Directly after the elections, taxes will surely skyrocket to fund Nkandla II, buy our great leader a new presidential 747, and provide a whole army of new government bureaucrats with mansions, fancy cars and massive expense accounts.
Under the circumstances, buying a new car would border on the impossible for taxpayers.
And, those who can still afford vehicles will generally be forced to down-scale drastically.
The new Suzuki Swift 1.4 GLS Manual costs R186 900 – still a huge amount of money where this writer lives, but considered good value among people who earn real salaries.
Moreover, the vehicle has recently undergone a number of changes and updates for the 2014 model year.
What has not changed is the Suzuki’s fuel-injected four-cylinder engine, which provides a maximum power output of 70kW at 6 000 rpm, coupled to 130Nm of torque at 4 000 rpm.
More importantly, linked to a five-speed gearbox, it is extremely frugal. We drove the car around Gauteng’s city routes for a week – part of our pledge to never, ever, utilise the parasitic e-toll routes.
At the end of the test, the Suzuki returned an average fuel usage figure of 5.6 litres per 100km – hugely impressive.
The car is no racer, but accele-rates briskly enough to keep ahead of traffic, with sure-footed handling characteristics, ABS-assisted brakes and power steering.
Another welcome addition is cruise control, which can be conveniently operated using switchgear located on the steering wheel.
The interior is comfortable, boasting most of the extras that used to belong exclusively to bigger vehicles.
Standard stuff includes air-conditioning, electric windows, plus remote-controlled central locking for the doors and tailgate.
Also noticeable are a height-adjustable driver’s seat, keyless entry and a multi-function trip computer.
The car is pretty too, benefiting from a redesigned grille, accompanied by a new front bumper, LED daytime running lights and all new 16-inch alloy wheels.
Additional features include automatic climate control, and a USB socket for playing music from flash drives or portable media devices.
In all, an impressive package – if you have to down-scale, the Suzuki way will not bring with it many depressing sacrifices.
The purchase price includes metallic paint, plus the Suzuki Complete programme, which covers the full spectrum of after-sales support.
The Suzuki Swift is covered by a comprehensive three-year/100 000 km warranty, supported by six-year corrosion cover.
A three-year/60 000km service plan is standard, as is a three-year AA roadside assistance plan.