The supermini market is one of the most competitive segments in the UK and is flooded with all manner of small runabouts from premium offerings like the Audi A1, through to the quirky, like the Fiat 500 and BMW MINI. But if it’s capable and affordable you’re after, then you don’t need to look any further than this, the Suzuki Swift.
ON THE ROAD
There’s a choice of two engines a 1.2-litre four cylinder Dualjet which is an evolution of the one used in the last gen Swift, or a 1.0-litre three cylinder Boosterjet both of these engines work by themselves or with Suzuki’s SHVS mild-hybrid system.
The SHVS system or Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki – adds a small battery and a combined motor/generator that can recover energy when you decelerate and increase pulling power from low engine speeds. In essence, it’s not a full hybrid, and won’t run on electric power alone, it simply assists on acceleration and makes the engine feel like a much bigger unit. It also means improved economy and emissions.
The Swift isn’t thirsty, even the least economical automatic will return a combined figure of 56.5 mpg and 114g/km co2. The manual boosterjet with the SHVS system will average 65.7mpg and 97g/km CO2 which is around 4mpg and 7g/km of CO2 better than the non smart hybrid versions. For anyone wanting even more grip though, there’s a 4×4 version.
Overall, driving the Swift is a pleasant experience, the handling is excellent and the steering is nicely weighted. It’s just a shame that the ride is a little firm, especially around town, where it really struggles to deal with bumps and potholes.
IN THE CABIN
Suzuki’s of old have always had a whiff of the budget about them, especially when parked alongside more mainstream rivals. The latest model though is much improved. Its design is neat and functional. It also feels well nailed together, however, it still lacks any sort of sparkle that you get from the likes of a Fiat 500 or Mini. Plus some of those hard plastics are still here too, albeit not as overbearing as before.
Visibility is good thanks to thin pillars and there’s plenty of oddment space around the cabin plus there’s a good level of seat and steering adjustment.
Entry level models are equipped with DAB and Bluetooth, but if you want an infotainment system you’ll have to look a mid-spec and above. That means a seven inch touchscreen which incorporates android auto and apple carplay. The higher spec SZ5 adds sat nav, but really it’s not worth the extra expense as its slow to respond and not that intuitive to use.
The Swift isn’t bad when it comes to space either. There’s room for two adults upfront with a couple more in the back – providing they’re not over six foot. The boot is also a respectable size, ok it may not be the best in class offering 264 litres with the rear seats in place, which is less than the Ford Fiesta (290 litres) and Kia Rio (325 litres), but it can be extended thanks to 60;40 split folding seats.
The Swift isn’t really a direct rival for the likes of the Ford Fiesta, VW Polo or Vauxhall Corsa, that’s not to say anyone thinking of these shouldn’t consider the Suzuki. It’s offers good levels of performance and economy and handles remarkably well. It’s just a shame that it’s not as refined as some of the competition and some of the plastics do have a whiff of cheapness to them.