Suzuki Liana 1.6 GLX | CARkeys

25 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Suzuki Liana 1.6 GLX | CARkeys

Suzuki Liana

1.6 GLX review

Suzuki is really starting to make its mark . What’s often thought of as very much a small-part player on the world – even the Japanese – stage is steadily building up technical alliances and expanding into new market classes.

The Liana is its first mini-MPV, and as a late-ish arrival on the scene Suzuki has been able to take careful note of what rival companies have been doing with cars of this kind. In effect, it has leapfrogged over what might have been its own first-time ideas, and put into the showrooms, right away, a pretty mature design.

For a start, there’s very smoothly contoured bodywork. Like the Renault Laguna, oddly enough, the Liana could probably do with an immediate re-think about the grille area, but otherwise it doesn’t have a panel out of place.

Looking at it from a three-quarter front position, and seeing how the doors and windows are styled towards the rear, you’d hardly credit that this car is from the same outfit which came up with the Wagon R+. Suzuki has shrugged off Japanese-gawky and gone elegant international. Blander, maybe, but generally much more attractive.

And there’s still a strong individual identity about the tailgate styling.

A car in this class, high-set as all mini-MPVs are, has to provide better than hatchback-style passenger space, and the Liana has little problem in doing just that. Headroom is excellent all round, and I thought that an initial complaint about rear knee-room was probably caused by the fact that a heavy seam at the top of the magazine holder behind each front seat tends to get in the way. Actually, a modest amount of give-and-take between front and rear passengers ought to sort things out quite easily.

Luggage space behind the 55/45 split rear seat is certainly on a par with the rest of the class. Although the Liana doesn’t lead the field for ingenuity, Suzuki has built in plenty of smaller stowage spaces, cup-holders, lockers, trays and so on, including a pull-out tray under the front passenger seat.

Interior presentation is away ahead of what Suzuki used to do in the past. The GLX upholstery looks good, the doors are neatly trimmed, there’s quite a sporty metallic-finished steering wheel, and the slimline instrument display features a digital speedometer alongside a bar graph revcounter. There’s also what gives the impression of being a 22nd-century radio front, with a clock kept on the right time thanks to a satellite link.

The GLX comes with ABS and EBD, alloy wheels, side airbags for front-seat occupants, and an air-conditioning system which isn’t as power-sapping as many others.

There’s little doubt, though, that many people will go for the entry-level GL, which still has power steering, electrically operated windows and mirrors, as well as front airbags, for a very reasonable £9995.

One of the few things which spoils the Liana’s little cousin, the otherwise beguiling Ignis. is a lack of sound-deadening, to the extent that somebody in the front passenger seat at a petrol station can hear every litre of fuel gurgling down the filler pipe.

If that had been repeated in the Liana, it would have been a major thumbs-down. Fortunately, it hasn’t. Going for an international market, and with some formidable opposition already in place, Suzuki simply couldn’t have got away with the old approach of not seeming to bother its shirt about details like that.

It has paid a lot of attention to damping down road and drive-train noise.

Static, then, the Liana is fine. Dynamically, it’s. well, it’s still fine. Out on test on some favourite hill roads, it handled right up with the best of the mini-MPV opposition, showing a supple ride quality, strong braking, a slick manual gear-change (automatic is an option) and precise hydraulic power steering.

This is a car which will take quite a lot of stick without losing its composure. The wheels and tyres on the GLX are sportier than those on the GL, but they don’t seem to hurt the ride.

Both models come with Suzuki’s latest low-vibration all-alloy 1.6-litre petrol engine, which is smooth-revving and responds very smartly to throttle movements. All those years of designing motorcycle engines have paid off for the company’s four-wheel division.

Safety and security details are a lot more impressive than in some earlier Suzukis, and so is the general standard of construction. That’s shown in the fact that the Liana is being sold here with a 12-year anti-perforation warranty.

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