Suzuki Dzire: An underrated small sedan first-time car buyers should check out

We all can agree that our first times are as memorable as the last. The first day of school, the first bicycle ride, the first trip abroad, the first date, the first kiss – I can guarantee that all these things are etched in your memories, dear reader, just as much as the next person beside you. 

But as with all the firsts you’ve experienced, there’s always a precaution and hesitation before doing these things for the first time. This pretty much applies when buying your first car, especially if it’s your first time to drive. Could it be the price tag? The looks? The size? You have your reservations, and rightfully so. 

With the flock of options in the market for affordable cars, Suzuki Philippines has a vehicle in its lineup that first-time car buyers have been missing out on: the Dzire. 

The Dzire’s new face makes it desirable.

This Suzuki subcompact sedan isn’t as popular as the Ertiga MPV, or as emphatic as the Jimny mini SUV, but it has five things that make it a great car for first-timers.

Design: Better than ever

After spinning off from its hatchback brother, the Suzuki Swift, the Dzire now bears its own identity. The third-generation model has become a true sedan – as opposed to its two predecessors that look like hatchbacks with trunks.

The Dzire’s new face makes it desirable, as are the subtle yet noticeable body curves, 15-inch alloys, low gaping grille, and sweptback multi-reflector headlamps that employ a distinction upfront. The rear isn’t relegated at all and those who tail you will surely reminisce in seeing your LED taillights that look like Tetris bricks.

With a chassis shared with the Swift, the Dzire is just as balanced and fun-to-drive as its hatchback brother.

Overall, the styling isn’t screaming nor too generic; it just has the right mix of understatement and grace – perfect for those who want individuality where small cars are aplenty.

Spacious for its size

The biggest consideration when going for a small car is the interior space. The Dzire excels in this regard, with Suzuki applying its expertise on small cars to maximize the cabin.

Dzire’s dashboard.
Suzuki Dzire’s seven-inch touchscreen takes care of entertainment and navigation while on the road. 
The Dzire offers adequate interior space.

Leaving the things that matter, this subcompact can ferry five people at most, coziest if limited only to four. Leg-, elbow-, and headroom are surprisingly adequate, along with its 378-liter trunk space that can fit each passenger’s belongings with room for more. Cubbyholes and storage spaces are scattered all over the cabin as well.

Well-equipped for the price

With the top-spec GL+ AGS variant priced at P698,000, the Dzire is already well-equipped for its price point. This amount of money already gets you multiple power adjustments at the helm, while a seven-inch touchscreen takes care of entertainment and navigation while on the road. 

Safety equipment is uniform across the range, including Brake Assist, ABS with EBD, a high-mount LED third brake light, and dual front airbags. Of note, the Dzire is the only vehicle in the segment that’s equipped with air-conditioning louvers, which are available across the range.

Notable road manners

With a chassis shared with the Swift, the Dzire is just as balanced and fun-to-drive as its hatchback brother. It’s nimble, agile, and delivers the right amount of power when needed. It might not be the most powerful in its class but it’s among the lightest so you can still expect a satisfying pull as you dig onto the accelerator.

Of note, the automated-manual transmission or AGS (Auto Gear Shift), which is endemic to the Dzire and in the Dzire GL+ variant, offers the convenience of an automatic transmission with the control of a manual gearbox – built with less complexity for longevity and easier maintenance.

Even better, the whole Dzire range inherits the esteemed frugality that the Swift and Celerio are known for, clocking in over 20 km/l on the highway at an average speed of 90 km/h. In fact in a fuel economy run conducted last year with the assistance of the Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP), the Dzire MT delivered a fuel mileage of 26.54 km/l while the Dzire AGS clocked in at 25.81 km/l.

Theres a Dzire variant for you

The top-spec Dzire GL+ AGS has all the bells and whistles, perfect for those who don’t want compromise even for their first car. However, while newbie drivers may tend to choose the more convenient automatic transmission, I still believe that learning how to drive a stick is a better foundation for beginners. For that, the Dzire GL MT is the right trim, losing some options from GL+ but still a well-equipped option for P638,000.

Now, if you’re looking for a basic personal transporter, or maybe something for fleet, taxi, or TNVS use, the GA MT sets you off for only P549,900 – one of the few Japanese cars you can buy within the half-a-million price range.

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