First Impressions on Traveling with the Suzuki Swift

lj standing next to a Suzuki Swift

“I love this car!” I think to myself as I click the sports mode button and speed up the Rift Valley escarpment. It has been six months since we bought this pearl white beast. This purchase was a decision made after three months of browsing through multiple types of cars available in Kenya. I am going to tell you why the Suzuki Swift is the best decision you could make as well.

About the Suzuki Swift

white Suzuki Swift
Swift in the bush

This is an affordable, comfortable and FUN car to drive. In other words, this is the best ‘sport’ car on a budget. I can only imagine how it feels to drive the actual sport version. The 2013 base model, that we have, comes with a 1.2 litre engine and a 4-speed automatic transmission. Let us talk about my experience so far.

Why do I love it?

It is hard to pin down exactly what it is that I love about this car. Here are five reasons that have made it such a great deal:

  • Fuel economy – On average the Swift uses one litre every 17 km (fuel economy varies from driver to driver). A full tank lasts about 2-3 weeks. I live in Nairobi. A city that has a ridiculous amount of traffic. I drive about 300km on the weekdays and 100 km on weekends. On occasion I have gone to Nakuru (180km) and back with less than 20L of fuel.
  • Handling – Most Monday mornings you will find me swiftly (haha) manoeuvring a pearl white Suzuki Swift around traffic along the Southern Bypass at 110km/h. The handling on this car is exceptional compared to many cars of the same price range. It feels stable and precise.
  • Sound system – Another thing that gets me through the tough Monday mornings is the music I play in the Swift. Once we figured out how to translate the language on the car system from Japanese (thank you google translate) to English, we can now connect to Bluetooth and play any music we desire. The speakers are deafening in a great way!With the windows up, the experience is pretty similar to Dolby Atmos.
  • Comfort – I am six feet tall (do not listen to Es) and I can sit comfortably for 4 hour trips either up front or in the back. You cannot say that about many small cars.
  • Lastly – my favourite- the “Sports mode” – I call it sports mode because when I click the side button on the shift stick, an ‘S’ appears on the dashboard and I get an extra boost in acceleration power. I have had so much fun with this super power!

Finding the car you love

As much as luck played a part in finding our Swift, we did a lot of research and reflection to know which car would be perfect for our needs. Here are things to look out for before buying a car:

  1. Determine your budget- This is the most important part of buying a car. Remember a car can either be a liability or an asset. The fact that we can afford to fuel and maintain our car has allowed us to enjoy it and get its full utility. Ask yourself: are spare-parts readily available? Are they costly? How much will it cost me to maintain the car?
  2. Determine the purpose of the car – What will be the main use of the car? What type of roads will it be used on? How often will it be used? Knowing the purpose of the car allows you to answer two question; Do you really need a car? If the answer is yes then what type of car do you need?
  3. Browse online- Once you have determined it is absolutely necessary and possible to get a car, look for the car online. This is to help you determine the price range of cars and the conditions to expect. Armed with this knowledge you will have a better chance of getting the best bargain.
  4. Find a trustworthy mechanic- A mechanic will help you determine if the car is a good deal.
  5. Explore the car dealers – Go to as many car dealers as possible looking for the specific car you determined you needed. Focus on your ideal car.
  6. Make a second visit with your trusted mechanic- This is the time you cut away at your choices till you are left with the best. Have the mechanic check your number one choice. At this point start negotiating with the research you did on step 2 in mind. Remember to stick to your budget.
  7. Insurance-Looking back now, I would highly advice that you contact the agency directly. They will help you understand what type of cover you need and how to navigate the claims process if need ever arises.

Side-note: Have someone else shop with you. Es definitely helped me get the best deal. I initially had my eye on another Swift, however, Es was quick to find something even better.

Maintaining the Suzuki Swift

Here are some tips and tricks that will help you keep your new car looking and feeling new for as long as possible:

  • Get a windshield sun-cover.
  • Get your favourite scent. We found the Bath and Body fragrances where perfect!
  • Wax your car at least every month.
  • If you plan to travel for long journeys arm rest would be ideal. We like this one because of all the extra storage.
  • Have an organiser behind your seat for added storage.
  • Keep extra fluids for the car. These include: brake fluid, coolant, transmission fluid and water for the wipers.
  • Have a toolbox and WD-40 handy.

I hope I made your decision go owning a car easier. I look forward to learning even more as we go on more safaris with our Swift. If you have any questions or tips that you have about cars contact me here.

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