Suzuki Swift: road test

Posted on May 24th, 2017 by James Luckhurst

Good to drive, roomier than the old Swift and fair value for money.

Suzuki Swift: road test

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What is it?
The third generation of an unassuming but agreeably competent hatchback with slick looks and tidy manners. A five-door model that hides the rear handles to look like a three-door.

How safe is it?
The new Swift has yet to undergo Euro NCAP testing, but it’s expected to perform well and follow the form set by its 2010 predecessor, which was awarded five stars with high scores.

Who should buy one?
A budget-minded driver who wants a decently engineered and well equipped car for reasonable money and who isn’t bothered about having a show-off badge on it.

Road test by Sue Baker 24 May 2017

 

 

DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
Suzuki Swift: road test
Suzuki has done a good job in making this a car you enjoy driving. The star of the range is the 1.0-litre Boosterjet three-cylinder petrol that has peppy performance and a distinctive engine note (there’s also a 1.2). It has good power delivery, quite perky acceleration and cruises comfortably at motorway pace. There’s a sporty edge to the way the car drives, which is something Suzuki says its engineers tried hard to achieve.
They succeeded. It’s more fun behind the wheel than some rivals, even coming quite close to the verve and precision of a class-leading Ford Fiesta. Refinement is generally quite good too. You’re aware of the noise the engine makes when it’s working hard, but that’s really no complaint because of the rather pleasing sound it makes.
The engine’s output is 109bhp, which is ample for powering a car weighing just under a tonne, so the performance figures are respectable for a car of this type. The 121mph top speed is rather academic, apart from knowing how much reserve is in hand at a legal UK motorway pace. The 0-62mph acceleration time of 10.6 seconds is not especially rapid, but it actually feels zestier.
The manual gearbox is only a five-speed, but it’s very slick and likeable to use, with good judgement in the spacing between ratios. There’s a light and precise feel to the steering, which is quite nicely judged and decently communicative. So the tactile quality of the car from a driver’s viewpoint is pretty pleasing, especially so for a relatively modestly priced smallish hatchback.
Show the Swift a twisty country road, and it feels in its element, relishing the bends and making light work of despatching them into the rear-view mirror. Body roll is very modest, and handling has a secure feel with grippy road-holding. The car rides pretty well too, although it does jar a little bit over some of the sharper potholes, but no more so than any of its similar-wheelbase rivals.

SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
Suzuki Swift: road test

This new-generation Swift has a new under-structure, based on the same platform as the Suzuki Ignis and Baleno. Its overall length is fractionally shorter, but it has a slightly longer wheelbase, meaning that the wheels are a bit further out to the corners and extra space has been created inside the cabin. It is also 4cm wider and a whisker lower.
Inside, the seats have been set a bit closer to the floor, and the combined result of all these changes and a repackaged interior means that there is slightly more legroom, headroom and elbow space than in the previous Swift. It’s snug in the back, but no more than you’d expect for its overall dimensions.
The boot has gone up in size: at 264 litres it has grown by 54 litres, but that’s still not quite up to par with the best of its rivals and it has a relatively high edge over which you need to lift any heavy objects you load into it.

SAFETY
Suzuki Swift: road test

Six airbags are standard, as is electronic stability control. There’s also Total Effective Control Technology (TECT), based on collapsible structures and energy absorption. Top-spec SZ5 models are the first Suzukis to have an advanced forward detection system that combines a monocular camera and a laser sensor, with autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning.

EQUIPMENT
Suzuki Swift: road test
Standard kit includes air-con, DAB radio, privacy glass, daytime running lights and Bluetooth connectivity. Mid-range SZ-T cars come with a trendy smartphone link display audio system, rear-view camera, front fogs and 16-inch alloys. The SZ5 has standard navigation, auto aircon, LED headlamps, electric rear windows as well as front ones, adaptive cruise control and automatic brake support.

COSTS

Suzuki Swift: road test

Compared with some of its rivals, the Swift looks good value, with a mooted price range from around £10,250 to £14,500 when it arrives this summer. Depending on engine choice, the CO2 output is from 98 to 114g/km, with combined fuel figures varying from 56.5 to 65.7mpg. The most fuel efficient model is the Boosterjet manual, the least is the Boosterjet auto.

Cash or finance?
For those with available funds, an outright purchase makes sense with this able supermini.
Best deals?
Suzuki’s own contract purchase deal is tempting with a £1000 deposit and 35 months of payments around £170. You’ll need a final sum of £4500 to own the car. If you pay cash up front, AutoeBid can offer a £528 saving on the list price.
What’s it worth when I change?
More than you’d think and the most popular 1.2 Dualjet SZ3 will retain 41 percent of its value after three years and 60,000 miles.

WE SAY
Good to drive, roomier than the old Swift and fair value for money.

AT A GLANCE:
Price: £10,999
Performance: 0-62mph in 10.6 seconds
Economy: 61.4mpg combined
Insurance: TBA
Tax: £160 first year, then £160 standard

Figures for 2.0 TDI 190PS DSG L&K