With room for four adults and plenty of equipment levels supplied as standard, the Swift is a great option for a family car. Handling is good and its size makes it ideal for nipping around town – parking, of course, is very easy thanks to great visibility and its compact size. Hybrid and 4×4 options are also available.
The goodDynamic styling, outstanding value and great performer
The badCompeting in a highly competitive segment
Suzuki Swift 1.2 SZ5 SHVS Dualjet Allgrip
I’m not sure who it was that came up with the wise words claiming that ‘good things come in small packages’ but they must have just driven away from a car showroom in the all-new Suzuki Swift.
For the dynamically-styled compact four-door supermini may be small in size, but it’s very big on performance, comfort, practicality and, above all, value for money.
In recent years, Suzuki has gone from strength to strength and for a company that was renowned for developing superb motorbikes at one time, it has built a very respectable reputation as a car manufacturer too.
And if further proof of that success were needed, simply look at the recent sales figures. While sales across the UK have generally been plummeting mainly due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit negotiations, Suzuki has been enjoying a very positive spell. In the UK in 2017, there were 7,748 Swift and Swift Sport models sold, but up until November 2018 the sales were up by 31 per cent and easily topping the 10,000 mark.
And after a few months of living with the charismatic Swift, it’s very easy to appreciate its full appeal. I tested out the range-topping SZ5 model powered by a 1.2-litre 90PS Dualjet petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. The vehicle is very competitively priced at £16,499 although the dual tone paintwork added an extra £650 to the cost. When it comes to performance figures and running costs, the Swift can reach 62mph from a standing start in a respectable 12.6 seconds and maxes out at 105mph. And according to official figures, it can deliver combined fuel economy of 62.5mpg with carbon emissions of 101g/km.
The third generation Swift has a fresh new look. It is wider and lower than its predecessor so looks sportier and more dynamic in its appearance and it has also shed some pounds weighing in 120kg lighter. And when you factor in that it’s 20 per cent more powerful, 15 per cent faster sprinting from 0 to 62mph and it has 10 per cent lower carbon emissions, it’s pretty clear Suzuki means business in the supermini sector with this car.
The dimensional changes have also resulted in a more practical car with additional space within the cabin along with increased storage limits. When questioned, previous Swift owners said they wanted more boot space and, as a result, the Suzuki engineers and designers have waved their magic wands and granted that wish. New Swift can accommodate an additional 54 litres making its boot capacity 265 litres, but if you drop the 60:40 split-folding rear seats that limit increases to 579 litres.
And there are a number of handy storage options scattered throughout the car, including a practically-sized glovebox, an upper storage tray with lid, a centre console with storage, three cup holders, door pockets with a designated bottle section and a pocket in the back of the front passenger seat.
Our Swift looked the business from any approach thanks to its grey bodywork and contrasting black roof, rear privacy glass, blacked out A and B pillars, rear door handles that are positioned high and flush to the bodywork, a rear upper spoiler, plus 16-inch alloys.
Step inside and it’s easy to get comfortable with ample seat and steering wheel adjustment. And the extra space means four adults can travel comfortably – add a third rear seat passenger and it gets a little too cosy, but it’s ideal for youngsters.
The cloth seats in the test car were neatly styled and the car is generously equipped with a wealth of techno treats to explore. There is a seven-inch colour touchscreen along with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLinkplus Bluetooth, a navigation system, automatic air conditioning, a DAB radio and a great sound system.
The designers at Suzuki have rather cleverly turned the centre console five degrees towards the driver for ease of use and the instrumentation can be personalised to display a range of data such as driving economy and energy saving figures.
So, the latest Swift looks modern, is packed with creature comforts and has the practical bases covered too, but how well does it perform under test? The answer is very well indeed. Yes, of course there are faster and more dynamic options out there, but few offer such a comprehensive all-round package for such a reasonable asking price.
In busy town centres, the driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility which is vital as the car will often be seen on the dreaded school run with cars, pushchairs, scooters, parents and children darting out from all angles. The swift is also beautifully agile and easy to manoeuvre which makes very light work of parking.
