Review: Suzuki Swift

Review: Suzuki Swift
Review: Suzuki Swift

 

Little Swift looks to take a big step forward with new platform. Does it succeed?

Suzuki felt it was time to revise the Swift – but with so many quality rivals in the class, a quick revamp was never going to be enough. To this end, the company has gone all the way, giving the little hatchback a heavily revised update based on a new lightweight platform borrowed from the latest Baleno and Ignis. Combined with an impressive 120kg weight loss, the slightly shorter and wider wheelbase should result in some sharp new handling characteristics. We try out the Swift on the road.

Suzuki Swift 1.0 Boosterjet SHVS

Price: TBC
Engine: 1.0 turbo petrol
Power: 109bhp
Torque: 125lb ft
0-62mph: 10.6sec
Top speed: 121mph
Fuel economy: 65.7mpg combined
CO2/BIK band: 97g/km/18%

First impressions are that the little Suzuki is fun to throw around twisty roads. It retains the keen handling we’ve always loved it for, and stays flat when cornering, while there’s plenty of weight to the steering. A jiggly ride over rough surfaces is not so good.

Our test Suzuki Swift 1.0 Boosterjet SHVS sported a mild hybrid powertrain, teaming a 109bhp three-pot Boosterjet turbo with a small electric motor and battery. This recovers energy when you’re slowing down, and then redistributes it to augment the turbo’s low-rev delivery. By providing pretty decent shove when you pull away from fairly low in the range, it makes the engine feel bigger, smoother and quieter than 1000cc, and results in decent performance and sensible economy.

The cabin is pretty quiet, despite a little wind and road noise intrusion. Its design and quality are a step up from those of the previous model, but the materials and dark plastics still can’t match the high-quality feel of, say, Skoda’s Fabia.

This SHVS engine is available only in top-spec SZ5 trim, which has a decent amount of equipment – including a dated-feeling infotainment set-up. The cabin has more all-round space than before, and three adults can fit in the back at a push. The luggage area has grown to 265 litres.

We can’t really compare the Swift with the Fabia or Ford Fiesta until Suzuki releases the price. If it’s in the same ballpark, then the model must bow to its superior rivals. However, by undercutting its stronger competitors in true Suzuki style, its fun drive, good handling, high kit levels and lightly different take on things would make it a fine buy.

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