Suzuki swift - the nifty swifty

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Photo / Ted Baghurst

I'm swinging down High Street, squeezing into tiny parking spaces and nipping into stores to pick up products for a photo shoot, and the new Suzuki Swift is living up to its name. As I buzz around town, up and down one way streets, bumping with ease over the paved pedestrianised Fort Street, I can see why this car is so popular.

Isn't it funny when you have anew car, you suddenly notice them everywhere. It's like when it's a new season in fashion and suddenly everyone's wearing neon (which a year ago we wouldn't have been seen dead in!). I love that small cars are cool.

In Europe this has long been the case, as savvy urbanites have realised the advantages of getting about town in something nifty and economical. Giant gas-guzzling wagons that block other drivers views just seem pointless, and so off-trend right now.

The petrol-heads tell me that my Nifty Swifty, which I have taken to calling my little white pearl of driving pleasure, has the lowest CO2 emissions of "pretty much anything on the market at the moment" and it's 'good on gas'.

This I put to the test with two girlfriends when we loaded up the car with luggage, baskets of foodie delights and bottles of champagne and head north to Warkworth for a birthday weekend. The fuel gauge barely moves the whole trip.

As we whizz up State Highway One we hold our own; there is none of that `I feel vunerable, like I'm travelling in a tin can', a feeling which some small cars can induce as log trucks roar past in the opposite direction. We cruise in comfort, there's plenty of leg room and the seemingly high roof adds to the sense of space.

"Great if you had a Patsy up-do'," laughs Niki from the back seat, as we plug in my iPad and to the ambient sounds of Tosca leave the stresses of the city behind.

In the name of research, I ask my travelling companions "does size matter?" And after lots of giggles, we all agree indeed, as in life, it is the little things that count: the steering-wheel-mounted audio control buttons, the comfortable seats, the easy to see - and use - panel of instruments, the cup holders.

The lines of the car are clean and simple; the interior fashionably minimal. I'd liken the Suzuki Swift to a little black silk skirt - just above the knee and with a cheeky kick pleat at the back.

It may not be as eye-catching as a floral Karen Walker jacket, or ooze money like a Louis Vuitton bag, but it's discreet, versatile, reliable - and I know I'll get plenty of mileage out of it.

Nuts and bolts:

Model: Suzuki Swift LTD
Body: five door hatch
Engine: 1.4-litre
Fuel economy: 6.2 litres per 100km
Emissions: 147g/km Price: $24,990

Amanda Linnell is the editor of Viva magazine, out in the New Zealand Herald every Wednesday.

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