When the weather lurches from blistering hot sunshine one minute to lashing rain showers the next, it can only mean one thing – spring has finally arrived and summer can’t be far behind.
I’ve already started planning family days out and short breaks in our Suzuki Swift. As I reported in February
, it’s deceptively roomy. But before the holiday season begins, I’ve decided to get into shape – so I’ve bought myself a neat folding bicycle to exercise on.
As I’ve not been on a bike since I was around 12 years old, I decided it was probably best to avoid cycling on the public road – where I’d be a danger to myself and other road users. So I folded up my bike and loaded it into the Swift to drive down to Brighton, where there are miles of flat promenade to ride along.
Getting the bike aboard was a breeze. In the past, the Suzuki’s cramped 211-litre boot has come in for a fair bit of criticism, so I was pleasantly surprised when my bike fitted in easily, without me even having to fold the rear seats. I did have to remove the parcel shelf, but that’s no bad thing as I always forget to put it down after loading up. I usually only realise my mistake when I sit back behind the wheel and find the view out of the rear window has been totally blocked.
It’d been a while since I’d last driven the Swift, so the run down to Brighton gave me the chance to fall for its charms all over again. It really does tick all the boxes as a great daily runabout. The compact dimensions make it a brilliant choice for diving in and out of London’s crowded streets, yet the cabin is roomy and refined enough to take the strain out of a high-speed A-road slog to the seaside.
For the first few miles of the trip, though, I was convinced the Suzuki’s handling wasn’t as sharp as I’d remembered it. A quick pitstop at a service station revealed that the front tyres needed topping up with air. Happily, once they were the right pressure, the chassis felt as engaging as ever.
In fact, I’ve now covered more than 7,000 miles in our Swift, and I have to say I’m struggling to find fault with it. Yes, the diesel is a little noisy when revved, but its eager nature makes the din easy to ignore. And while a sixth gear would be welcome on the motorway, the comfortable seats and supple ride take the sting out of long journeys.
Build quality has also impressed me. The tough interior still looks as good as new, even though the Swift has been used for rubbish removal, DIY purchases and as a taxi for my 22-month-old grand-daughter. What’s more, it’s returning nearly 50mpg – so is almost as cheap to run as my bicycle.
“Here’s proof that small and economical cars can be as fun as faster and pricier models. On a twisty back road the Suzuki always makes me smile.”
James Disdale, Deputy road test editor
“The small boot really is the only drawback with the Suzuki. It’s a pity we can’t get the spacious mini MPV version of the Swift that’s available in India.”
bjbchelsea, via www.autoexpress.co.uk