Car Buyers' Guide: Small and easy to park
Small and easy to park? Either of these will do the job
Margaret is in her 80s and looking to update to an automatic car with her sights set on a Suzuki Swift or Suzuki Splash no older than 2008.
All her driving is around Auckland and avoiding the motorways. She is asking what the main differences are between the Swift and Splash and whether a 1200cc engine would suit her needs.
The Budget $9000-$12000
"I need something easy to park and am considering having a reverse camera installed," says Margaret.
Suzuki has for many years firmly established itself as being leader in the "small" car category particularly in Japan where it has a reported current market share of just over 32 per cent in the hotly contested minicar market segment.
Daihatsu is another very successful brand competing in the same new vehicle market segment in Japan and currently sits hot on the heels of Suzuki. Combined sales of both brands reportedly make up over 60 per cent of the total minicar market segment sales.
On the surface, there is nothing wrong with that as these vehicles provide good options for those looking for a small vehicle at an affordable price.
My only caution is over engine size and specification levels which can be different to vehicles sold new in NZ. For example vehicles from the domestic market in Japan often arrive in NZ with smaller capacity engines fitted in comparison to the NZ new options.
And this is where the comparison between the Swift and the Splash can get confusing with used imports. The slightly bigger Swift (plus 15mm in length) can be fitted with engines that are similar in capacity to the slightly smaller Splash.
From about 2011, the NZ new Swift was fitted with a 1.4 litre engine (apart from a 1.6 litre Sport model).
So if you were to look at an NZ new model from 2011 onwards the difference in engine size between the Splash and the Swift becomes a lot clearer. If you buy a used import however, the difference in engine size between the two could be marginal.
The one big advantage of the Splash is it does have a higher seating position and with lots of glass (its 80mm taller than the Swift) and therefore, has very good all round vision.
For around-town driving and parking it would be ideal, while the occasional trip on the highway would be fine. If the everyday needs were reversed, then the Swift would get my vote especially if fitted with the larger capacity engine.
Regarding having an aftermarket reverse camera fitted, I think parking sensors are just as good, if not better in some cases.
Sensors can be placed front and back of the vehicle while some after-market reverse cameras provide limited vision and others can be less effective in certain weather conditions.
Splash vs Swift - both are good options for your specific needs. Just don't assume they are all the same.