Making a splash
Based on Suzuki’s admirable Swift, the bright red Splash that’s been whizzing me around for the past week or so makes sense in so many dimensions.
How pleasant it is to be able to climb into a car without contortion – there’s more headroom, and legroom too than in many a bigger car.
How enjoyable it is to boot round the lanes or take on the city crush in a vehicle that has its wheels firmly planted at the four extremities – giving stick to the road handling.
How nice to wring 55-mpg consumption figures from a car that can reach 109 mph should you put your foot all the way down.
It’s all down to inspired packaging that also gives reasonable luggage space and useful odds and ends stowage too. An elevated driving position gives the driver a good view of the road ahead and means this compact little gem can comfortably seat five adults.
Packed with interesting shapes and curves, the eye-catching successfully pulls off that always tricky combination of sporty styling and a relatively tall body.
Strongly flared wings, a bold nose and a flowing roofline are all key elements in creating Splash’s friendly, endearing personality.
Two spirited but highly economical engines are offered: Suzuki’s 68 PS VVT 1.0 litre three-cylinder diesel unit and a94 PS 1.2 litre petrol engine.
Both engines are engineered and tuned and engineered with an emphasis on everyday driveability and cost-effective motoring
The 1.0 litre emits just 109 g/km CO2 meaning it qualifies for £20 annual road tax, free in the first year, with manual transmission 1.2 litre models costing just £10 more in annual VED.
Five models make up the Splash range. The 1.0 litre is available in SZ2 amd SZ3 trim; the 1.2 model available in either SZ3 or SZ4 grades with optional automatic transmission available on the SZ4.
All Splash versions offer a high equipment list as standard, including four airbags, CD tuner with MP3 player and steering wheel-mounted audio controls, leather trimmed steering wheel, remote central locking, front electric windows with driver’s auto-down, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, height-adjustable front seats, tilt adjustable steering wheel and an information display. 1.0 litre SZ3 models upwards add air conditioning as standard.
Step up from SZ3 1.2 litre to SZ4 and the standard specification is even higher with an electronic stability programme), curtain shield airbags, 15 inch alloys, front fog lamps, keyless entry and start, plusprivacy glass for the rear side windows and tailgate.
The Splash is one of the burgeoning new breed of mini-MPVs that point the way to sensible motoring without ruling driver enjoyment out of the question. It certainly gets my tick.
It’s priced well at £11,879 on the road – and you can do even better than that, with a real bargain tag introductory offer of £9,899p, if you part with your readies by March 31.