Our cars: Hello Suzuki Splash

  • Small-car economy, big-car luxury
  • more practical than the average city car
  • Gutsy performance away from city
Words By What Car? Staff

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Car tested Suzuki Splash 1.3 DDiS
List price 10,510
Target price 10,067
Run by Steve Huntingford
Tested for for Two months/3000 miles

With fuel prices rising faster than the cost of the London Olympics, theres an increasing trend to downsize and pinch back pennies at the pumps. Do you have to give up big-car luxuries to enjoy small-car convenience, though?

Perhaps not. Suzukis pint-sized diesel Splash is effortless to drive in city traffic and promises 62.8mpg, yet its list of standard equipment is longer than a bendy bus. Sounds good to me.

I collected the car from Heathrow Suzuki (01784 229355), where sales manager Hugo Pereira talked me through the features. Every model comes with six airbags, stability control and air-con. Whats more, diesels (and the high-spec petrols) also get alloy wheels and privacy glass.

You dont need to spend much on options, then, but thats just as well, because its a bit pricey already. The diesel starts at 10,510, and our car hit the wrong side of 11k after we added parking sensors and Lagoon Turquoise metallic paint.

Fortunately, Suzuki has made the Splash more practical than the average city car. The high roofline means theres plenty of headroom whichever seat you end up in, and even those in the back get a reasonable amount of legroom.

Then theres the way it copes outside the city. While many small cars feel out of their depth, the diesel Splash offers gutsy performance, composed handling and decent refinement. Only the firm ride lets the side down.

A bigger disappointment for me, as someone who lives in London, is that Ill have to pay the Congestion Charge. Cars that emit 120g/km of CO2 or less, like the diesel Splash, were supposed to be exempt from October, but the new mayor has cancelled this.

So the Splash isnt going to be as easy on the wallet as I was hoping (so far, economy is just over 50mpg, too a long way from the claimed average of 62.8mpg), but its proving to be easy to live with. In fact, I reckon it runs five rings around much of the competition.

Good to drive and well kitted. Shame about the price.