Lean, mean ma­chine

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Keenan

The lat­est Suzuki Swift is well worth the weight. That’s be­cause a new light­weight con­struc­tion sees it shed ex­cess pounds mak­ing it a lean, mean su­per­mini ma­chine.

The up­dated model is a wor­thy suc­ces­sor to its ex­cel­lent pre­de­ces­sor that has helped es­tab­lish Suzuki as a player in the Euro­pean mar­ket.

Slim­ming down gives it agility and the abil­ity to change di­rec­tion with the ac­cu­racy of a jet fighter. The snazzy al­loy wheels main­tain a vice-like grip on the road while body roll is adroitly con­trolled even in the tight­est of cor­ners while the steer­ing is well-weighted and in­for­ma­tive.

The ride is firm but not to the point of pain with most humps and hol­lows ac­com­mo­dated de­spite the rel­a­tively sim­ple sus­pen­sion sys­tem.

Power is pro­vided by two petrol en­gines – an en­try-level 1.2-litre Dual­jet four-cylin­der power unit and the punchy 1.0-litre Boost­er­jet turbo un­der the bon­net of my test car which Suzuki ex­pects most buy­ers to plump for.

That’s not a sur­prise as it de­liv­ers good per­for­mance and great fuel econ­omy – helped by the Ja­panese group’s SHVS mild-hy­brid sys­tem.

The three-pot op­tion pro­duces 110bhp and a 0-62mph time of 10.6 sec­onds. Fuel econ­omy with the mild-hy­brid sys­tem is 65.7mpg com­pared to 61.4mpg with­out, while car­bon diox­ide emis­sions also im­prove from 104g/km to a tax-bust­ing 97g/km.

The SHVS mild-hy­brid unit is based on a lithium-ion bat­tery un­der the front pas­sen­ger seat which gath­ers power from re­gen­er­a­tive brak­ing and uses it to as­sist the en­gine when mov­ing off and ac­cel­er­at­ing.

A five-speed man­ual gear­box is fit­ted as stan­dard and is rea­son­ably slick while an op­tional six-speed au­to­matic avail­able with the non­hy­brid Boost­er­jet en­gine is also avail­able.

The star of the cabin is the sev­eninch colour touch­screen giv­ing ac­cess to the car’s many treats which on the flag­ship SZ5 model I drove in­clude an ef­fi­cient sat nav sys­tem, DAB ra­dio and smart­phone con­nec­tiv­ity as well as au­to­matic air con­di­tion­ing, LED head­lights, and adap­tive cruise con­trol.

Safety equip­ment in­cludes lane de­par­ture warning, au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing and a frankly an­noy­ing front col­li­sion alert that goes off at the drop of a hat.

The in­stru­ments and di­als are funky, mod­ern and most im­por­tantly easy to see and use. Build qual­ity is good with ev­ery­thing well screwed to­gether giv­ing the Swift a sturdy feel.

There are two other trim lev­els avail­able – the well kit­ted out en­try-level SZ3 and the SZ-T which adds good­ies such as a rear view cam­era to the ba­sic model.

The new ex­te­rior de­sign is eye­catch­ing while a larger wheel­base ex­pands the in­te­rior and en­sures a 54-litre in­crease in boot space to 264 litres. Four adults are eas­ily catered for with all but the tallest pas­sen­gers hav­ing plenty of legroom in the rear seats.

A five-door model is the only choice as the three-door ver­sion was ditched by Suzuki – but there are a plethora of ways to per­son­alise the Swift.

Suzuki are tar­get­ing 20,000 sales in the new Swift’s first full year and it seems likely to achieve this goal with prices start­ing from un­der £11,000.

TEST DRIVE SUZUKI SWIFT

Suzuki Swift 1.0 SZ5 SHVS Boost­er­jet £14,449 110bhp, 998cc, 3cyl petrol en­gine driv­ing front wheels via 5-speed man­ual gear­box 121mph 10.6 sec­onds 65.7 9 97g/km 18% 3yrs/60,000 miles

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