LAST WORD

Torque (Singapore) - - GROUP TEST -

The new Suzuki Swift is a good choice for any­one who en­joys driv­ing. Key to its com­pelling per­for­mance are the light­weight chas­sis and punchy driv­e­train, which fea­tures a tur­bocharged 1-litre 3-cylin­der en­gine paired to a 6-speed au­to­matic.

The Swift is also roomier and more prac­ti­cal than be­fore, al­though its back­seat space still loses out to its two ri­vals in this story.

Big boys who love to soup up their small toys would find that the Swift prob­a­bly has the most po­ten­tial for mod­i­fi­ca­tion. More sig­nif­i­cantly, with a list price of $78,704, it is the most af­ford­able of the three con­tenders.

The Honda Jazz RS is a ter­rific all-rounder. It may not be the sex­i­est or the sporti­est hatch­back here, but in ev­ery other re­spect it ei­ther beats or matches its key com­peti­tors.

The Jazz’s strong­est points are its im­pres­sive roomi­ness and in­cred­i­ble ver­sa­til­ity. If th­ese are your top pri­or­i­ties when shop­ping for a new su­per­mini, then the Honda hatch should be your first choice.

This jazzy num­ber, how­ever, could do with a more re­fined cabin which is less prone to wind noise on the high­way, and a qui­eter trans­mis­sion.

The big­gest ob­sta­cle to Jazz own­er­ship is the pric­ing. Listed at just un­der $98k, it is sig­nif­i­cantly more ex­pen­sive than the other two cars.

The Mazda 2 isn’t the most pow­er­ful and doesn’t have the roomi­est in­te­rior. But it has the best com­bi­na­tion of per­for­mance, han­dling and re­fine­ment in the con­text of this com­par­i­son test.

The Mazda 2’s cabin is both well-built and well-in­su­lated, mak­ing it a sur­pris­ingly pleas­ant ex­press­way cruiser. The 2 is also ahead of its two ri­vals in terms of drive­abil­ity, of­fer­ing the most re­spon­sive mo­tor and smoothest gear­box.

All in all, this Ja­panese su­per­mini is su­per con­vinc­ing. Too bad the Mazda’s $90k ask­ing price is closer to the Honda Jazz than to the Suzuki Swift.

Mazda 2 key (left) is the long­est and least pocket-friendly; Swift’s de­vice (mid­dle) is the light­est, but its lit­tle but­tons can be tricky to press; Jazz’s fob (right) feels the stur­di­est and its rel­a­tively big but­tons have the clear­est mark­ings.

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