Front of the car

The Suzuki SA-310

The Suzuki SA-310 was introduced in 1984 to complement the Suzuki line of cars with a compact car. The Suzuki SA-310 was to compete with the Daihatsu Charade, Nissan Micra and Opel Corsa. In 1986 a few minor details changed and the car was named "Swift" instead. General Motors bought the concept and sold it as "Chevrolet Sprint" in the USA. The Suzuki SA-310 was sold in the GA and GL versions, the GL being the luxury car. Four Japanese people may easily fit but for taller Europeans the car should be considered suitable for two adults and two children.

The Suzuki SA-310 has a new purpose built engine entirely made out of light alloy weighing only 63 kg. The power plant is made for fuel efficiency, not speed. The strength of 50 BHP is used for torque, not speed, making the car climb hills with unexpected ease. Fuel consumption, or lack thereof, is the Suzuki SA-310's strongest point. I drive about 70 miles to the gallon (1 liter per 23 kilometers). At any speed the car is exceptionally quiet thanks to the concept of the engine itself plus good sound insulation. The gear box shifts gears lightly and precisely as expected from a Japanese car. Unlike the new engine, the suspension is based on that of the Suzuki Alto making it a bit awkward. Taking a corner carefully but speedy makes the car understeer, taking a corner more sharply and abruptly creates oversteer. Be aware. Under normal circumstances the combination of leaf springs and regular McPhresons make the car stiff and enjoyable on long rides. It car does not go like your average Japanese flying carpet or even worse: the American waterbed. Road handling, breaking and passive safety are poor compared to a modern 1998 car, thereby keeping the driver sharp and awake. Poor passive safety makes excellent active safety!

In due time the Suzuki SA-310 proved to be exceptionally reliable. In 1997 Suzuki started advertising with photographs of father giving his still shiny and fresh Suzuki SA-310 to his daughter. I drove the car for over 250,000 kilometers and have never had a single defect.

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Technical data

Engine

Engine typeFour stroke cycle, water cooled
Number of cylinders3
Piston displacement993 cc
Bore, stroke74.0 mm, 77.0 mm
Horsepower50 bhp at 5800 rpm
Torque75 Nm at 3600 rpm
Compression ratio8.8 : 1
CarburetorAISAN two barrel down draft
Transmission5 speed manual gear box
Weight of engine63 kg
Engine lubricantBP 10W40
Drawn engine
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Sizes and brakes

Total weight (excluding audio system)675 kg
Total weight (including audio system, fuel and all added electronic gadgets)
As measured 15 April 1999 at the CNC lorry weighing bridge
760 kg
Maximum tolerable weight1130 kg
Length, width, height359 cm, 155 cm, 135 cm
Chassis layoutfront engine, front wheel drive
Brakes, frontdisc brake (floating caliper type)
Brakes, reardrum brake (leading and trailing)
Braking from 100 KM/h47 meters
Tyres and pressure145SR12 (Michelin MX) at 220 kPa (2.2 km/cm2, 31 psi)
Suspensionfront strut, rear leaf spring
Shock absorbersKoni

Drawn car

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Acceleration

Acceleration from zero
Gear box
0 - 60 km/h5.7 sec.
0 - 80 km/h9.3 sec.
0 - 100 km/h14.9 sec
0 - 120 km/h24.0 sec.
Acceleration in 4th gear
60 - 80 km/h7.5 sec.
60 - 100 km/h15.7 sec.
60 - 120 km/h26.6 sec.
Acceleration in 5th gear
60 - 80 km/h10.3 sec.
60 - 100 km/h23.0 sec.
60 - 120 km/h40.2 sec.
Difference between speed on indicator and real speed
As measured by Dutch police and "Veilig Verkeer Nederland" in the "Project snelheidsbeheersing Flevoland" on 21 March 1998
50 km =45 km
80 km =70 km
100 km =93 km
Official top speed145 KM/h
Personal best top speed
(off hill, little weight, wind in the back, long road)
170 KM/h
Acceleration chart
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Miscellaneous

Sound pressure level at
60 km/h65 dB (A)
80 km/h67 dB (A)
100 km/h70 dB (A)
120 km/h73 dB (A)
136 km/h76 dB (A)
Standard Suzuki SA-310 GL in 1984Dfl. 15.295,-
Bought by first owner on November 23rd 1984Dfl. 16.140,-
Bought by me on July 17th 1991Dfl.  7.000,-
Audio system in 1996Dfl. 15.000,-
Anti-rust treatment byAnti-rust center Jan van Egmond
Serviced bySuzuki Witte
Publications about this car (Dutch):AutoVisie magazine
1983 issue 26, page 62 - 63
AutoKampioen magazine
1984 issue 3, pages 21 - 25
Kluwer Vraagbaak SA310/Swift
Benzinemodellen 1984 - 1989
ISBN 90-201-2403-X



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