1991 Suzuki Swift

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chicagotribune.com
Swift?

That`s what Suzuki calls its four-door economy sedan.

Suffice it to say the Japanese automaker took liberties with thenameplate. If it had opted for Amble, Meander or, simply, Tries Real Hard, thename would be more in keeping with the character of the car.

Of course, if a car`s name was supposed to describe its attributes, mostwould be called Expensive.

Swift implies get up and go.

Not with its fuel-injected, 1.3-liter, 70-horsepower, 4-cylinder engineyou don`t. Definitely not with the optional 3-speed automatic transmission.Press the pedal to the metal and you don`t fly from the light despite thesmall dimensions (93.1-inch wheelbase and 160.4-inch length and 1,895 pounds).Growl maybe, but Swift is a long-distance runner, not a sprinter.

So Swift is a dog?

Not really. What Swift lacks in muscle, it makes up for in mileage. Theoptimistic speedometer goes to 85 miles per hour. But that`s not the importantnumber. The key to the mini Swift is the 1.3-liter`s mileage rating of 29miles per gallon city/33 highway with automatic. You should easily top 29/33in real-life driving, since it took about two days to coax the needle intomotion.

Swift is a four-door economy sedan with decent interior room for thesmall family and a trunk big enough to handle their groceries.

The emphasis is on economy, as evidenced not only by the deliberatetakeoff from a standing start but also from the suspension system, whichtransmits ample road harshness into the passenger cabin despite four-wheelindependent suspension. Sharp turns and corners are best taken gingerly.

The Swift is offered in GA and upgraded GS trim. The GA starts at $7,499and carries the highest mileage rating in the line, 39 m.p.g. city/43 highway.We drove the GS, which starts at $8,599 with 5-speed manual, $9,199 with 3-speed automatic.

Standard equipment includes power brakes, rack and pinion steering,tinted glass, dual remote power mirrors, color keyed bumpers/door handles/mirrors, trip meter, electric rear-window defogger, side-window defoggers,intermittent wipers, AM/FM stereo with cassette and digital clock, centerconsole storage box, cloth seats, carpeting and remote trunk/fuel filler door release.

One word of warning for potential buyers when it comes to color choices.Swift is available in a green exterior finish for 1991 called Lucerne. Nomatter how fancy the name, the shade of green resembles that on military cars you see running in and out of Ft. Sheridan. If you don`t want the neighbors tothink you`ve enlisted, avoid Lucerne, or wait until 1992, when the green isdropped for a dark blue.

Swift GT

The term ``pocket rocket`` refers to a small car with an abnormal amountof power for its size. The two-door Suzuki Swift GT coupe is such a car.

Put a 1.3-liter, 16-valve, double overhead cam, 100-horsepower, 4-cylinder engine in an 1,800-pound car bu ilt on an 89-inch wheelbase (146inches long overall) and Swift no longer is a misnomer.

A smooth shifting 5-speed compliments the performance. A 28-m.p.g. city/35 highway fuel economy rating is an added bonus.

There are a few drawbacks to piloting a rocket, however. One of them isthat ``pocket`` is too apt a description of what it`s like to saddle yourself into a petite GT.

If it`s room you need, check out the Swift sedan, not the GT coupe. Ifit`s varoom you want, the GT coupe is the answer.

Standard equipment in the GT includes an aero package consisting of sideskirts, color keyed bumpers/door handles/dual-power mirrors/rear spoiler, 14- inch radial tires, electric rear-window defogger, side-window defoggers,intermittent wipers, rear wiper/washer, AM/FM stereo with cassette and clockand tinted windows.

Base price is $9,399, to which you add a $270 freight charge from Japan,roughly half what Detroit automakers charge to ship a car from Motow n.

In addition to Swift, Suzuki produces a version off the same hatchbackplatform for Chevrolet marketed as the Geo Metro. Chevy doesn`t market aversion of the notchback Swift sedan, however.



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