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In Frankfurt 2007 before hitting the showrooms in spring 2008
Suzuki Splash, the shortened Swift MPV

Suzuki Splash MPV: side view.

Rather than a box shape (like the Wagon R), the Suzuki designers went after the Splash factor: youthful, fresh & zesty.

MT, 10 July 2007.

If the Suzuki name has long been associated with motorcycles of all sizes and displacements, the same is true about the Japanese brand reputation in the compact car segments, not to mention its famous Vitara family, one of the compact SUV pioneers.

Following the launch of the new Swift, Grand Vitara and SX4 models, the Splash is now the fourth all new Suzuki model to be launched within just three years.

For Europe, the new Splash will be built in Esztergom, Hungary, by Magyar Suzuki Corporation, a Suzuki subsidiary that already builds Swift, SX4 and Ignis, where the second generation Agila for Opel/Vauxhall (Splash sister model) is also built.

Suzuki Splash MPV: back side view.

Splash is based on a shortened version of the Swift’s platform.

With identical engineering, the main visual differences between Splash and Agila include different styling at front (bonnet, wings, headlamps and bumper) and rear (tailgate, tail lights and bumper). Structurally, the Splash is based on a shortened version of the Swift’s platform.

Opened in 1992, the Esztergom factory has produced over one million Suzukis to date.

The Japanese carmaker does not consider the Splash as a successor of the Wagon R+, the enlarged version of the Wagon R which in 1993 was originally developed for the Japanese market, and later also introduced in Europe.

“Based on completely different criteria, Splash’s design is mainly tailored to the requirements of European customers,” explains Toshihiro Suzuki, the project’s Chief Engineer.

Hence, the Splash comes with attractive styling - unlike the Wagon R "box"-, compact dimensions and responsive handling.

Suzuki Splash MPV: dashboard.

The 3.72 m-long car offers space for up to five occupants.

Styling - While the focus of Phase One of Suzuki’s “World-Strategy” was on sportiness, Splash is the first model in Phase Two which will focus on young families as its main target group. Apart from fresh and sporty styling, young couples look for spaciousness, flexibility and economy.

Rather than a purely functional box shape (like the Wagon R!), the Suzuki designers went after a styling that corresponds to the Splash name: youthful, fresh and zesty.

The styling team for Splash was headed by Akira Kamio (44), who also played a big part in the styling of Swift. Since 2003, he began to analyse the necessary characteristics for a future European mini-MPV.

Suzuki Splash MPV: front side view.

2008 Vauxhall / Opel Agila: front side view.

Differences between Splash (top) and Agila (below) include different styling at front (bonnet, wings, headlamps and bumper).

Whilst it should not look like a shrunken version of a full-sized MPV, such a car must keep the high seating position and good all-round visibility, the pleasant feeling of space and flexibility allowing the rear compartment to be easily turned into a substantial stowage space.

To get up-to-date information, a group of 10 Suzuki designers from Japan traveled to Germany in January, 2004 to spend a period of six months there. They analysed European trends in cars, fashion, lifestyle and design, and at the Paris Motor Show in late September 2006, Suzuki presented ‘Project Splash’, a concept car showcasing a taste of the styling of the future production-version Splash.

Body and chassis - Suzuki expects its Splash to be a major player in the mini-MPV segment, targeting annual sales of approximately 60,000 Splash units throughout Europe. The 3.72 m-long car offers space for up to five occupants with some sports and leisure equipment, in a relatively tall body (1.6 metres) and a width of 1.7 metres.

The early Opel information about its new Agila version mentions rear seat backs that can be folded down at a flick of the wrist to create a completely flat load floor, with a compartment beneath providing additional storage space. In total, the Splash / Agila has a luggage capacity of 1150 liters accessible through a large trunk lid.

2008 Vauxhall / Opel Agila: back side view.

Visual differences between Splash (top) and Agila (below) include different styling of the tailgate, tail lights and bumper.

To provide safe and precise handling, ride comfort, environmental compatibility with optimum passive and active safety, Splash uses a 30 mm shorter wheelbase version of the Swift’s platform, Suzuki’s current best seller.

The chassis, steering and brakes were adapted to the new parameters in extensive tests, which included tens of thousands of miles of testing over various types of European roads, from English cobblestones, through twisty southern Spanish tracks to fast German autobahns.

Engines - Splash will make its debut at the Frankfurt International Motor Show in September (13 – 23, 2007), with sales commencing in Spring, 2008. Customers will have the choice of three engines – two petrol and a diesel. The petrol units are 100% Suzuki designs, a 1.0-litre 3-cylinder unit producing 65 PS (48 kW) and a 1.2-litre 4-cylinder engine developing 86 PS (63 kW). Both have four-valve-per-cylinder.

The 1.3-litre diesel comes with common-rail direct injection and a DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter), producing 75 PS (55 kW). The 4-cylinder diesel unit is manufactured by Suzuki at its new diesel engine plant in India under license from Fiat Group Automobiles.

All three engines are combined with a 5-speed manual gearbox, are Euro4-compliant, with CO2 emissions between 120 and 140 g/km. The 86 PS petrol version can also be ordered with a 4-speed automatic transmission.

Safety - Active safety features include ABS, brake assist, electronic brake-force distribution and ESP (ESP is a registered trademark of DaimlerChrysler). Passive safety features include six airbags (dual front side and curtain airbags), a crash-optimised, rigid passenger cell, plus seatbelt-force limiters and seatbelt pretensioners for the front seats. For enhanced pedestrian protection the front end of Splash is fitted with energy-absorbing structures.

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