I remember growing up in the 90s when the VW Polo first burst onto the South African motoring scene. The mother of my best friend at the time upgraded to one – the sedan version, badged the Polo Classic. One thing that struck me about the Polo Classic, even back then – before I was tall enough to reach the pedals – was how it didn’t quite look like other sedans on the road.
It was thoroughly modern; with a high, narrow boot lid that made the rear end seem a bit truncated – like she had managed to reverse squarely into a wall and compress it to half the size it should’ve been.
This “mini-sedan” (for lack of a better phrase) design made a return in recent years from the Indian brands and branches of certain Japanese companies; Maruti Suzuki being one of them. Locally we knew this car as the Suzuki Swift Dzire, however, with the launch of the new, fourth-generation Swift, the new-generation Dzire has become a model in its own right.
What can I expect from the Dzire?
That the Swift and Dzire were developed alongside each other and share the lightweight HEARTECH platform is undeniable. While the family resemblance is there, the Dzire has its own unique look and feel. With it, Suzuki has opted for the more mature approach.
A unique grille, headlights and bonnet lead up to the swoopy A-pillars in body colour (they’re always black on the Swift). Thick chrome trim accents the ovoid grille and underscores the front fog lights on this GL model, which some might find to be a little OTT…
Round the back, the boot lid also features a strong swathe of chrome, although this time its applied far more successfully. In fact, the entire rear end of the Dzire is rather good looking. The combination LED taillamps lend it an especially upmarket feel.
Jump aboard and you’ll once again get a sense of Swift – although the Dzire’s interior treatment again takes a more mature approach. You’ll notice the horizontal air vents atop the dash, and the silver dash trim and silver accents to the instruments. The GL also sports an air vent for the rear-seat passengers.
It’s back here you’ll encounter possibly the most surprising aspect of this mini-sedan … the amount of rear-seat accommodation. It’s surprisingly roomy back there (front-seat occupants won’t complain, either). However, there is a trade-off – the seat backrest is fixed in place, meaning you can’t extend the boot’s 378 l of luggage capacity. Either way, Suzuki has packaged the Dzire well.
Unfortunately, it’s also worth noting here that, because of the rear-end design, the boot aperture is rather narrow (and, like me, you will probably land up bumping your head on the open boot lid…). Practicality takes a bit of a knock, then.
Is it loaded with lots of safety features and other nice toys?
There’s not doubt that the GL model is the one you want. In addition to the ABS, brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution; dual airbags; front and rear electric window; onboard computer; Isofix child seat mountings and alarm/immobiliser of the GA, the GL also adds a Bluetooth and USB-equipped audio system with steering-wheel controls; electrically operated mirrors; wheel covers; and high-grade upholstery.
What’s it like from behind the wheel?
Fitted with the same 1,2-litre engine as the Swift, which kicks out 61 kW and 113 Nm, the Dzire gets on with similar vigour thanks again to its minimal 890 kg kerb weight. The smooth-shifting five-speed gearbox, lightly weighted pedals and steering, and great all-round visibility make piloting it a doddle.
Surprisingly, the Dzire feels as though it has a marginally firmer suspension setup than the Swift did, though it still rides comfortably.
Suzuki claims the Dzire will sip unleaded at an average rate of just 4,9 l/100 km and, historically speaking, there’s no reason to doubt this claim.
Should I buy one, or look around?
That meagre fuel consumption speaks to the Dzire’s raison d’etre – affordability in a compact sedan package. While Suzuki is adamant the Dzire is seen as a model range in its own right, one cannot ignore the links to the Swift. That is no bad thing, as both cars share some impressive traits – the Dzire, in particular, offers up some back-to-basics small-car motoring for families on a budget.
At R178 900 it undercuts its main rivals. And further, with a five-year/200 000 km mechanical warranty; six-year/unlimited kilometre body corrosion warranty; two-year/30 000 km service plan; and three-year/unlimited kilometre roadside assistance, it fills that brief perfectly.
Much like a certain VW did more than 20 years ago.
CyberStoep rating: 7/10