Suzuki Swift Review

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It’s no lie that the supermini sector is a very competitive one, and it can be hard to stand out. The new Suzuki Swift doesn’t have such a problem though, thanks to its bold and funky styling. The new model doesn’t look as cheeky as its predecessor – instead it’s more aggressive both in its look and stance. It’s 40mm wider and it’s also 15mm lower, but it’s a little bit shorter (10mm), although the wheelbase is 20mm longer, allowing for more room inside. But measurements aside, what is the new Swift actually like?

Design and Styling

As mentioned, the new Swift is more aggressive, so it has an angry puppy look if you ask me, but I like it. There are choice of 10 colours, some of which are two-tone, but the model tested here is finished in Speedy Blue which is a bit of a silly name if you ask me, but it’s certainly my favourite colour for the new Swift. It’s £485 extra but I personally feel it’s worth it, but if you fancy the two-tone look, you’ll have to pay £650. Privacy glass comes on all models whereas 16″ alloy wheels come standard from the mid-range model upwards.

The inside is a bit of a cheap affair, but that is to be expected as it’s a cheap car. Mind you having said that, the new Swift is £2,000 more than the last model, but on the flip side you get more for your money – I’ll get on to that in a bit though. Back to the interior, one of of the key things you’ll note is the new steering wheel, which is trimmed in leather and features a flat bottom. This is a big plus point for the new Swift, and what’s better still it’s available on every single model.

However, the new steering wheel does not disguise the vast use of hard, scratchy plastics, but the pearl white trims help to break things up. I would however prefer they were colour-coded to the car’s exterior paint, but I’m being pernickety. There are options to personlise the Swift though, so you can change the interior trim if desired. Due to the 8″ touchscreen, there are not a great deal of buttons inside the cabin and the buttons that are there are easy to use and well laid out.

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Equipment

As mentioned earlier, the Swift is more expensive than the car it replaces, but it’s bigger and you get more for your money, especially in the range-topping SZ5 model tested here. Let’s start with the base model SZ3 though; this is priced from £10,999 and includes privacy glass, front electric windows, DAB radio, CD player, Bluetooth and air conditioning. For £2,000 more, you can have the mid-range SZ-T model which adds 16″ alloy wheels, smartphone connectivity, front fog lamps and a rear parking camera.

The SZ5 completes the range, starting from £14,499 and includes satellite navigation, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, keyless entry, adaptive cruise control, LED headlights with high beam assist, LED taillights, climate control, rear electric windows and 16″ polished alloy wheels. Once again Suzuki has served up a car which is able to offer a shedload of features without breaking the bank.

Granted, the Swift is not quite as cheap and cheerful as it used to be, which could potentially make it harder to choose compared to its rivals, but put it this way, the range-topping Ford Fiesta is almost £19,500. So in comparison the new Swift still looks to be a bit of a bargain. All the equipment works well, although like in other Suzuki models the autonomous emergency braking system is a bit panicky, which can be a tad annoying. Yes, it’s a valuable feature to have and it could well save your life, but it just needs to relax a little bit.

5 Stars (5 / 5)

Space and Comfort

The new Swift is wider and features a longer wheelbase, so there is more space inside the cabin, plus the boot has increased by 25% to 265 litres. This is still not class-leading, but it’s a step in the right direction, plus it’s not a million miles away from the new Ford Fiesta. If you more space, you can fold down the 60/40 seats to give you an increased capacity of 579 litres, which is sadly dwarfed by the 1093 litres offered in the Fiesta with its rear seats down.

As the car is now wider, and with a longer wheelbase there is more room inside for passengers as well as luggage. There is plenty of room to be had in the front, but the same cannot be said for the rear I’m afraid, at least for me anyway. With the driver’s seat altered for my 6 foot 2 frame, the rear legroom is most certainly tight. However, if I were sat behind a shorter driver, or if the rear passenger was shorter than it wouldn’t be too much of an issue.

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

What’s It Like To Drive?

In short, rather fun, although there is a caveat with that. The Swift is available with two engines; a naturally aspirated 1.2 litre or a turbocharged three cylinder 1.0 litre, both of which are petrol. The 1.2 is just fine for plodding along in town, but if you want something more dynamic then you have to pick the 1.0 litre Boosterjet engine. It’s available with with a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic – which is actually quite decent – but it’s the former I have to help me get through the gears.

Suzuki Swift Review

Speaking of help, the 1.0 litre Boosterjet engine is helped along by Suzuki’s mild hybrid system, called Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki (SHVS). It’s the same system I tested in the Ignis and although the car cannot be run on electric alone, it still has a worthy purpose. The electric motor will help with fuel economy as well regenerate energy from braking and aiding acceleration. Speaking of which, it’s about time I gave you some performance figures.

