FIRST DRIVE: 2018 Suzuki Dzire GL+
The race in the subcompact sedan poses a very steep competition as most car buyers are shifting to it for economical purposes. That being a proven fact–as can be seen in the market–here comes Suzuki Philippines (SPH) bringing in the all-new Suzuki Dzire, expanding further the choices for the automotive market.
During a test drive preview of the Dzire for the media at the Batangas Racing Circuit, CARMUDI PHILIPPINES saw the pros and cons of the third-generation all-new Dzire, which is set to be unveiled in June 27.
The soon-to-be released Dzire is still powered by its K12M engine that is fitted in the previous version. The only difference is that has a higher compression ratio and better numbers–82 hp and 113 Nm of torque, to be exact.
The Dzire may be just another subcompact sedan in the market but one thing that sets it apart from the rest is its transmission. Look at the gearshift panel and you’ll see it has (R)everse, (N)eutral, and (D)rive mode but no (P)ark for the automatic mode while on manual mode, it has (+) to shift to a higher gear and (-) for a lower gear.
Suzuki calls this transmission as Auto Gear Shift (AGS) and according to Kennedy Adia, SPH senior product development supervisor, the AGS clutch and gearshift is controlled by the ECU and TCU’s intelligent actuating system.
“Basically, it’s a manual transmission fitted with an intelligent shift control actuator, which clutches, shifts for you,” he said. “So if you turn off your car, it’s like doing engine brake.”
What’s the difference between the AGS and other tramissions in the market? Adia claims It feels like manual. “In manual, it doesn’t need to rev high to transfer to a higher gears,” Adia claimed.
When driving the Dzire like a standard automatic transmission, you can feel some shift shock, especially when in the the low gears. But the issue can be reduced, people from Suzuki said, by simply releasing the throttle a when it is about to shift and stepping on it again so that it would transfer to the next gear. It’s like giving time for the clutch pedal to shift to another gear.
Also, compared to those already in the market, the positioning of the shifting of the gears in is different as the upshifts are made in manual mode by pulling the shift knob down and downshifts by pushing it upward. But it’s never too late to unlearn–and relearn–about driving, right?
Some would say the scary part is to break the gears if one of the occupants would unknowingly shift the lever from Neutral to Drive or Reverse, which looks very easy to do on the all-new Dzire. So, we tried to do just that on the track and we found out that shifting from neutral to reverse and/or drive would not engage if the driver did not step on the brake pedal first. Pretty neat and safe, huh?
For additional safety features, it has the new-generation Heartect platform, which makes it more efficient in a collisions, as well as dual airbags.
The all-new Dzire GL+ is now longer and wider (wheelbase by 20mm more and with 40 mm more cabin space, respectively) which easily translates to enhanced legroom for passengers as compared to its predecessor.
To inject more comfort, it has also been fitted with aircon vents for the rear area located near the handbrakes to ensure ample ventilation goes to the people at the back. For charging purposes, occupants in the rear seats need not bug the front passengers often as the all-new Dzire has two 12-volt sockets (one in front and rear) and one USB port (front) in the all-new Dzire for charging your gadgets.
It has AVT for its infotainment system, so it has the reliability of those already available in the market. Now said to be priced at PHP698,000, the Suzuki Dzire GL+ has yet to prove its worth in the market but it’s already being haunted by the ghost known as TRAIN law.