The Suzuki Swift has been firm favourite on our roads for over a decade now – predominantly due to its affordability and reliability, this all-new model carries over all of what made the old car such a huge success.
Combined with good looks and a somewhat athletic driving experience, this latest super-mini from Japan has become a little more rounded at the edges with a more squashed down front-end and a bum-lift around the rear.
Coming this time, in five-door only, I guess Suzuki have studied the market for long enough to realise the mass-market has demanded the extra doors for long enough now, that it doesn’t make sense designing and producing a three-door model anymore.
Five-door it may be, but this new Suzuki Swift is an attractive looking city slicker featuring LED daytime running lights and alloy wheels as standard across the range alongside key-less entry and rear door-handle positioning so not to highlight the extra two doors.
The rear handles are disguised in a panel at the upper part of the door, closest to the C-Pillar, similar in design to Toyota’s C-HR and it works well as a design – in a sense though, this five-door car retracts from the super-handling, simply-designed three-door Swift that many of us fell in love with years ago – be it in Sport guise back then in all fairness.
Having one of the smaller boots in this segment, the Swift will struggle with a very young family, for a small family with teenagers though, I imagine it should tick all the boxes – unless the kids need to carry hockey net-keeper kit or other such space-absorbing things.
Inside – the Swift is, as expected from the super-affordable Japanese maker, functional and hard wearing but well put together, a bit cheaper feeling than some rivals as reflected in pricing but not a bad place to be at all.
Offering more room inside than ever before with a lower seating position, the cabin feels relatively spacious with decent support on offer from the seats and a comfortable driving position. Even with four, well-built adults on-board, it doesn’t get claustrophobic though a long journey may start to get uncomfortable for all.
From the entry SZ3 model which starts from £11,999 you get all the kit you demand with LED daytime running lights, DAB radio and Bluetooth, Air conditioning, a leather steering wheel, front electric windows and rear privacy glass.
An SZ-T model starting from £13,999 adds a rear view camera and Smartphone link display audio as well as 16” alloy wheels and front fog lamps – I anticipate this to be the most popular model when ordering.
Finally – the range topping SZ5 receives dual sensor brake control, sat nav, automatic air con, LED rear lights and LED front lights with high beam assist along with adaptive cruise control, keyless entry, electrically folding mirrors and rear electric windows – the SZ5 is available from £15,499.
Engine wise, two options are on offer with varying gearbox and drive-train options, trim level dependant – firstly a 1.2L four-cylinder petrol ‘Dualjet’ producing 88bhp with 88lb/ft is available only with a five-speed manual ‘box and either front-wheel-drive or equipped with Suzuki’s SHVS hybrid system and ALLgrip four-wheel-drive system.
The other option is a potent little 1.0L three-cylinder turbocharged petrol ‘Boosterjet’ engine which produces 109bhp and 125lb/ft and comes only with a front-wheel-drive option but can be paired with a five-speed manual ‘box, with or without SHVS or a six-speed auto ‘box.
Expect 0-62mph times of around 12 seconds for the Dualjet with something of around 10 seconds in the Boosterjet – both engines claim to have a combined economy of around 60mpg or upwards.
I imagine the non-SHVS Dualjet engine to be a bit monotonous but having tested the hybrid equipped Dualjet in a previous car, I know it certainly helps the engine come alive a little however the Boosterjet is the engine to go for in my eyes.
For what it is, the Boosterjet packs plenty of punch, yet copes with long motorway runs with absolute ease considering its low capacity – helped partly by the fact that the new Swift weighs in less than the previous model.
An affordable power-train that’s great all-round – in this instance mated to Suzuki’s automatic gearbox – a ‘box that is surprisingly smooth and efficient on everything but the most urgent of drives along a tight and twisty country road.
Handling of the new Swift is as predictable as ever and thankfully so, as it is impeccable handling that the Swift is well-known for and compared to the likes of Skoda’s Fabia, Hyundai’s i20 or Mazda’s 2 the Suzuki will out-drive them all.
Firm it may be you would imagine, but there is a perfect balance of comfort and agility and it doesn’t feel one bit firm at all, more confident and precise if I am honest and for what it is [a super-mini with a teeny engine] can actually be rewarding to drive.
If models from other manufacturers don’t tickle your fancy and Suzuki’s Celerio and Ignis are just a little too small, then the Swift is a highly reliable option within reach and worth a look, once driven you will not be disappointed and i for one cannot wait for the launch of the Swift Sport model if this is anything to go by.
The model tested with minimal options comes in at £17,334 with emissions of 114g/km equating to £140/year for road tax and I see there is 0%APR and no deposit deals on the Swift at present along with a three-year or 60,000 mile warranty.
Words and Photos: Graham Curry
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