It's the car that temporarily knocked the Toyota Corolla off the top spot last year for best-selling model and now the Suzuki Swift has a sexier Sport model to add to its lineup.
As the Swift continues to dominate the small car segment, the six-speed manual Sport lands just a few months after its unveiling at Frankfurt.
And, within a few months, the Swift Sport will also be offered with a CVT transmission option. Although the car is more powerful than its predecessor, it also produces lower emissions and is more economical.
"The Swift Sport is the new range-topping model of our Swift range and although it retains the sports DNA of the previous generation version, it has been comprehensively re-engineered and is likely to appeal to a wider customer base," says Tom Peck, marketing manager for Suzuki New Zealand.
Packing 43 per cent more power and 23 per cent greater torque than the mainstream 1.4-litre Swift, the 1.6-litre Sport boasts useful performance upgrades on the outgoing Swift Sport. Allied to this is the replacement of the five-speed manual gearbox with a six speed transmission that enhances the touring ability of the Suzuki.
The optional CVT automatic transmission incorporates steering column shift paddles and allows the engine to operate at optimum revs at a wide range of road speeds.
The Sport, priced at $27,500, gains a new look with a large, deep front grille, bold foglamps and side underspoilers while the rear gains twin exhaust pipes, roof-end spoiler and lower body metallic-grey diffuser.
Suzuki NZ also adds a new model to the seventh-generation front-wheel-drive Alto lineup - the GLX five-door hatchback. It gains a double overhead camshaft Suzuki K10B engine that has variable intake and exhaust valve timing, providing better overall performance.
An advanced all-aluminium three-cylinder, 996cm3 engine, the fuel-injected K10B has an offset crankshaft for better fuel atomisation. It runs a high 11.0 to 1 compression ratio, boasts plastic intake manifolds to reduce weight and suction losses, and has a distributor-less ignition with dedicated plug top coils. Both five-speed manual gearbox and four-stage automatic versions of the Alto VVT use less fuel and have lower CO2 emissions than their predecessors.
The facelifted Alto is 6 per cent more economical and emissions are 5 per cent lower, making it one of the most fuel-efficient and cleanest cars in New Zealand. Prices, including all on-road costs, have risen to $17,250 for the Alto 1.0 GLX manual, and $19,550 for the GLX automatic version.
"However," Peck says, "for a limited time we are offering to pay the GST content on new Alto models so the customer only pays $15,000 for the manual model and $17,000 for the automatic."