- Jul 2015

Feature Friday: Suzuki Swift Seabiscuit

The story of Seabiscuit is one that has been told many times over the years. This is a story of a race horse that was around during the time of the great depression, so spirits were low. I mean we would all be sad if we were broke too. Seabiscuit was not the most majestic looking steed in town, in fact it was smaller than the others. Seabiscuit was owned by a well known horse racing stable but was underestimated by its trainer Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons and therefore sidelined. As a result the horse didn’t perform as well as it could have and was eventually sold to Charles S. Howard, who became Seabiscuit’s new owner.

Under the tutelage of a new trainer, everything changed. The horse started winning races and made a name for itself with the American citizens who viewed it as a symbol of hope in distressful times. This inspiring story is a heart warming one about believing in something and realising just how good it really is. It’s so easy to underestimate anything because it’s not what we’re used to. Like Seabiscuit, simply because the horse was slightly smaller than the others and was deemed a lazier horse, it was not given a chance, but Charles S. Howard had a different point of view.

This past week I spent some time in the Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL manual, each time I told people what I was driving, they replied by saying “a Suzuki!?”. I then responded by taking them to the car and letting them sit in it, look at it and then we went for a drive. After the drive, most people responded by firstly saying, “Is this really a 1.2?” and then secondly “I never thought this car was this nice”. Of course I waited for the opportune time to say my I told you so’s, and say them I did.

The fact is that other than the smallish boot space, I could find nothing wrong with this car. Instead, I can say this is a very good little car, a fun car too. The engine performs like a 1.4 and develops the same 63kW as its competitors 1.4 engines, and it develops 115Nm of torque. So driving it in the city or on the open road is not a painful task. When it’s cold, I turn a knob and it gets warm very quickly and the converse happens when it’s hot. The bluetooth radio is kind enough to start my favourite song from the beginning each time I start up the car and I never feel like I’m going to roll when I turn a corner. Lastly, I was even able to give Suzuki back their car with a quarter tank of fuel after driving about 500km since I got it, with a full tank. For R146 000 what more do you want? That is why I am quite baffled that only a quarter of these cars are sold compared to its main rival.

Us South Africans are brand loyal, which is good, but also bad. We are so used to sticking to one brand, when something different comes along we are like Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons, we simply sideline it. We need to adopt the attitude of Charles S. Howard and be open to try different cars. You will be surprised how many small nice cars are available in the market.┬áThat being said, I encourage all who are looking in the small and affordable car segment to take some time and visit a Suzuki dealership and other brands which may be different from what you’re used to. Who knows you may just buy your own little Seabiscuit.