But this isn’t a car that’s restricted to slow town centre driving – it loves to be unleashed on the open road where it is a competent all-round performer. The acceleration is smooth and responsive through the five-speed manual gearbox and there is a constant stream of power on tap from the punchy engine so overtaking poses no issues. The road holding is assured and there is minimal body sway – the perfectly weighted steering is another plus point. Admittedly, you will feel the occasional shudder if you hit an unexpected pothole but generally the suspension does a good job of ironing out the creases.
Another feature worth mentioning on our Swift test car was the mild hybrid technology which is called SHVS (it stands for Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki). The vehicle has a small battery along with a motor generator combination that recovers energy when decelerating. This improves economy, lowers emissions and helps with performance generally.
When it comes to safety our SZ5 model, with lots of additional driver aids as standard, scores a four-star rating from Euro NCAP and features the likes of lane keep assist, hill-hold control, high beam assist and six airbags. It also boasted Allgrip which is Suzuki’s four-wheel-drive traction control system that keeps you moving during more adverse driving conditions.
All in all, the Suzuki Swift is a fabulous supermini that is great fun to drive and, after clocking up something in the region of 1,800 miles, I was finding it very easy to live with indeed.
Suzuki Swift third generation (2017) – first drive
The fiercely-competitive supermini segment which accounts for the largest number of UK sales is about to get a mighty shake up with the arrival of the all-new third generation Suzuki Swift.
The five-door Swift is already Suzuki’s best-selling vehicle in the UK and the new more aggressively and dynamically styled car is guaranteed to turn heads. It is very competitively priced from just £10,999 and is powered by two petrol engines – a 1.2 Dualjet or a fiery three-cylinder 1.0-litre Boosterjet. In addition, there is the option of hybrid technology, a choice of manual or CVT gearboxes and even an ALLGRIP 4WD system.
The Suzuki design team has been incredibly clever in that the new Swift is actually smaller in its dimensions than the outgoing model, yet there is more interior space and, more importantly, a bigger boot area which has been increased by 54 litres to a capacity of 265 litres. This was the main area of complaint amongst existing customers, so that’s one box ticked then.
The car is wider and lower so looks more dynamic in its appearance. And the new Swift is 120kg lighter, 20 per cent more powerful, 15 per cent faster sprinting from 0 to 62mph and it has 10 per cent lower carbon emissions.
It boasts a dynamic looking stance thanks to strong muscular shoulder lines, blacked out pillars that create a floating roof effect, integrated rear door handles that help convey a sportier appearance, LED headlights and smart rear lights set in distinctive cube shapes.
The interior is fresh and more upmarket than the older model with a new connectivity system that features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with MirrorLink. The centre console has been turned five degrees towards the driver and the instrumentation can be personalised to display a range of data from driving economy to power distribution and energy saving stats. Every model is fitted with Bluetooth connectivity and a DAB radio as standard.
Buyers can select from three richly-equipped trim levels called SZ3, SZ-T (which is expected to account for 40 to 50 per cent of sales) and SZ5. In addition, a number of extra personalisation options such as coloured alloy and grille inserts are available via dealerships.
The Swift also features a raft of safety measures. It is built on a new lightweight but ultra-strong platform that has helped the car shed the pounds without compromising on safety. Then as you move up through the range additional kit is introduced such as lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam, automatic emergency braking and an advanced forward detection system that uses laser and camera based technology.
I had the opportunity to test the new Swift on a range of tantalising, twisting roads in the heart of the Peak District and it didn’t disappoint one little bit.
The three cars that were put through their paces were the 1.0-litre 111PS models mated to a five-speed manual and an automatic gearbox. They were both in top-of-the-range SZ5 trim grade and both cars were an absolute dream to drive. The auto version was priced at £16,334 and could reach 62mph from a standing start in 10.0 seconds, maxed out at 118mph and could deliver combined fuel economy of 56.5mpg with carbon emissions of 114g/km. The manual version was slightly cheaper at £14,984, sprinted from 0-62mph in 10.6 seconds, topped out at 121mph and could achieve 65.7mpg with CO2 emissions of 97g/km on a combined run.
Long gone are the days when three-pot engines scream and shriek in pain when pushed hard. These days the modern powertrains are super punchy with bags of power on tap. But the other pleasing factor is how well the CVT gearbox performed on the Swift. Even when driven with a heavy right boot, it whizzed along at quite a click and skipped up steep, twisting inclines with ease.
The road-holding was nicely confident and the steering proved light and precise. A little road surface and engine noise did filter through into the cabin at times, but it was only really noticeable when the sound system was turned off.
The driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility and the car can easily accommodate four six footers with plenty of leg, head and shoulder space in the back.
We also tested the 1.2-litre 90PS four cylinder model again in SZ5 grade costing £16,149. This model featured Suzuki’s smart hybrid system along with the ALLGRIP all-wheel drive capabilities. It could reach from 0-62mph in 12.6 seconds with a top speed of 105mph. And according to official figures this Swift can deliver combined fuel efficiency of 62.8mpg with emissions of 101g/km.
Once again, the car was a great little performer, although it was nowhere near as sharp or responsive as the 1.0-litre models. The acceleration was good through the five-speed manual gearbox, but we did have to change down quite a lot to keep up momentum through steeper hills.
In all honesty, the budding Swift customer will no doubt have a check list of ‘must haves’ when approaching the showroom and those factors will determine their model choice. But for me the little three cylinder cars were the pick of the bunch.
New Swift will be in showrooms from June 1 and Suzuki has clear sales targets in mind. Competing directly against the likes of the SEAT Ibiza and Skoda Fabia, the Japanese company is hoping to sell 20,000 Swift models in its first year. And after our test drive, those figures are certainly achievable.
Suzuki Swift Sport and 4×4
Suzuki may be a brand that people previously associated with motorbikes and boat engines, but make no mistake, it is a company with a rapidly increasing reputation in the car industry and sales figures across Europe reflect that.
The model range is increasing and buyers are certainly sitting up and taking notice. So are other manufacturers if they have any sense.
That’s because Suzuki is one of the fastest growing brands in its sector, according to its product and planning manager, Ed Norman.
And now Suzuki has taken one of its most established models – the Swift – which was first introduced back in 1984 and expanded its line-up to include a five-door Sport and a 4×4 model.
The company has listened to feedback from existing customers and acted upon it.
As a result, the new five-door Sport has a few design tweaks such as a new bumper and front grille, improved seat fabrics throughout and the option of daytime running lights.
And with special offers available at dealerships until the end of September 2013, the entry SZ2 model can be snapped up for as little as £8,999.
The new 4×4 model priced from £11,516 gets the “off-road” look with the addition of front and rear skid plates, black wheel arches and black side skirts.
But there has been very little compromise on performance because just 65kg has been added to the car’s weight meaning that combined fuel efficiency has only been reduced by 5mpg and remains a very respectable 51.3mpg.
So the new Swift model boasts eye-catching good looks with well-defined features. They both possess a range of built-in creature comforts and techno treats and deliver excellent all-round practicality and flexibility. But how do they perform on a road test?
The first model to be put through its paces was the 4×4 model in top-of-the-range SZ4 trim level. With its 1.2 petrol engine, carbon emissions are 126g/km and the combined fuel efficiency is 51.3mpg.
It has a 0-62mph sprint time of 13.4 seconds, a top speed of 103mph and is on offer at £13,116 until the end of September. After that it will cost £15,739.
The 4×4 system is fully automatic and kicks in as and when required so owners need not worry about when or how it should be activated. Although it’s not exactly a hard core off-roader, it is capable of offering plenty of grip on grass and gravel surfaces and will add plenty of peace of mind to anyone living in more remote areas.
The interior is comfortable and well laid out and despite the fact the boot is the smallest in class; it is certainly adequately-sized for weekly shopping runs.
Should larger items need transporting the Swift features split-folding rear seats to increase the storage capacity.
There is room for back seat passengers, but with the front seats pushed back it can be a bit of a squeeze for taller passengers. However, with the seats forward there is ample leg room.
Next up was the striking new five-door Sport with its 1.6-litre petrol engine priced at £14,249.
It can sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 8.7 seconds and tops out at 121mph.
It can achieve a combined fuel efficiency of 44.1mpg and has carbon emissions of 147g/km.
Once again, this particular Swift handled beautifully and the additional power was a real bonus as the car easily attacked and conquered steep winding inclines.
Another plus factor is that the Swift range boasts excellent safety ratings from Euro NCAP.
It is clear to see why Suzuki bosses are so confident that these new additions to the range will prove so successful.
Ed Norman added: “The Swift is fun to drive, has stand-out design, best in class safety and affordable running costs.”
Clearly it’s those types of accolades that attract many buyers these days