Swift 1.2 Dualjet SHVS 4WD SZ5
the years Suzukis Swift has
established a large fan base, selling
5.4 million since 2005, and in June
this year the all-new next-generation
model arrived on British shores at
prices kicking off from just £11K...
THE JAPANESE CARMAKER is well respected for its clever pairing of small
cars and four-wheel drive, and this latest five-door hatchback will happily
tangle with the best superminis from Ford (Fiesta), Vauxhall (Corsa), and Volkswagen
(Polo). Three trim levels are on offer, along with a brace of petrol-only engines
(1.0-litre three-cylinder or four-pot 1.2).
We've been driving the non-turboed 88bhp 1.2-litre Dualjet fitted with Suzuki's
mild hybrid power booster system); as tested, it also comes with Suzuki's 4WD
system and is rowed along by a five-speed manual 'box. The alternative is the
turbocharged 1.0-litre Boosterjet unit that produces 109bhp from just three
This newly-minted Swift uses a lightweight new platform that's already underpinning
two other recently-launched Suzuki models: the Baleno and Ignis. A major benefit
of this new set-up is that these next-gen Swifts tip the scales at some 100kg
less than their predecessors, helping to make them 19% more powerful and at
the same time 8% more fuel efficient.
the new Swift is a smidgen shorter, measuring an easy-to-park 3,840mm from nose
to tail, yet it manages to inject more millimetres into its wheelbase; consequently
there's more cabin space as well as a significantly larger boot.
the 4WD Swift
claims a 62.8mpg
Combined Cycle figure,
making it hardly any
thirstier than the 65.7mpg
A punishing week in our
hands saw an overall
average of 54.3mpg
and wed expect most
real-world drivers to do
better than us!
Although it's a fresh design, the family resemblance persists in the wraparound
windscreen, wheel-at-each-corner stance, flared flat-cut wheelarches and short
overhangs front and rear.
Fronted by a more upright almost SUV-like nose with a wide and
aggressive grille, the well-grounded Swift features a gently rising waistline
that flows back to meet the pronounced shoulders and sloping 'floating' roof
a look enhanced by blacked-out pillars and pillar-mounted rear door handles.
Open the driver's door and you'll find it has something else in common with
the Swifts that have gone before plenty of kit. Equally important, the
cabin is as inviting as its equipment is comprehensive; the seats, nicely shaped
and upholstered in a smart fabric with patterned centre panels, are comfortably
and effectively bolstered with well defined shoulder padding and support, and
come with height-adjustable seatbelts.
Once seated, be you the driver or front passenger, you'll appreciate the ample
space between the front seats as well as the full fist of headroom and decent
legroom. And, around your shoes, spacious footwells. There's driver's seat height
adjustment and visibility out is fine (including rearwards through the full-width
back screen) courtesy of a deep-ish glasshouse.
For the driver the switchgear is all well placed and intuitive, with the engine
Start button close to the wheel on the left-hand fascia. The centre stack, topped
by a large touchscreen, is angled to favour the driver with the three easy-to-adjust
controls for the automatic AirCon set at a safe height. Red glowing outer banding
defines the main pair of dials (with inset mini-dials for fuel and coolant temp)
that are housed in individual nacelles. Contrasting pearlescent white fillets
of trim on the dash and doors inject some sparkle into the cabin's charcoal
grey colour theme.
For the record, Suzuki have also fitted plenty of in-cabin storage including
deep, bottle-holding pockets on all doors, and more than enough spaces for your
takeout coffees as well as mobiles, and a glovebox large enough to hold more
than just gloves.
are well covered too with a seven-inch touchscreen with navigation and 3D mapping
with landmarks that make it even easier to follow your route; smartphone applications
interface via MirrorLink and Android Auto.
behind the wheel are
needed to establish that
this new Swift has lost
none of its verve
at under a tonne its
nippy and agile and it
feels up to speed as
much on the open road
as it does weaving
around the houses...
iPhone users get Apple CarPlay for hands-free calls, and can receive directions
for optimised traffic conditions, and listen to music, access email and and
text messages, etc. Plus there's voice operation for the phone, navigation and
media. Added to that, a DAB radio is fitted (with four speakers and two tweeters),
as also is Bluetooth and those essential USB and Aux ports.
While we're talking kit, 'always wanted' items not already mentioned include
keyless entry and start, rear parking camera, tinted windows and privacy glass,
adaptive cruise control with speed limiter, a 4.2-inch LCD colour driver's multi-information
display, electric windows, on-demand powerfold door mirrors, and a set of polished
There's also a good showing of safety and driver aids leading off with Suzuki's
Advanced Forward Detection System (with camera, laser and radar sensors) that
supports numerous safety technologies including pedestrian protection, lane
departure warning, high beam assist (automatically dips main beams for other
traffic but keeps them high whenever possible to maximise night-time visibility),
and autonomous emergency braking.
Also high on the list is collision-mitigating Dual Sensor Brake Support (DSBS).
With DSBS, if the system determines a risk of collision with a forward obstacle
at vehicle speeds from 3 to 62mph, it issues both an audio and visual warning.
