The Suzuki Splash is making its world debut at the 62nd International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany (open to the public from 13 to 23 September 2007). The Splash is the production model of the Project Splash concept car that earned acclaim at the 2006 Paris Mondiale de L'Automobile, and it is Suzuki's fourth world strategic car (following the Swift, Grand Vitara, and SX4). Although it is a sister car to the new Opel Agila, it was developed in Japan by Suzuki and will be produced in Hungary by Magyar Suzuki.
Suzuki plans to make Splash available for sale in Europe in spring 2008, and hopes to reach Europe-wide sales of about 60,000 units per year.
Suzuki: the Pioneer in Mini Multipurpose Vehicles
It's no exaggeration to say that Suzuki created and popularized the mini-MPV genre. The mini-MPV phenomenon can be traced back to September 1993, when Suzuki unveiled a kind of vehicle that had never previously been seen: the first-generation Wagon R.
Before the Wagon R, most minicars, cars with engine capacities of 660cm3 or smaller, in Japan were simply scaled-down versions - with the original proportions - of compact hatchbacks, commercial vans or pickups. They were seen mainly as personal runabouts for people who didn't need much space or comfort. The Wagon R completely changed the game. Based on a development concept of delivering user-focused comfort and convenience, it reflected an unprecedented pursuit of roominess by means of a tall body.
The Wagon R had a strong visual presence thanks to its physical volume and boxy styling; it was unprecedentedly roomy for a car with its modest road footprint; and it had a high eye point that created a sense of openness in the cabin and made driving easy. Customers were both amazed and delighted to be offered a minicar that was so much fun to use. Orders for the Wagon R consistently outstripped Suzuki's initial sales target of 5,000 units per month by a factor of several times. Sales in some months exceeded 30,000 units.
The groundbreaking concept behind the Wagon R also wowed the motor industry and the motoring media. In the year of its launch, the first-generation Wagon R was the first-ever minicar to be named Car of the Year by the Automotive Researchers' and Journalists' Conference of Japan. And as other car manufacturers played catch-up, a market for models that were known generically in Japan as "Wagon R-type cars" was created. The market has since grown to a point where mini-MPVs accounted for about 1.1 million of the roughly 5.6 million cars sold in Japan in fiscal 2006.
Soon after mini-MPVs became popular in Japan, cars reflecting the same basic concept started appearing in Japan's larger "compact" category. Meanwhile, mini-MPVs found new and enthusiastic markets beyond Japan, most notably in Europe. In 1997, Suzuki conducted international launches of an enlarged Wagon R called the Wagon R+, and in 2000 carried forward the Wagon R+ concept into a next-generation Wagon R+ which was built in Hungary. Since then, Suzuki has continued to evolve its mini-MPV offerings amid steadily growing demand and diversifying customer needs.
Suzuki takes pride in being the first automobile maker to have successfully complemented the inherent compactness, comfort, and economy of mini-MPVs with the aerodynamics, handling, and dynamic & stylish designs demanded in the European driving environment. In developing the Splash, Suzuki used its unique mini-MPV know-how to evolve the genre even further. As a result, the Splash is a next-generation mini-MPV that meets today's needs in uniquely effective new ways.
The Splash Development Concept
In the first phase of the world strategy, Suzuki developed the Swift, Grand Vitara, and SX4 with a focus on sportiness. The Splash is the first model in the second phase of its world strategy-a phase focusing on families. With the Splash, Suzuki set out to combine the sportiness that was honed in the first phase of its world strategy with the family-focused user-friendliness that has been refined over many years of compact-car production. The aim was to make the Splash a multipurpose vehicle capable of accommodating diverse lifestyles and situations. Plus, we aimed for the Splash to be a fashionable second car that would offer expanded possibilities for day-to-day activities; a superlatively easy way for people to get around and have more fun alone or with family and friends.
To ensure that the Splash would meet the exacting demands of European customers, Suzuki subjected it to hard testing in Europe during the development programme and reflected the results in scrupulously careful design of every detail. Consequently, the Splash combines exterior compactness with interior roominess; its design is fresh but communicates a friendly, endearing personality; it delivers a ride that feels both agile and confidence-inspiring; and it combines high performance with excellent environmental compatibility.
Why Suzuki Called It the Splash
Suzuki chose the name "Splash" to signify its desire to create a new sensation. This name was chosen also because its vivid sound creates a sense of expectation and conveys a sense of freshness and youthfulness.
