Euro-spec model has so much more to offer
There is always talk about the difference between models sold in SA and those in Europe and it’s definitely a conversation that needs to be had when it comes to the latest Swift. Just weeks after driving the SA-spec model, I drove the Euro-spec version in the UK.
First, there is a big difference in safety. The SA model is built by Maruti Suzuki in India and while it has two airbags, ABS, EBD and brake assist, it fared poorly in recent crash tests, scoring only two stars.
The Euro version is different, with a stronger body structure and a raft of additional safety features including more airbags, electronic stability control and driver assistance systems. These included lane departure warning, blind spot assist and even adaptive cruise control.
It’s not just about safety either because we tested the 1.0l Boosterjet mild hybrid with outputs of 83kW and 170Nm, with a 195km/h top speed and 0-100km/h sprint of 10.6 seconds. We drove this one for a week around the south of England and it proved to be a responsive and nimble machine, cruising well on the highways and darting around back roads with ease.
It had a great manual gearbox which, like the Swift in SA, showed that engineers have successfully injected the Swift with a bit of driver enjoyment. There are other specification items that are different too such as alloy wheels and more functionality to the infotainment system.
It’s impossible to compare pricing given import duties, taxes and so on but at £5,999 it’s right up against the Volkswagen Polo, while in SA Suzuki has chosen to bring its Swift down to a level where it can compete with models like the Renault Kwid and Polo Vivo.
It’s a pity because the Swift available overseas offers more. Yes you have to pay more, but given how much people are willing to pay for a Polo or an overpriced Toyota Yaris, Suzuki definitely has extra to offer.