|Winning Groufie Shot: "Swift Trambia"|
What would be the best way to test drive the performance, ride, handling and driving comfort of the all-new Suzuki Swift? Probably a three-hour, 138-kilometer road trip to scenic Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan and back, would be perfect.
The all-new 2019 Swift GL 1.2L CVT sub-compact hatchback simply reminded me of small European cars with a sporty twist.
Our Pearl Pure-White colored Suzuki Swift GL rolled out towards NLEX, dressed-up and accessorized accessorized with an all-black special-edition front grille with a red-striped fascia plate, a pair of carbon-fiber decals lining the fog lights, a matte-black front-lip spoiler, a five-inch-wide red-on-black racing stripe that starts from the hood and extends all the way up to the rear hatch, a pair of matte-black side skirts complemented by carbon fiber decals above it, and finishing up at the rear are its matte-black apron and sporty spoiler above the hatch.
|The caravan along San Fernando, Pampanga.|
The caravan was a spectacle to see along the straights of NLEX and a sure head-turner to the locals as we passed the curvaceous two-lane provincial roads of Bataan.
The Vehicle Of Choice
We all drove the all-new Suzuki Swift 1.2L GL CVT. Its engine outputs 61 HP at 6,000 RPM with 113 Nm of torque. That’s more than enough power for its size. It may look small, but this sub-compact hatchback has lots of room to spare.
|Stop-over in Pampanga.|
My co-driver and life partner, Arabelle Jimenez and I rode together with a friend, Fort Manahan who is a gentle giant standing 6 foot 3 inches tall. We all took turns as the designated driver. Fort found the All-New Swift quite relaxing to drive. He also found it roomy as a passenger riding in the back seat with lots of leg-room to spare. With a heavy load, it bottomed out at the back a few times on really large bumps.
|(L to R) Monch Henares (Author), Fort Manahan of Carmudi, and Arabelle Jimenez of Beautiful Life.|
Arabelle, on the other hand, said, "I find driving the all-new Swift a breeze, and its handling solid and stable." She especially liked the manual height-adjusting driver’s seat. She sat high and she enjoyed the commanding unobstructed view around her.
The all-new Swift is nimble, quick and very responsive. The brakes are firm and can put all that power to rest.
|Simple yet functional controls.|
The 360-degree visibility was adequate which made maneuverability a breeze.
The Swift is very quiet and stable at high speeds, maybe due to its low stance and lower center of gravity. Though we all found the suspension to be on the stiff side, it really did not matter much because it handled well, and gripped those tight provincial curves with ease.
Our Test Drive Destination
Test drives gives us a chance to experience the drivability and features of an automobile, at the same time we get to visit some local world-class destinations. This time, we went to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar located in Bagac, Bataan.
|Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar|
Las Casas Filipinas is an 18th century inspired Filipino village with cobble-stoned streets and colonial-style buildings. Almost all the structures are more than a hundred years old that were purchased, uprooted and painstakingly taken apart piece by piece from different parts of the country.
|All-new Swift going back in time.|
These heritage structures were carefully restored and finally assembled to its former glory in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. Hopefully, their final resting place.
|Nostalgic backdrop with a view of the mountains|
All the rooms were refitted with modern-day amenities and accommodations that you would find in world-class hotels. We felt pampered with the modern conveniences, but very much felt the old world vibe.
|Rustic hotel in Las Casas is apt for a picturesque postcard.|
This collection of vintage houses set around winding canals just like in Venice, Italy put us on a time machine back to 150 years ago. With the backdrop of the South China Sea on the west and Mt. Mariveles on the east, this 400-hectare heritage park is totally picture-perfect. It is not surprising, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar was recognized in 2017 as Asia’s most excellent destination.
|A sculpture in the foreground adds charm to the whole image.|
The mode of transportation around the resort is the popular jeepney. Authentic engine-driven Trambias also ply the main streets at 30-minute intervals. Huge Horse-driven Calesas add to the historic ambiance too. We didn’t have time to try the evening canal ride onboard a gondola, but they say it is a must-try tour that takes you on a different perspective of the classic architecture and grandiose landscape of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, making it a perfect back-drop for Instagram-worthy photos with the Suzuki Swift.
|Venice-like Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.|
Test Drive Results
Overall, the all-new 2019 Suzuki Swift 1.2L GL CVT sub-compact hatchback performed and handled like a champ. It was quite economical averaging 17 km/l on the city roads and 22 km/l on the highway. It was fast, stable on the straights and a road-hugging baby on the curves. It was easy to drive, surprisingly quiet and comfortable to ride in with lots of room for 5 passengers. The body felt very solid and safe.
It is a daily-driver made for everyone. Young or old, it’s a car you can dress-up and personalize to match your individual taste. Its timeless European design won’t go out of style, thus making it a wise, and affordable investment for first-time car buyers.
The Swift really lives up to its name.
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Monch "Monchster" Henares is an award-winning automotive journalist and feature writer for the Philippine Daily Inquirer's "Road Talk", media blogger @ MonchsterChronicles, tech and motoring specialist, inventor, and automotive engineer. He managed the motorpool for a limousine company in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. He is now based in Manila, Philippines and is the President of BuildMeUp Corp.
You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org