Outstanding roominess thanks to a tall body design
Original body styling that promotes aerodynamic performance
A smooth, one-motion silhouette is combined with a vertical tailgate and other pronounced edges to give the Splash an exterior shape that conveys a sense of lively movement and promotes aerodynamic performance. The rear combination lamps are shaped to visually express splashes of water in line with the name of the car, and boldly protruding front and rear fenders emphasise the car's look of stability. Plus, a tall body design allows plenty of cabin height and relatively high seat positions, thereby realising a roomy, comfortable interior environment. Key dimensions are as follows:
Overall length: 3,715mm; overall width: 1,680mm; overall height: 1,590mm
Wheelbase: 2,360mm (unloaded)
Headroom (compared with Suzuki Swift): Front: +24mm; rear: +31mm
Hip points (at seating reference points; compared with Suzuki Swift): Front: +54mm; rear: +47mm
Outstanding functionality and individuality yielded by bold, creative thinking
Striking colour coordination on instrument-panel fascia, seats, and door trim
Large, highly legible speedometer and information display; and unique tachometer
Easy-to-use high-mount shift lever
Comprehensive range of pockets, trays, and other storage spaces
60:40-split rear seat with one-touch full-flat folding function; luggage area under-floor compartment
The cockpit combines superior space utility with a bold, creative design. The fascia, seats, and door trim are colour-coordinated in a way that makes the interior environment more vivid and distinctive. There are four interior colour combinations, the colours of which are determined by the body colour. Uniquely shaped ventilation grilles and meters, an instrument-panel-mounted shift lever, a unique tachometer, and switches that are arranged on a streamlined centre console promote driving enjoyment by realising rich functionality and individuality in the cockpit. At the same time, a comprehensive range of pockets, trays, and other storage spaces assures convenience for all occupants. Further convenience is realised by a rear seat with a 60:40-split design with a one-touch full-flat folding function and by a luggage area under-floor compartment which is a handy place for stowing car-care items and dirty items of luggage.
Superior handling stability, ride comfort, and driving performance
Front suspension: L-shape arms and MacPherson struts (with suspension frame)
Rear suspension: Torsion beam
Specially tuned dampers yielding a smooth, comfortable ride on European roads
Choice of three engines offering ample torque and powerful acceleration
The Splash is built on a platform inherited from the sporty Suzuki Swift. In line with the new car's development concept, the chassis is specially tuned for confidence-inspiring handling stability and ride comfort that are not compromised by the tall body. During the development programme, we subjected the chassis to extensive testing in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Spain and optimised the suspension damping, tyres, and steering assistance to enable a smooth comfortable ride on European autobahns, twisty roads, and stone-paved roads and to realise a natural steering feel over a wide range of speeds.
There's a choice of three engines: a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol type, a 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol type, and a 1.3-litre DDiS common-rail diesel type. The petrol engines were both developed by Suzuki as next-generation powerplants. The diesel engine will be made at a Suzuki plant in India under license from Fiat. With all three engines, optimised combustion realises ample torque and powerful acceleration. Also, optimally tuned mount bushes suppress engine noise, booming noise, and idling vibration. For environmental compatibility, CO2 emissions are as low as 120-140g/km with a manual transmission. The engines' respective maximum outputs are as follows:
1.0-litre petrol engine: 48kW (65PS)
1.2-litre petrol engine: 63kW (86PS)
1.3-litre diesel engine: 55kW (75PS)
Crushable structures, energy-dispersing frame, and high-rigidity cabin
Six airbags (dual front airbags, dual seat-side airbags, and dual curtain airbags)
Front-seatbelt pretensioners and force limiters
Energy-absorbing trim on pillars and roof-side rails (for occupant protection)
Energy-absorbing bonnet, cowl, wings, bonnet hinges, and front bumper (for pedestrian protection)
Electronic Stability Program (ESP(R))
To help the driver avoid hazards, the Splash has a range of active-safety technologies including an antilock braking system; a brake-assist function (this boosts braking effectiveness for dependably rapid deceleration in emergencies); electronic braking-force distribution (this prevents increases in the weight of passengers and luggage from causing increases in stopping distances); and an ESP(R), which automatically applies the brakes and controls the engine output as necessary to suppress skids during cornering manoeuvres and wheelspin during standing starts and acceleration.
In case of an unexpected collision, the Splash incorporates crushable structures, an energy-dispersing frame, and a high-rigidity cabin. Also, the front seatbelts each have a pretensioner and a force limiter, which help to minimise the severity of chest and head injuries experienced by the driver and front passenger; and parts of the cabin have energy-absorbing trim, which provides a measure of head protection for all occupants. And in case of contact with a pedestrian, the Splash has energy-absorbing structures in its bonnet, front bumper, and other frontal body parts.
Note: ESP is a registered trademark of DaimlerChrysler AG.