Johannesburg - The Suzuki Dzire is its own car now, just like many people insist on their Twitter profile that their thoughts are their own, meaning their stream of consciousness wasn’t mysteriously transmitted into their craniums by some sinister extraterrestrial force or the Donald Trump Administration.
Jokes aside, Suzuki has now gone through some lengths to distinguish its smallest four-door car. For starters, it no longer wears a Swift badge and although it is still closely based on its hatchback counterpart, the design is almost completely differentiated both outside and in.
Yet the fact that it now looks like a normal sedan should also improve its prospects on the market. The previous version looked like it had been abruptly cut off at the back - which is exactly what happened as the division that designed it, Maruti Suzuki, sought to keep the overall length below four metres to qualify for a tax incentive in its home market of India.
The new model still measures just short of 4m, but the boot section is better integrated than before and there’s even a bit of a mini Kizashi effect going on in the side profile... You do remember the Suzuki Kizashi right?
However the downside to bending its metal around foreign tax structures is that the boot remains relatively small, the Dzire having a capacity of just 378 litres, versus 562 in its closest rival the Toyota Etios sedan. Getting bulky items into that space could also prove a challenge thanks to the narrow boot aperture.
Inside the spacious cabin, the basic instruments and controls are shared with the Swift, but the Dzire does get a unique upper dash panel featuring triangular central air vents instead of the hatchback’s round vents. The overall design is neat, but the plastics look a little cheap and there are a few other niggles that also apply to the Swift - the car doesn’t auto-lock upon pull-off nor will it unlock when you pull the inner door handle to get out, and the spongy seats lack side support.
The Dzire has a comfortable ride, is easy to drive and even relatively entertaining, while the paltry 980kg kerb weight makes light work for the 1.2-litre normally aspirated engine, which produces 61kW and 113Nm. You certainly get decent performance by entry level standards and if driven carefully, you can keep consumption below the six litres per 100km mark.
But is the Dzire a worthwhile option in the dwindling compact sedan market? It’s a solid and comfortable car that’s also among the most affordable choices in the segment. Just make sure that boot is big enough for your luggage.