Throwback to happy days with the Suzuki Dzire GL+

Personally, the look of a car is my main factor in determining whether I like it or not. The Suzuki Dzire is not too shabby but its design is not my cup of tea. Add to that the quirky Auto Gear Shift (AGS) transmission and it’s easy to put the Dzire at the back of my head when its second-generation model launched in 2018.

Fast forward to now and I had a 180-degree turn with that opinion. It’s not because the Dzire got updated, but I discovered something about it. I’m still not a fan of its design but it has a peculiar characteristic that brought me back to my younger years. Ironically, it involves the AGS.

I said the AGS is quirky because if you treat it like a normal automatic transmission where you don’t let go of the throttle, you’ll notice a significant lag and a slight jerk in the upshifts. The way to avoid this is by letting go of the throttle once you feel it would shift, like how you would a manual gearbox.

The annoying part is being conscious of the tachometer once it hits around 2,000rpm so I can let go of the throttle, minimizing the lag and jerk. I thought, why not just do it by myself? That way, I will shift when I let go of the throttle, instead of anticipating when to let go. It’s the best decision I made during my time with the Dzire. The shifter is firm but isn’t heavy so you can operate it even with just a tap. What’s more, it operates like a real sequential shifter where you pull back for upshift and push forward for downshifts, unlike most automatics where it’s the other way around.

Combine that with the great handling of the Dzire (because this is based on the Suzuki Swift platform) and you’ve got a small sedan that drives like you’re in an arcade. Add to this the new electronic stability control and it grants your every whim on the road whether you’re in tight city streets, long straights, or curves out of town. This Dzire brought me back to the fun days when I was just playing Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune in Timezone.

It’s not all for the driver though. A unique proposition by the Dzire is the rear aircon vents at this price point. It makes cooling the car a lot easier and rear passengers won’t have to beg the front occupants for air. But unfortunately, that’s it. There’s no USB port at the back (though there is a 12V socket) and it lacks smartphone connectivity like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It has power folding side mirrors though!

But I can’t really ask too much from the Suzuki Dzire because at P708,000, it’s already punching above its price point. It has decent space for all occupants, rear air vents which is great to have in a hot country like ours and of course, the great driving experience it will give you even if it’s just a grocery run. If you’re on a budget but want to relish cheap thrills behind the wheel, the Dzire is a very easy choice to make.

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