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Lessons in reliability

Lloyd Mathews has been with the AA Driving School since 1992. He’s one of their longest serving instructors and in the course of his career has driven over 1.2 million kilometres – mostly in Suzuki Swifts.

From an early age Lloyd was interested in cars but after working as a mechanic, he realised the thing he really loved, was being out on the road. So he joined the AA Driving School as an instructor and has never looked back. “Being self-employed and in charge of my own hours is great,” says Lloyd. “As a keen runner and cyclist I often travel to events. There’s no need to ask the boss for a long weekend – I just ask myself!” he laughs. “Sometimes I’ve said no!”

Over the years Lloyd has taught people of all ages from all walks of life. As you can imagine he’s had some adventures; students trying to go round roundabouts the wrong way, braking for sparrows, and taking the word ‘right’ a little too literally. Lloyd remembers a fellow instructor who said “Right, let’s keep on this road.” The student thought he meant ‘right turn’ and they nearly ended up in the Heathcote River!

As a professional driver Lloyd chooses Suzuki, and with his years of experience, knows he can always rely on them. “I’ve always liked the look of the Swifts but really it’s been value for money most of all, coupled with great reliability,” says Lloyd.

His first Suzuki was a 2008 Swift from Hollands Suzuki – which he recently sold with over 300,000 km on the clock. Then came a 2014 Swift purchased via the AA Driving School. When Lloyd passed it onto his daughter it had done over 220,000 km and only required routine servicing throughout that time.

“All up, those two Swifts have done over half a million kilometres without any issues,” says Lloyd. “Hollands Suzuki serviced them at the prescribed intervals and the cars just kept ticking over. I’ve never even had to put oil in them.”

Lloyd’s now driving a 2020 Swift GL. “It’s a great car – very sprightly but economical and my students love it. I’m looking forward to driving it to the Queenstown marathon event.” His wife Karen also drives a Suzuki, an S-Cross she bought new from Hollands in 2015 which has now done over 100,000 km. “It’s a great car on a long journey,” says Lloyd. “The S-Cross flies over the Crown Range and has done numerous journeys through the Lewis Pass on our annual trip to the Buller Gorge marathon. Most importantly it’s blue, Karen’s favourite colour!”

If we told you Lloyd also loves motorcycling, you can probably guess the brand of bike he rides. He owned an original Suzuki GN250 back in the 1980s, then he rode over 10,000 km on a GW250 before upgrading to a V-Strom (DL650). And now with a 650 km trip to Picton and back, that one’s just passed the 10,000 km mark too. “It was a bit longer than I usually do in a day,” says Lloyd. “But the bike is so comfortable and absolutely purrs along.”

With Lloyd now instructing in a new 2020 Swift GL, we’re sure it won’t be long until he reaches the two million km mark. We’ll let you know when he does.