Suzuki Swift 1.2ltr SHVS ALLGRIP

What is it?

Now in its third incarnation Suzuki’s supermini is more popular than ever, and there’s a good reason for that.

The new Swift has undergone a lot of development, and has really upped its game, not only with new tech, but with a more muscular yet curvaceous body.  On the subject of looks, I particularly like the way Suzuki have tried to retain the 3-door look by cleverly hiding the rear door handles in some black trim that separates the floating roof from the main body - a nice touch Suzuki, nice touch..

On the road

Throughout its development, Suzuki tested the new Swift all over Europe, and experimented with as many as 90 different suspension prototypes, and once satisfied they fine tuned both the 2WD and ALLGRIP models separately.

This was quite noticeable as we covered quite a lot of mileage during our week together.  There was a small degree of pitching evident whilst we ‘bombed’ along tight country lanes, but being fair, it’s the same with any car with a short wheelbase.

The weather during our test was mixed with rain, sleet and snow, arguably great weather to test its ALLGRIP technology which worked a treat. I’ve driven quite a number of Suzukis over the years fitted with their ALLGRIP 4wd, and hand on heart they’ve all been utterly reliable, even shod with road tyres in the gloopiest of mud.

Around town the Swift feels light and nimble, and having a rather deep dashboard in front of you, the Swift doesn’t always feel like a small car.  Get the Swift on a motorway or a smooth, long winding road and it feels right at home.

Off road

As I mentioned above, Suzuki’s ALLGRIP technology will take you where you want to go, limited only by the Swift’s approach angle, ground clearance and tyres.

The day it was due to be returned we had a flutter of snow, so off I ventured up into the hills in search of deeper stuff. There wasn’t any, but what there was wasn’t a threat as the ALLGRIP system was seamless in its delivery.  Position the Swift balancing on 2 or 3 wheels and again there was no sign of hesitation when driving off.

Interior

For a small car the Swift really is quite a nice place to be, it’s roomier than previous models and there’s decent enough space in the rear thanks to the roof line that doesn’t slope away. Although you get 60/40 split rear seats and a 265ltr boot space, the deep lip can make loading and unloading items a bit difficult and the rear seats don’t fold flat, which is a shame.

Whilst I’m on a negative streak, the plastic used around the cabin is a bit scratchy, but putting things into perspective I’d say that it’s acceptable for a car costing around £12,000. On a more positive note, up front there’s some nice styling touches and a smart and intuitive dash layout.

Continuing the positivity, the list of standard safety equipment is impressive, with 6 driver and passenger airbags, tyre pressure monitoring, ABS with EBD, ESP and side impact protection all standard across the range. 

The SZ5 model features Suzuki’s first use of an advanced forward detection system that combines a monocular camera and a laser sensor for advanced safety functions, including autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and high beam assist. It also uses millimetre-wave radar to enable adaptive cruise control.  All cool stuff.

Engine ’n’ transmission

Engine-wise you have 3 options, which incidentally are all petrol and includes a mild hybrid system.

1.0ltr 3-cylinder Boosterjet turbo
110bhp, 0-62mph in 10.6 seconds, combined mpg of 61.4 and CO2 emissions of 104g/km

1.2ltr 4-cylinder Dualjet
89bhp, 0-62mph in 11.9 seconds, combined mpg of 65.7 and CO2 emissions of 98g/km

As long as you go for the range-topping trim levels, Suzuki’s SHVS mild-hybrid system is offered on both engines. It places a lithium-ion battery underneath the front passenger seat and uses it to harness regenerative braking energy and powers a small integrated starter generator. This, in turn, assists the engine when the car is accelerating, helping to save fuel. 

I almost forgot, the standard gearbox is a 5-speed manual which is available across the range. However, you can have the 1.0 Boosterjet non-hybrid with a six-speed auto in the top-spec trim level.

Conclusion

Just like every other Suzuki I’ve tested over the years, the Swift feels dependable and well screwed together, though I do wish it was a bit plusher.  It handled muddy tracks, city and country driving with ease, and it didn’t mind a bit of green laning either. 

Overall, with agile handling, eager yet economical engines, generous levels of equipment and sensible pricing, the Suzuki Swift is a great car that won’t let you down.

Website:  www.suzuki.co.uk