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Suzuki Splash 1.2 SZ4

Click to view picture gallery“Technically a ‘mini-MPV’, Suzukis
  Splash looks far too cute and car-like
  to be called that. With the economy
stuck in the doldrums, it makes
  perfect (and well-priced!) sense if
re going to splash some cash...”

WITHIN THE SAME FOOTPRINT as a supermini, the distinctively-styled Splash provides more cabin space, particularly where it matters the most: head and leg room; especially for passengers travelling in the back.

Occupying just 3.7 metres of road space, threading the Splash's bold nose through even the most frenzied commuter traffic couldn't be easier. And it slots effortlessly into the meanest of parking bays courtesy of its commanding driving position that offers an excellent view both of the road ahead and to the side. Plus the view rearwards is good enough for you to reverse without parking sensors.

Passengers, too, benefit from the higher-than-normal seating which, helped by the well-shaped and wide-opening doors, makes for easy access and exit even in restricted spaces.

“Even more agreeable
is the Splash’s overall
fuel consumption —
even in our hard-driving
hands it returned an
impressive real-world
Expect to improve
on that
The airy, high-roofed passenger compartment is welcoming, with a smart uncluttered dash layout that needs no familiarisation period — all controls and switchgear are precisely where you'd expect them to be and easy to access.

A single-dial speedo is set directly ahead of the driver and a neat rev-counter is mounted in a small, stand-alone pod on the fascia to the left of the three-spoke multifunction leather-wrapped steering wheel, where it's in the driver's line of sight.

Integrated into the speedo's lower half is a display that keeps the driver informed as to the time of day, external temperature, instant and average mpg, and range to empty.

The Splash's equipment tally is good with all essentials (and more) provided, including keyless entry and start, CD player, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, leather-trimmed steering wheel, powered front windows (one-shot auto down for the driver; the rear doors have wind-up windows), AirCon (that does both very hot and very cold very well), powered and heated door mirrors, driver's information display, privacy glass to the rear side windows and tailgate, and even a sunglasses case in the roof.

Safety is equally well covered with a full complement of airbags (including two full-length head/curtain bags) and, crucially, ESP electronic stability control.

Height-adjustable front seatbelts and supportive seats along with a tilt-adjustable steering wheel make setting a driving position that's just right for you the work of a moment. And the seat bolstering, effective lower back support and patterned cloth upholstery just make things even better. Drivers will also appreciate the decent leg, knee and shin room, and footwells spacious enough for driving in boots of any kind.

Seating is the standard two in the front and three side-by-side on the well padded bench in the back. While there's loads of room for second row legs, knees and feet (not forgetting heads, shoulders and elbows!), given the Splash's compact dimensions that doesn't leave acres of room behind for luggage and the like — 178 litres, to be precise.

“If you’re not using the
rear cabin to move
people, you can (oh-so-
easily) drop the 60:40
split rear seats which
fold flat into the floor and
increase the loadbay
for a spot of cargo
carrying to 573 litres
However, if you're not using the rear cabin to move people, you can (oh-so-easily) drop the 60:40 split rear seats, These fold flat into the floor and increase the loadbay for a spot of cargo carrying to 573 litres. Access is straightforward through the regular-shaped tailgate opening.

Alternatively, you can fold down just one side so as to carry a third person along with more luggage. Another well-considered touch is the deep waterproof storage box measuring 17 by 36 inches that easily lifts out from its well beneath the boot floor where it sits above the space-saver spare wheel.

It comes in very useful for things like muddy walking boots, wet outdoor gear and personal luggage as well as supplementing the numerous bins and pockets spread throughout the cabin to hold all the essentials (including cans, bottles and mobiles) that today's drivers can't seem to travel without.

One-point-two litres doesn't sound a lot but as the old saying goes, it's not what you've got but what you do with it. And Suzuki's engineers have done quite a lot with the four-cylinder 1.2-litre engine under the Splash's bonnet.

Driving through a five-speed manual 'box with a light but positive change action, it's a lively performer and runs smoothly wherever your road takes you — be that into the city, out on the open road or along the motorway. In fact, it's a very agreeable drive just about anywhere.

More agreeable still is the Splash's overall fuel consumption — even in our hard-driving hands it returned an impressive real-world 52.9mpg. Expect to improve on that.

In these days when Third World roads are almost the envy of British motorists, ride comfort is a key feature. And the Splash passes the test: the ride is good; as too is the handling. Helped by being easy to place, it maintains composure and holds its line through bends — obviously it's not a hot hatch but it always feels reassuringly predictable. And that counts for a lot.

All of which makes the Splash a timely buy. And not just to save on your motoring costs but because it's an easy-to-afford, easy-to-drive, and easy-to-live with car. 'HAVE TO have it' — that's the strapline for Suzuki's new TV advertising campaign created by The Red Brick Road agency. As for the Splash, we'd second that and say: HAVE TO have one NOW! — MotorBar

Suzuki Splash 1.2 SZ4 | 10,535
Maximum speed: 109mph | 0-62mph: 12.3 seconds | Overall test MPG: 52.9mpg
Power: 92bhp | Torque: 87lb ft | CO2 119g/km