only you, or
upto four others in your family,
Splash offers a lot of
car for your cash...
WHATEVER CATEGORY YOU SLOT IT INTO city car, supermini, mini-MPV
Suzuki's practical all-new five-door Splash has, in the short time it's
been on sale, already made something of a, er... splash. Not unexpectedly,
either, given that it does everything you'd want and expect of a small
car and it is doing it all rather well.
Despite the name, there's nothing nautical about the crisp contemporary styling
which depending on your gender is somewhere between smart and
cute. But wherever you're coming from, the Splash's clean well-proportioned
lines are pleasantly set-off by flared wheel arches and a well-planted stance,
a prominent nose with large headlamps and split front grille and a flowing roofline
that drops to meet the rising shoulder line. Overhangs at both ends are short
great for parking and, at the rear-end, the vertical tailgate
is flanked by distinctive arrow-shaped tail lamps. It's a cohesive design and
one that successfully pulls off the often-tricky combination of sporty styling
and a relatively tall body.
The Splash might leave a small (and environmentally-friendly) footprint on the
Earth, but there's a lot of room hidden within the lively cabin. Thanks to the
high roofline, there's a feeling of spaciousness and particularly good headroom.
The rear seat is set higher than the front seats, so there's a good view out
wherever you're sitting. The two-tone front seats are comfortable and the 40:60
split/fold rear seat provides enough room for three smallish adults although
two adults will travel in comfort with rear legroom good enough for some lounging.
The three rear headrests all drop down out of the driver's sight line when not
Driving the Splash is a breeze the raised seating position ensures an
excellent view of the road ahead. An easy-to-read large diameter speedometer
(but not as in your face as that in the MINI) set in a single cowl ahead of
the driver provides all the essential information needed including outside
temperature, fuel consumption (average and instantaneous) and range to empty.
Graphics are refreshingly simple with sharp black numerals on a white background.
The fuel gauge a digital bar-graph is incorporated into the speedometer
dial. Our test car, a top-spec DDiS, sported a small individual pod-mounted
rev-counter on top of the dashboard. A nice touch, it can be easily seen if
you need it but just as easily ignored if you don't.
A logically laid out centre stack topped off by a pair of air vents and
the hazard switch houses the large, foolproof controls for the audio
system (CD tuner with MP3-compatibility and speed-sensitive volume adjustment)
that can also be operated via the remote buttons on the left-hand spoke of the
steering wheel. Immediately below these are the air conditioning controls and
the high-set, clean-changing gear lever mounted relatively high at the
base of the centre stack for easier, more relaxed operation. Combined with the
elevated driving seat and a tilt-adjustable steering wheel both adjust
for height this makes setting a good driving position easy.
Look around and you'll see that the Splash is well fitted out. All models come
with air conditioning, a decent sound system, electronic power steering, three-spoke
leather-trimmed steering wheel with wheel-mounted audio controls, front electric
windows (with driver's auto-down), electrically-adjustable and heated door mirrors,
height-adjustable front seats, an information display and remote central locking.
DDiS spec cars are, in addition, equipped with privacy glass on the rear side
windows and tailgate, 15-inch alloy wheels and front fog lamps.
Splash customers can choose between four models: The 1.2 model comes in either
GLS or GLS+ grades; an automatic transmission is available on the GLS+ model
and the fourth model is the 1.3 DDiS whose specification is identical to GLS+
grade. Prices start at £8,810 for the entry-level 1.2 GLS and rise to £10,288
for the 1.3 DDiS.
The two engines options are either a 1.2 petrol with 85hbp or, as tested here,
a 74bhp 1.3-litre turbodiesel. With a useful 140lb ft of torque, the diesel
unit is a lively performer and, particularly in town, always ready to respond
to the throttle. Top speed is 103mph and while its official 0-62mph acceleration
is given as 13.9 seconds, it feels quicker than this on the road. The 4-cylinder
common-rail turbodiesel has strong mid-range pull and flexibility and there
are no worries about running out of puff when overtaking.
