Japanese car brand Suzuki brought to Philippine shores the all-new, third-generation (second-generation locally) Dzire all the way from its original home in India, with the hope that it will be popular in the local market.
According to Suzuki Philippines, the Dzire topped India’s automotive sales as of May 2018. So if it’s big in a market like India, it could be good for the Philippines. But the figures do not hold water if not for the features inside of it.
The Suzuki Dzire was brought locally to add variety to the Swift, much like what Mitsubishi did with the Mirage and the G4. The previous-gen Dzire bore the same look as the Swift, but with a trunk—albeit a very small one—instead of a hatch.
Fast forward to today and the latest version of the all-new Dzire and Swift—launched simultaneously last year—still share the same HEARTECT platform though they now look slightly different from one another.
The new-generation Dzire isn’t just a sedan version of the Swift, unlike the previous version. It sports a different front fascia, starting with the new front bumper design that’s accentuated with bigger fog lamps and chrome accents. Even the grille is different, with four slats and a thick chrome trim around it.
For its interior, the all-new Dzire goes business-casual with its hooded gauges plus a new climate control system and a leather-wrapped boot for the shift knob. The steering wheel has a flat bottom, giving the cabin a sport vibe, and has the requisite remote control functions for the infotainment system.
Since we’re on the subject, the infotainment system for the high-end GL+ gets a touchscreen interface, with navigation, Bluetooth, AM/FM radio, CD, USB, Aux and a six-speaker sound system from AVT while the base GL, on the other hand, gets a 2-DIN audio system with AM/FM radio, CD and USB.
SUBJECT TO ONE’S COMFORT LEVEL
Comfort is one of the main selling points of the all-new Dzire and based on its roominess, the all-new Dzire has more legroom and space compared to the Swift. Overall, the dimensions of the all-new Dzire is 3,995mm long, 1,735mm wide, 1,515mm tall with a 2,450mm wheelbase—an increase of 20mm more via wheelbase and 40 mm more cabin space as compared to its predecessor).
The all-new Dzire also has aircon vents for the rear seat occupants located at the end of the center console near the handbrake to ensure ample ventilation for those at the back, which is normally neglected in some subcompacts. For charging purposes, the same occupants also got their own set of 12-volt socket—aside from the one in front—for charging their mobile devices. To add a little more for the front passengers, Suzuki threw in a USB port at the front center console in case a 12-volt socket adaptor is nowhere to be found.
Additionally, a fold-down center armrest with two built-in cupholders was installed in the rear seats, as if the six others that are found in each door as well as near the shift knob were not enough.
The all-new Dzire could easily be mistaken for a larger sedan, if—aside from the leg-and headroom—it was fitted with leather seats instead of the usual cloth-covered ones; it would have been more premium than the Swift hatch, which has a leather-seat option.
SAME BUT DIFFERENT
But when it comes to performance, it resembles its hatch brethren. During last year drive at the Batangas Racing Circuit (BRC), we were given the chance to experience Suzuki’s latest development for the Dzire—its automated manual transmission, which the carmaker calls Auto Gear Shift (AGS).
At first glance, one could easily be puzzled by it because the gearshift panel has no park mode (P). For automatic drive mode, it only has (R)everse, (N)eutral, and (D)rive modes while in manual mode, (+) shifts to a higher gear and (-) to a lower gear.
NOTHING TO BE SCARED OF
This technology supposedly combines the convenience of an automatic transmission with the fuel efficiency of manual transmission. The AGS’ clutch and gearshift is controlled by the ECU and TCU’s intelligent actuating system. So, it’s a manual transmission fitted with an intelligent shift control actuator, which works the clutch and shifts for you.
Some would think that its transmission would easily be ruined if, for example, one of the occupants would unknowingly shift the lever from Neutral to Drive or Reverse, which looks very easy to do on the all-new Dzire. To make sure, we tried it ourselves and found out that shifting from neutral to reverse and/or drive would not engage if the driver did not step on the brake pedal first.
The all-new Dzire is still powered by the same K12M engine that delivers 82 horsepower and 113 Nm of torque. In automatic mode, the gearshifts are done at the usual presets for economy—2,000 to 2,500 rpm to be specific, which is no different from the CVT-powered vehicles in the market. Put it in manual and that is where the fun begins as one can easily exploit the five-speed mode but without the clutch. Contributing to the powertrain is the light body: based on the spec sheet, it is less than a ton in total weight.
For its additional safety features, it has the new-generation Heartect platform, which makes it more efficient in collisions, as well as dual airbags. With everything that comes in the all-new Dzire, one would wonder about its pricing. Well, Suzuki Philippines priced it perfectly with the GL MT priced at P638,000 while the GL+ AGS is at P698,000.
While there is a diesel variant for this small package in India, Suzuki only brought in the petrol-powered variety in the country, which makes it very similar to the Swift. The all-new Suzuki Dzire is very different from the Swift and could be more than just an alternative to its more popular competitors in the market. With the Suzuki Dzire, Suzuki might just have the object of desire for those looking for a subcompact city slicker.
Photos by: Keith Mark Dador