Road test: Suzuki Swift Growls brings inner beast to life
GRRRR, the beast within has been revealed with the Suzuki Swift Growl.
Suzuki Queensland hasn't just dipped a toe in the accessories water, it has plunged head first into the deep end.
This arresting ride has been given a raucous purple graphic wrap and a sporting makeover to showcase the personalities possible with a Suzuki Swift.
While the one-off won't be seen on showroom floors, the Suzuki distributor for Queensland and northern NSW believes it could open the door to a new range of options and bespoke Swifts.
"The Swift is perhaps our most customised model by purchasers," Suzuki Queensland's general manager Adam Le Fevre said.
"If you look across any car yard, what do you see? Grey, silver, black or white.
"Suzuki Queensland would like to see the Growl add another and higher tier, to design inspiration.
"Its purpose now is to uncage and unleash a new wave of how people personalise their Suzuki Swifts."
What do you get?
Beneath the attention-grabbing skin is a Swift Extreme.
Nothing has been done mechanically; all the noise is visual.
And the Growl certainly attracts some attention. There was ample finger pointing and smiles throughout our week-long test.
A snarling tiger adorns the bonnet, a tribute to the company's sponsorship of the Brisbane-based Eastern Suburbs Tigers which is also a talent feeder to the Melbourne Storm.
It's loud features outside extend inside, with high-back black Pantera leather seats complete with purple claw marks and side bolsters, 18-inch open spoke Advanti wheels shod with low-profile 215 Achilles 35 series ATR Sports tyres, colour- coordinated side skirts and front air dam, a purple dash insert and door trim detailing as well as a windscreen splashing the Growl name.
To complete the package is a Clarion sat-nav and high output, touch-screen sound system with a sub woofer situated under the driver's seat and a remote control to tweak the amplifier.
Blame social media for the outlandish colour palette.
Suzuki Queensland's 12,000 Facebook followers voted with their clicks and purple was the big winner.
But the Growl takes purple to a whole new level - it is purple with passion and purpose.
On the road
Given there are no engine, exhaust or mechanical tweaks, the driving experience is status quo Swift … apart from all the gawking onlookers.
There is good reason more than 100,000 Swifts have found Australian homes since 2005. This is one capable little offering.
While no fire-cracker, the 1.4-litre engine partnered to the four-speed automatic transmission is honest and hard working.
It cruises below 3000rpm on the highway and it's only when you work the engine hard on inclines and overtaking that things begin to sing.
Standard just doesn't seem to cut it nowadays. Everyone wants something different, and this emotive one-off may deliver enough interest that sparks a new personalisation range.
It's a timely attention-grabber.
With new Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio recently joining the fray, along with aggressive pricing from Fiat with its 500 and Punto models, the Swift has been pushed from the limelight.
Yet the five-door hatch remains a reliable, attractive and surefooted drive…just choose your own brand of tiger, lion, giraffe - or whatever takes your fancy.
The Growl will be given away as part of a Youngcare awareness program on Channel Nine's Today Show.
Details of the competition will be unveiled on October 10.
Currently more than 7500 young Australians (under the age of 65) with full-time care needs are living in aged care simply because there are few alternatives. There are also 700,000 more young Australians being cared for at home by family and friends.
Youngcare was established in 2005 to find relevant and dignified care, to drive change and create real choices for young Australians and their families.
Model: Suzuki Swift Growl.
Details: Compact five-door front-wheel drive hatch.
Engine: 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol generating maximum power of 70kW @ 6000rpm and peak torque of 130Nm @ 4000rpm.
Transmission: Four-speed automatic.
Consumption: 6.3 litres/100km.
CO2: 147g/km (auto).
Bottom line: The base Extreme is from $18,250 drive-away, but the Growl is priceless.
What matters most
What we liked: Great shape for customisation, still a surefooted drive.
What we'd like to see: Cruise control should be standard, slightly more boot space.
Warranty and servicing: Three-year/100,000km warranty. Servicing is every 12 months or 15,000km.