The Swift has grown up but has kept its character, states, Damien O’Carroll.
Full disclosure time: I have always had a massive soft spot for the Suzuki Swift.
Its cute looks combined with some seriously decent handling chops and light weight always made it seriously enjoyable to spend time in.
Okay, so it never had a boot worth a damn, it was quite noisy and had a fairly cheap, plasticky interior, but it was just so damn cheerful and fun that never really mattered.
So it was always a bit worrying when it came time for Suzuki to replace the Swift. The last generation didn’t change anything too drastically, but this time around it was time for the Swift to, gulp, grow up.
Which could have been bad, but fortunately, Suzuki took that too mean it had to loose weight, get a brilliant new engine and take on a more aggressive look.
The new Swift you see here in (currently) top spec RS form looks nicely different to the old Swift, yet is still instantly familiar. While the hidden rear doorhandles are a bit 2005 and the gaping mouth won’t appeal to all, the “floating roof” styling works well and the Swift is still a distinctive and cute car.
On the inside, the Swift has improved vastly over the old model, with a nicely laid out and ergonomically sensible interior that is spacious and comfortable. The glossy white highlights nicely break all the black up (of which there is rather a lot) and it has a brilliant leather steering wheel and some fantastically comfortable seats. Although, while comfortable, the seats do lack lateral support.
Behind the Swift’s new face lurks Suzuki’s brilliant little 82kW/160Nm 1.0-litre three cylinder petrol engine that is revvy and eager, and also sounds great.
The little triple packs plenty of poke around town and its wonderfully eager character makes it a delight to either potter around in or utterly thrash.
Hooked up to the engine is Suzuki’s new six-speed automatic transmission that takes the place of the CVT in lesser Swifts. This is a smooth and refined shifter, although it can be a little sluggish at making up its mind on occasion.
The Swift sits on a fantastically responsive and agile chassis that is utterly delightful to throw around a winding road. While the steering does feel slightly artificial, it is nicely sharp and responsive, with brilliantly sharp turn in and Swift shows surprising grip in the wet.
The light weight that makes the handling so delightful and keeps fuel consumption admirably low does have a downside, however, and that is the fact that the Swift till betrays quite a lot of road noise, both around town and out on the open road.
Like Swifts before it, however, this doesn’t really matter much in the grand scheme of things, as it really doesn’t affect the simple and pure joy you get from driving the happy, perky little Swift.
Suzuki have done the seemingly impossible and made the Swift grow up, while still retaining its delightfully endearing characteristics.
Body type Five-door hatch
Drive Front wheel drive
Engine type Inline 3-cylinder petrol turbo
Engine capacity 1.0-litre
Max power 82kW @ 5500rpm
Max torque 160Nm @ 1500rpm
l/100km (Combined) 5.1
C02 emissions 119g/km
Boot capacity 242/556 litres
Spare tyre Space saver
ANCAP rating Not tested yet