Swift by name; swift by nature.
In automotive terms, it has taken just 12 years and five million sales worldwide for the Suzuki Swift to become something of an icon in the light-car segment.
From the road up, the development team went to work, introducing a new-generation platform and engineering a completely new chassis, body structure and powertrain.
The new Swift comes to Australia in four variants, with the entry-level Swift GL 1.2 manual selling for $16,990 drive-away, adding a CVT for $1000, a Safety Pack for a further $1200, and topping off the range with the Swift GLX 1.0 Turbo automatic at $22,990.
I spent time with the Swift 1.0 GLX Turbo auto in Mineral Grey with Super Black roof.
Suzuki designers and engineers were told to go to work on the Swift from the road up, making use of the latest structural techniques, automotive technology and modern looks without straying from traditional Swift characteristics.
In keeping with the modern small passenger car, the Swift has taken on a more assertive look, especially up front with a wide open radiator and lower bumper grille making a more aggressive statement.
Fenders add more muscle to a lower and wider stance, while blacked out pillars give the impression of a floating roof and lower centre of gravity.
Rear door handles “hidden” in the C-pillar again follow the modern design trend without taking too much away for the Swift character.
Our GLX Turbo rides on 16-inch polished alloy wheels with low rolling resistance in keeping with its sporty nature.
One way the Swift goes against the segment trend is the fact it is shorter than the previous model, while at the same time adding 20mm to the wheelbase, opening up the cabin space.
In keeping with a lower overall vehicle height, lowering the seating maintains adequate head room and added lateral space for the rear seats.
The front seats have been separated by a further 10mm, creating more room between driver and passenger.
At 50mm longer, the new Swift has a reasonable 242 litres of luggage space, 32 litres more than the previous model.
A seven-inch four-zone touch screen, situated at driver’s eye level on the central dashboard, enables easy access to audio and video playback and hands-free phone and navigation.
Thanks to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the driver can also connect a smartphone. The 1.0 Boosterjet engine makes use of direct injection and turbocharging to give it performance and fuel consumption better than you would expect of its 998 cc capacity.
The GLX Turbo has the engine mated with a six-speed automatic transmission incorporating an integrated cooler to improve fluid cooling.
As well as six airbags, LED headlamps and daytime running lights, the Swift 1.0 GLX Turbo boasts a suite of safety measures rare in a vehicle in the light passenger segment. This includes Suzuki’s first application of a forward detection system which uses a camera and laser attached to the windscreen to look out for and warn, through the multi-information display on the dash of potential trouble ahead.
Collision mitigation is in the hands of anti-skid braking with brake assist and emergency brakeforce distribution. Warning systems such as lane departure warning, weaving alert, adaptive cruise control and high beam assist keep inattentive drivers alive.
On our time together, the Swift 1.0 Turbo recorded fuel consumption of up to 5.8 litres/100km on a mix of city and country driving.
Suzuki has put a lot of effort into keeping up the Swift market momentum.
Suzuki Swift’s rear-door handles are ‘hidden’ in the C-pillar.