On the motorway it's better than you might expect. The 1.3-litre unit feels
unstrained and acceptably refined cruising along at the legal limit. It also
returns a very welcome and extremely wallet-friendly 62.8mpg while emitting
just 120g/km of CO2 thus saving you even more money: because a year's
road tax is just £35. For the record, the 1.3's urban and extra-urban consumption
figures are 51.4 and 70.6mpg respectively. During a week's hard driving on a
mix of roads and a variety of traffic conditions, our 1.3 never returned less
On the move it doesn't feel small, city-like or in any way inhibited by its
compact dimensions overall length is 3,730mm; just 35mm up on the Swift
upon whose platform the Splash is based. The driver enjoys excellent visibility
courtesy of the cabin's upright shape, low waistline and deep front windows.
So the Splash can be accurately placed on the road.
And the Splash performs creditably on all manner of roads. Our test model's
handling was consistently safe, tidy and never gave any cause for concern
the Splash goes where steered, and it feels accurate enough in corners and through
flowing bends along winding B-roads. The electric power steering system provides
extra weighting at speed and enough feedback to let you know how much grip there
is at the front.
The suspension is on the firm side to keep body roll to a minimum (which it
does very well), but not so firm that it doesn't smooth out poorly surfaced
roads. Overall it rides well particularly so for a small car. With an
easy, comfortable gait that's as welcome in town as it is on motorways and dual
carriageways, the Splash is imbued with a pleasantly refined ambience.
The brakes are well up to the car's performance and provide decent stopping
power with a progressive pedal action. ABS with brake assist (to boost braking
effectiveness during emergency braking) and electronic brake-force distribution
is standard across the Splash range, as too is Electronic Stability Control.
ESP uses selective wheel braking and controls engine output as necessary to
stabilise the vehicle if it detects understeer or oversteer situations which
may result in total loss of control. The ESP also incorporates a traction control
feature to prevent wheelspin during standard starts or a loss of grip during
On the safety front, six airbags (dual front airbags and side airbags incorporated
into the front seats as well as two full-length curtain airbags) are also standard
on all models. The front passenger airbag can also be deactivated. The front
seatbelts are height adjustable; there are two Isofix child seat fixtures and
two child seat tether anchorages on the rear seats and three 3-point rear seatbelts.
At a time when a number of major car manufacturers are still charging customers
extra for ESP, full marks go to Suzuki.
Living with the Splash is easy. For a start it's easy to manoeuvre and slots
easily into the meanest of parking spaces with help from the tight turning circle.
The high seating positions also make entry and exit for young and old alike
easy, and there's plenty of internal storage space including a useful flip-lid
cubby built into the top of the dash, a fair-sized glovebox, two bottle holders
and lots of cubbies and places to stash things dotted about the cabin
including a sunglasses holder in the roof lining and an under-seat tray.
And while the boot may look tight, there is 178 litres of space that includes
a 36-litre under-floor compartment suitable for storing a first aid kit/small
valuables and also, thanks to its waterproof lining, wet or dirty items. Beneath
this is another compartment for the space saver spare wheel. Folding the one-touch
rear seats forward creates a virtually flat load floor with 537 litres of space.
Worth mentioning is that another benefit of the higher roof line and the elevated
rear seats is the ease with which you can attach a child seat.
The Splash is a versatile five-door city car capable of providing the practicality
demanded by the wide-ranging activities of the average couple or family and
comes with a good standard specification, decent build quality and lots of safety
kit. It is also cheap to run, easy to park and drive and even easier to load
with shopping, luggage and/or passengers of all ages. Doesn't this sound like
a host of reasons to splash out on a Splash? MotorBar
Suzuki Splash 1.3 DDiS | £10,288
Maximum speed: 103mph | 0-62mph: 13.9 seconds
Overall test MPG: 56.9mpg | Power: 74bhp | Torque: 140lb ft
CO2 120g/km | VED Band B £35 | Insurance group 4D