By Wayne Gorrett
The Suzuki Swift enjoys a well-deserved reputation for being a low-cost, everyday car – while still being great fun to drive.
We took a shining to….
* Honest pricing * Low running costs * Much improved drive * Looks great * Good kit list *
…but noted that…
* Underwhelming engine * Small boot * Bland interior * Rear legroom limited *
☀ ☀ ☀
The nimble Suzuki Swift, the third generation of which arrived here in September 2010, is manufactured in Suzuki’s Magyar plant in Hungary, from where all of Suzuki’s EU demand is produced. The current incarnation had both its wheelbase and height extended by two inches over the previous second generation but it by no means looks like it ate all the pies. Actually, you would be hard pressed to notice the difference, unless the two were alongside each other. Styling is significantly improved with its longer and more rounded appearance. Nearly three years in, it’s still a looker in the style department when compared to later rival offerings.
During our standard test route – a 48-mile mix of motorway, A, B and ‘other’ roads around south Hampshire, we make no conscious attempt at frugality and drive as normally as possible – with an occasional spot of ‘enthusiasm’ in the mix to assess driving dynamics and set-up.
The Swift achieved an impressive 54.8mpg, or 97% of the official combined 56.5mpg. At one point, it registered 58.5mpg (103.5%).
The Swift is an entertaining little car to drive, raising a smile at how planted and poised it feels on the go. Grip is good, and body control is great, which makes the Suzuki feel really stable in a bend. The ride has a firm but far from uncomfortable edge.
The engine is a bit noisy at motorway speeds and can be frustratingly breathless during spirited driving. With reasonable revs applied, it feels okay and puts out a pleasant audible note. The five-speed transmission has a chunky defined gate and although fourth and fifth gears are over-driven for economy, the engine’s punchy enough to track through bends.
In the cabin, there’s not a lot to fault. The comparatively upright windscreen, deep windows and skinny pillars offer a great view of the road, and getting comfortable is easy because there’s reach and rake adjustment for the steering column, plus a seat-height adjuster. The dash is quickly understood so finding most functions is a doddle. The high roofline means you’ll have bags of headroom whichever seat you wind up in, but rear legroom isn’t great compared to the roomiest super minis. Plenty of its classmates have bigger boots, too, and folding the rear seats down leaves an awkward step in the boot floor.