Lean, mean machine
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