The list price of $17,490 has been sweetened until the end of July with a $16,990 driveaway deal (excluding northern NSW and Qld where there’s a different importer). That’s hard to counter and gives the Suzuki a temporary edge over the newer Clio. Servicing is every six months/10,000km at $199 a visit for the first five years.
Boot space and rear legroom is a limited by the short size of the Swift. Offsetting the lack of space is the ease of parking — a 9.4m turning circle makes this the choice for tight inner-city streets. The Bluetooth connectivity is clunky and the overall impression of the interior is it’s a generation behind the leaders. Despite the basic plastics the build quality looks and feels good. Satnav is standard but, much like the Clio, there’s no reversing camera or parking sensors.
The Swift’s 70kW/130Nm 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine is a willing performer that needs to be worked. Good thing, then, that the five-speed manual is a sweetshifting unit. The low-down response is mildly asthmatic, exaggerated as the number of occupants rises. Official fuel use is a claimed 5.5L/100km.
Seven airbags are standard on the Swift backed by a solid chassis to help the little hatch earn a five-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in 2011. The rear brakes are drums rather than discs but the same applies to the Clio.
Direct steering, a nimble chassis and a rorty little engine makes the Swift a fun car to pilot. A firm-ish suspension tune adds to the entertainment but makes the Swift feel busy on rippled roads.