The combination of Boosterjet and SHVS is able to get the lightweight Swift to 62mph in 10.3 seconds – it feels faster than that in practice – and the top speed is 121mph. You will find faster acceleration with the auto although the top speed is a tad slower. Predictably, the 1.2 is slower, although if desired, you can opt to have all wheel drive with this unit, not that I imagine many buyers will want or need this.

Suzuki Swift Review

Out on the open the road the 1.0 litre Boosterjet engine does the job rather nicely, as does the 5-speed manual, which provides changes that are precise enough although the cheap feel of the gear lever does let it down a tad. The ride isn’t much good either; it’s firm and lumpy on anything but a completely smooth surface, plus it will skip over the tarmac in some corners. Fear not though, as there is plenty to like about the car, and it’s good fun to drive.

The Boosterjet engine really makes the car come alive and I’d recommend it over the NA 1.2 unit anyway, and the car is good fun in the bends. The body roll is there, but controlled, and despite running on eco tyres, the grip was pretty good as well. The steering is light at low speeds which is fine for going about a car park, but thankfully it does become heavier with speed. It’s pretty direct and the new steering wheel fits in the hand nicely, plus it feels sporty thanks to its flat bottom.

Suzuki Swift Review

The car is likely to spend its time in and around town centres but I took it on some relatively long motorway trips and it did pretty well. There is definitely a fair bit of tyre roar, although the wind noise wasn’t quite as bad as I expected. The seats are also comfortable enough, meaning you won’t have to seek out a service station in a hurry just to get some respite. One feature that is most welcome for longer journey is the adaptive cruise control. Using a radar at the front, it’s able to sense if there is a car in front of you and then speed or slow down to maintain a set distance.

Granted, it’s not very groundbreaking, but on a car of this price, it does feel like a bit of a revelation. There is also lane departure warning fitted to this range-topping model as well as the autonomous emergency braking, but as with other Suzuki models I’ve tested, it’s a bit too panicky for my liking and it can become a tad annoying. Yes, I know it’s there to potentially save my life, but it just needs to calm down a little. Give a bubble bath with some scented candles and Michael Buble playing in the background perhaps.

The Swift is not a perfect car to drive, but it’s certainly a fun one.

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Fuel Economy

This is another area where the Swift does well, whether you pick the naturally aspirated unit or the turbocharged 1.0 litre unit. The automatic gearbox does bring things down though as they offers a combined figure of 56.5mpg whilst the other setups are 60 or above. The Boosterjet with the SHVS is the star pupil though; that’s able to eek out a combined figure of 65.7mpg and in my experience I was getting high 50s/low 60s.

Suzuki Swift Review
The Swift is certainly a frugal car

In regards to CO2, 97g/km will come out the back of this Swift, which will cost you £120 for the first year of VED and then of course it will cost you £140 for each year thereafter. At the other end of the spectrum, the least green Swift is the automatic version of the 1.0 litre petrol, this emits a less polar bear friendly 114g/km, meaning that for the first year of VED you’ll be paying £160 for the first year and then £140 for each year thereafter.

5 Stars (5 / 5)

Verdict

There is definitely a lot to like about the new Suzuki Swift. It looks great, it’s good value for money and it’s enjoyable to drive. Yes, it may not be as refined or composed as a car such as the Ford Fiesta, but let’s not forget you will need to pay for money for one. The Swift certainly holds its own though and I think it’s fair to say that Suzuki has done a very decent job with the new Swift.

Suzuki Swift Review

Car Obsession Rating 4.0 Stars (4.0 / 5)

Pros:

  • Sharp looks
  • Nippy engine
  • Good value for money
  • Enjoyable to drive
  • Frugal

Cons:

  • Firm ride
  • Cheap interior
  • Tight legroom in rear

Rivals

Ford Fiesta

This is a car that has already been mentioned a fair bit in this review, but this is because this is the car to beat. It’s been the best-selling car in this country for almost a decade, so it’s natural to use this as a yardstick. The Fiesta is more composed and refined to drive, but you will have to pay more for it.

Vauxhall Corsa

The Corsa is another hatchback in the UK that is very popular, so again the Swift is going to have its work cut out if it’s going to prize people away from said car. Like the Swift, the Corsa is engaging to drive and offers a decent 1.0 litre engine, but reviewers have marked it down for its firm ride and its weak non-turbo engines.

Kia Rio ReviewKia Rio

I tested the Kia Rio a while back and that was indeed a decent car, although it wasn’t anything to write home about. It’s a stylish car that offers a decent sized boot with a fizzy 1.0 litre engine, but it’s economy is average and the car itself is not out of this world to drive. It’s also on the expensive side depending on what trim level you go for.

 

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