Should the driver then panic brake, brake assist, increases the braking force.
Finally, should a collision be likely, the system will apply full automatic
braking. Other systems and features doing their bit to keep you safe include
an electronic stability program, front, side and curtain airbags, LED headlamps,
daytime running lights, front fog lights, LED rear lights, hill hold, Guide
Me Lights (for safer entering or leaving the car at night), and tyre pressure
But now let's get back to something that earned the previous Swifts their stripes
the driving experience. Setting the scene, and a nice fit in your palms,
is the satin black, leather-wrapped, three-spoke, flat-bottom multifunction
(trip, phone, cruise, speed limiter, audio) steering wheel that hints at some
dynamic entertainment to come.
new Swift's bodyshell is lighter and stiffer and, combined with new suspension,
wider tracks to improve stability during cornering, and a lower and wider stance,
promise some sharp handling.
a slick short-throw
manual box containing
a well spaced set of five
ratios, keeping the Swift
swift is no hardship;
certainly it feels much
pacier than its paper
figures would suggest
and, in fact, pulls heartily
even two-up with a full
load of luggage...
Plus, of course, there's Suzuki's in-house ALLGRIP four-wheel drive system
as before, it's a fully automatic set-up that transfers additional torque to
the rear wheels whenever required.
Not many minutes behind the wheel are needed to establish that this new Swift
has lost none of its verve at under a tonne it's nippy and agile, the
positive steering is light but nicely-weighted, and it feels up to speed as
much on the open road as it does weaving around the houses. And it rides with
a consistently comfortable firmness that, particularly on steady speed runs,
makes quiet, relaxing work of motorway trips.
Turning into corners it feels stable, with well-managed body control; push harder
and the all-wheel drive counteracts understeer to maintain a purposeful line
through. Sudden changes of direction if you're lucky enough to find a
chicane! deliver satisfaction and entertainment in equal measure. There's
no doubt that the ALLGRIP system infuses the Swift with a palpable sense of
confidence so don't spec it purely for the rain and snow. Braking too
is fluent enough not to be noticeable; when you brake you stop without drama.
The SHVS 'power booster' does lot in return for the very minimal extra weight
it adds a mere 6.2kg. Officially known as an Integrated Starter Generator,
it's a combined starter motor-generator. Belt driven for quieter engine restarts,
it saves fuel as it assists the engine during pull away and acceleration using
electricity generated through regenerative braking which is stored in a compact
battery pack under the passenger seat.
The value of its assistance is a handy 36lb ft of torque; enough to usefully
boost engine response from low revs as well as allowing higher gears to be used
at low engine speeds in busy traffic to save fuel.
With a slick, short-throw manual 'box containing a well spaced set of five ratios,
keeping the Swift 'swift' is no hardship; certainly it feels much pacier than
its paper figures would suggest and, in fact, pulls heartily even two-up with
a full load of luggage.
for supermini buyers is a big deal and the Swift doesn't disappoint here either
the SHVS does its bit not just to save fuel but also by contributing
to lower emissions; in the Dualjet's case, of 101g/km. Even so, at the newly-increased
rates this still means a £120 road tax bill for the first year followed by £140
from year two.
is practical for
a supermini, with a
regular-shaped 265 litres
for cases or shopping.
Folded flat the 60:40-split
seatbacks create a
And if you prefer to keep
cargo and bodies
separate, the Swift is
game enough to tow
a braked 1,000kg...
the 4WD Swift claims a 62.8mpg Combined Cycle figure, making it hardly any thirstier
than the two-wheel drive versions that are rated at 65.7mpg. A punishing week
in the hands of MotorBar's testers saw an overall average recorded of
54.3mpg. Bearing in mind that most everyday drivers will do better than us,
few will be muttering about that.
Neither will you hear complaints from your rear passengers, who will enjoy decent
head room, comfy backrest angles and enough knee-room to let them stretch out
their legs. Three is doable although two will enjoy more wriggle room while
taking in the views, which are improved by the back seats being set a hand's-breadth
higher than those in front. For parents, Isofix child seat anchorages and childproof
rear door locks are yet another 'plus'.
Luggage capacity is practical for a supermini, with a regular-shaped 265 litres
for cases or shopping; you have to load stuff in over a deep boot lip, but it's
not a problem. Folded flat (and they do), the 60:40-split seatbacks create a
579-litre loadbay. Of course, you won't always need to open the tailgate because,
being a four-door, the rear seats make easily-accessed areas to sling things.
If you prefer to keep cargo and bodies apart, the Swift is game enough to tow
a braked 1,000kg. And yes, for the predominantly damp British climate, of course
there's a rear wash-wipe.
Well equipped and better priced than a 4x4 crossover the new Swift
is an engaging 4WD supermini with a roomy cabin and smile-inducing economy.
It's also easy to drive and polished enough to make the grade as a satisfying
real-world all-rounder. ~ MotorBar
Suzuki Swift 1.2 Dualjet SHVS 4WD SZ5
Maximum speed: 105mph | 0-62mph: 12.6 seconds | Test Average: 54.3mpg
Power: 88bhp | Torque: 88lb ft | CO2: 101g/km