The Suzuki Swift Sport has won the People’s Choice award in the AA Driven New Zealand Car of the Year honours announced in Auckland on December 12.
In the largest public motoring vote ever made in New Zealand, the popular Swift Sport was a clear winner. More than 53,000 Automobile Association members and readers of the New Zealand Herald’s motoring section Driven voted for their favourite new car model of the year from ten finalists.
The nation's most prestigious motoring awards have resulted in a double win for Suzuki’s best selling Swift model, and the performance Swift Sport version was also voted Best in Class for the micro/light car segment. It was the second successive New Zealand Car of the Year award victory for the Swift after emerging tops in the 2017 micro/light car category.
These latest accolades came on the back of rising sales of new Swifts in the local market, said Gary Collins, General Manager of Automobile Marketing for Suzuki New Zealand. “There has been a substantial increase in demand for the Swift Sport this year, with sales up by 58 percent over 2017,” he said.
“At the same time, sales for all Swift models have increased by 29 percent in year-to-date sales,” said Collins. There are similar increases in demand in Australia where there has been a 39 percent lift in Swift sales this year.
Chief judge for the New Zealand awards and Driven Editor at Large Liz Dobson said, “Suzuki deserves praise for raising the bar by delivering a well-balanced compromise between driving fun and everyday practicality with its Swift Sport.”
Nine motoring journalists and AA representatives evaluated the finalists with comprehensive trials on the road and at the Pukekohe Park motor racing circuit.
“Suzuki’s tried-and-true ethos of placing each of the Swift’s four wheels as close to the corners as possible gives the Sport a fun platform to build off,” said journalist Matthew Hansen. “Its solid suite of safety tech, included sat nav, a reversing camera, and the all-critical Apple Car Play and Android Auto functionality.”
Journalists have been impressed that in spite of a highly competitive retail price, the car’s comprehensive specification even includes adaptive cruise control as standard.
The Swift Sport has enjoyed international acclaim and in November was voted hot hatch of the year award at the Scottish Car of the Year 2018 ceremony held in Edinburgh by the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers. This followed an intensive test schedule over the last year with 15 members of the association casting votes for the best new cars on the market.
John Murdoch, president of the Scottish motoring writers association, said, “The Suzuki Swift Sport has the get up and go to make every journey a joy. It captures the fun of a hot hatch perfectly yet you can have a great drive within the limit. And when you need a practical supermini, the Swift Sport is just as happy carrying you and the family.”
Suzuki is the eighth largest car maker in the world, selling 8,832 cars each day internationally. In 2017 the brand’s sales topped 3.22 million vehicles. More than six million Swifts have been sold since the car’s introduction in 2005.
Once again Suzuki has been named the world’s “most beloved compact car brand” based on compact car global sales volume, according to IHS Automotive. The sales volume data for “A” and “B” segment vehicles for calendar year 2017 revealed Suzuki was the first choice.
“A” segment refers to mini-car and “B” segment are small 4-door sedans or hatchback models. These are terms used by European motor manufacturers to categorise each kind of car.