providing keyless entry system. All buttons, switches and controls are user-friendly, easy to operate also in the dark. Space, the Swift might look compact from the outside, but with Suzuki’s expertise in compact car space efficiency the cabin proportions have been optimized for roominess and comfort. Especially headroom. With 60:40 rear seat configurability and split single-folding there’s room for pieces of tall luggage, as well.
Engine: Under the bonnet (the hood!) of our RX-II test drive is the reliable Suzuki VVT 4-cylinder 1.2-liter petrol power plant pumping out 91 hp and 118 Nm of torque. The transmission design is a 7-speed CVT automatic gearbox which sends power to the front wheels with manual paddle-shift option. Fuel consumption, combined driving is circa 20 km per liter. Low on fuel? Esso, PTT or Shell pump. Pick your choice. Full tank 42 liters: gasohol all variants or pure petrol 95 and E-20, too. No problem.
The drive: “Be Nimble, Be Swift”. City streets or winding mountain country roads. First city driving. Friday end-of-the-month slow chock-a-block traffic and parking in a crowded shopping mall. Easy. Thanks to the all-around good visibility. Later on our test drive to the western Ratchaburi province and the evergreen Suan Phueng district bordering Myanmar with twisting, tight turning, mountain roads and resorts. From Alpaca Hill, Thailand’s first alpaca breeding farm to an Italian inspired Villa Tuscany Country Resort. Driving here, the 7-speed gearbox in manual mode engaging the paddle-shifters is a must. Up and down shifting is pure FUN! There’s lots of front-end grip as you turn in to corners, and because it’s well damped, it remains stable mid-turn, even if you hit a rut or ridge.
This five-door hot-hatch impresses me again, with regard to the solid handling and adequate breaks. Passing, overtaking slow trucks, motorbikes (without taillights) – no stress. Heading back to Bangkok in the night. Dark serpentine roads. Few vehicles on the road. But, here the HID (high-intensity discharge) projector headlamps bring additional safety. Especially when driving on unknown country roads where getting lost is easy. Safety: SRS front airbag (driver and passenger’s side). Plus ABS, EBD (electronic brakeforce distribution) and brake assist (BA) and immobilizer system.
Verdict: The Suzuki Swift is a great choice as compact city hatchback and stands up well against all its rivals. The RX-II, which we like to call the “special edition”, offers excellent value for money. But it is also stylish, very well equipped and FUN to drive. A road test at your nearest Suzuki dealer is recommended.
Suzuki Swift RX-II
Engine: 1.25-liter petrol engine
Power: 91 hp
Torque: 118 Nm
Transmission: Automatic 7-speed CTV
Top speed: 160 kph
Fuel consumption: 20 kpl
Price: 599,000 baht