Suzuki upgraded the Swift compact car during 2017 with improved performance and edging in some additional interior space to a smiling looking car design. The new car is lighter and more economical than in the past, while pitched higher in price than some of the mainstream competition, as Michael MoroneY found out.
There’s something about the design and stance of the new Suzuki Swift that makes you want to smile. This is a car that feels it’s friendly towards you the moment you set eyes upon it; there’s a sort of Toy Story look to the Swift that’s part of its immediate appeal.
Under that smiling design Suzuki have make some significant changes to make this new Swift a more appealing car. The new Swift is lighter and shorter than before and between engine design changes and the use of a new vehicle structure, Suzuki have shaved 100kg from the weight of this small car.
So while the overall dimensions of the car are more compact, Suzuki has stretched the wheelbase, that is the distance front to rear between the wheels, to give more internal space for the driver and passengers. There is a slightly wider feel to the new Swift so this compact city type car never feels cramped, unless you pack in four very large adults.
Part of the new Suzuki Swift transformation comes with some engine changes. The car gets a new 1.0 litre three-cylinder Boosterjet engine that’s lively to drive. This engine is rated at 111bhp, which is more powerful than some of the equivalent cars on the market and its acceleration pace impresses at 10 seconds in a 0 to 100km/hr race.
The Suzuki Boosterjet engine uses a combination of turbo-charging and direct inject to achieve this impressive performance. And that includes good torque which, in the automatic version that I drove, reaches its best at a low 1700rpm on the engine. This allows for smooth speed changes in the automatic version.
I liked the six-speed gearbox, while it took a little getting used to. There is a D and M setting on the automatic gearbox lever, and it’s all too easy to engage M when really you want the convenience of D for drive, without having to move the lever again.
The Swift is an economical little car, whether its city driving or longer distances, both of which it’s well able for. My test drive was just about 25% off the rated economy figure of 20m/litre (5.0/100km or 56.5mpg) and that meant that I achieved a range of well over 500km on the full 37 litre capacity fuel tank. This tank capacity is lower than most of the competition, so expect to visit the petrol station that little bit more often.
There is a SHVS mild hybrid version of the Swift available that gives even better fuel economy and a lower CO2 emission figure of 97g/km. The system also uses a compact high performance 12V lithium-ion battery placed under the front passenger seat to store energy and adding only 6.2kg to the overall weight of the car.
The Swift’s compact outer dimensions can belie impressive interior space. Suzuki claims to have improved headroom in the rear and that was welcome for me as I brought home the Christmas tree after folding down the Swift’s rear seats. I was impressed that the car extended its load area so well, but it’s still shorter and less spacious than some of the competition such as the new Ford Fiesta, Nissan Micra or Volkswagen Polo.
The boot area was compromised not just in its smaller capacity but also by the fact that not only did it have no spare wheel, there wasn’t even a jack present. I was unfortunate to clip a sharp kerb nicking the Swift’s front tyre and without the necessary and basic tools I have no option but to call for tyre fitting help.
Luckily, I was near Roscommon town at the time and could locate a mobile tyre fitting service. There was an additional problem in that the Bridgestone 165/55 R16 tyre is a little uncommon, so the search for a replacement took some time. You simply never realise how important tyre size and availability are until stuck in my predicament.
The Swift comes with claims of improved safety features and the higher specification ‘Safety Pack’ version was the one that achieved the four-star Euro NCAP safety rating. The car is well equipped in a safety sense with six airbags, ABS brakes with EBD & brake assist, side impact protection beams, lane departure warning, ISOFIX child seat anchorages, tyre pressure monitor, hill hold control and high beam assist lighting.
Entry prices for the new Suzuki Swift start at €16,995 which is reasonably competitive for a car that is more economical and better to drive than ever before. All versions come with air conditioning, DAB Radio, privacy glass, LED daytime running lights and Bluetooth fitted as standard on all new Swift models. If you opt for the six-speed automatic version then you add €4,000 to the price.