Suzuki's Jazz rival splashes down

Published: 29 September 2006

Another quirky Suzuki is on the way – the Splash – a small car with a big interior. The five-door is a rival for petite but practical hatches like Honda's Jazz.

Unveiled at the Paris show, the Splash will go on UK sale at the end of 2007. At 3.8m-long, the five-door is not that much longer than a Ford Ka. But a tall roof ensures higher mounted seats and reasonable legroom, aided by a long wheelbase thanks to those pushed out wheels. The Splash is spun off the front-drive Swift platform. The concept car runs an all-new 1.2-litre petrol engine, which insiders claim returns around 75mpg, hooked up to a four-speed automatic 'box. With such miserly consumption, a diesel Splash is looking unlikely in the UK. Some of the more fanciful touches – 18inch alloys, LED lamps, side cameras, fancy tailpipes, lashings of chrome – will be toned down on the production car. But the architecture is pretty faithful to the finished model's. The interior is very simple, with the single speedo containing info about fuel consumption and other on-board diagnostics. Suzuki's answer to BMW's iDrive – a menu screen operated by a ball-shaped control – also makes an appearance.

By Phil McNamara

Editor-in-chief of CAR magazine