Suzuki Swift 4x4 review

19 Mar, 2015 10:45am

All-wheel drive gives Suzuki Swift supermini car extra appeal without spoiling its sense of fun


The two-wheel drive Swift is still one of our favourite superminis. But in 4x4 guise, it doesn't make much sense. It's still fun to drive, solidly built and well equipped, but it just doesn't offer the extra versatility and all-weather security to justify the price premium over the standard hatch. If the car had more power or greater off-road credentials, the Swift 4x4 would shine.

Suzuki has a long history when it comes to four-wheel-drive vehicles – the Jimny 4x4 was introduced in 1968, and the brand has become synonymous with affordable and capable off-road vehicles. 

Now its all-wheel-drive know-how has filtered down to the Swift supermini. It’s not a full-on off-roader, but a raised ride height and rugged body cladding show the car means business.

The Swift 4x4 is available in two trim levels: SZ3 and SZ4. Opt for the former and you’ll get 25mm of extra ride height over a standard Swift five-door, a 4x4 badge on the boot and, well, that’s it! Designers have made a little more effort to beef up the SZ4 we tested. Front and rear plastic skid plates, black wheelarch extensions and black side skirts have been added to give it a more rugged look.

The theme continues inside, where the 4x4 is identical to the standard Swift. There’s not much wrong with the robust build quality, but the plastics are all hard to the touch, while their dark colours create an oppressive feel.

Engine-wise, the Swift comes with a 1.2-litre DualJet petrol engine putting out 89bhp. It's cleaner and has more torque than the engine it has replaced, but it can still feel flat and underwhelming, plus it needs to be worked hard. 

On the plus side, the Swift 4x4 features sharp handling. It also sits on larger and lower profile tyres, which means there’s more grip and composure during extreme cornering. Body movement is also well controlled, plus the Swift does a good job of soaking up most bumps and potholes. And although the car’s acceleration is leisurely, there’s still fun to be had on twistier B-roads.

The Suzuki is less assured when you leave the tarmac behind. Anything more than a slightly muddy track will cause it to struggle. The permanent four-wheel drive transfers the torque to the rear wheels when needed via a viscous coupling, so traction is rarely an issue, but when the terrain gets rugged, the Suzuki’s supermini roots are difficult to overlook. 

The new cleaner 1.2-litre Dualjet has been engineered not only to reduce friction, but to create a more efficient fuel-air mixture, thereby reducing fuel consumption. More impressively, the new unit has slashed CO2 emissions from 126g/km to 111g/km.

Factor in the Swift’s list price and it works out as a tax efficient choice for business users, while private buyers will pay just £30 a year for road fund licence. Suzuki claims a substantial increase in fuel figures, too, with 58.8mpg for the 4x4 model.

Inside, rear seat passengers get a decent amount of legroom – although headroom is slightly tight for taller passengers. There is, however, plenty of useful storage, including a deep centre console cubby, large glovebox and long door bins.

Less impressive is the boot, which suffers from a tiny 211-litre capacity. Unfortunately, it’s further hindered by its small opening and a very high load lip, making lifting heavy items in and out a challenge.

The Swift gets 40:60 split rear seats, but they create a steep step that can prove intrusive when carrying larger items.

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The best thing about a car like this, would be zipping up snowy hills, overtaking the so-called 4x4's such as the Cayenne and BMW X models knowing you have paid a fraction of what they have on a car that beats them at (part of, admittedly) their own game...

Are they doing a diesel version of this?!

Why no diesel version? I hate petrol engines.

While the Cayenne and BMW drivers sit in luxury and look at you and laugh at the pansy Suzuki

I hate Diesel engines

Only a problem if you care what other people think. Personally I'd rather have the £50k in the bank so that I can use it for something more worthwhile than wasting it on a vanity vehicle.

You and the Swift 4x4 will be very happy together then.

If you read my comment thoroughly, you'd have noticed I'd subtly acknowledged the fact that the Swift can't rival these cars in some areas such as luxury, however was drawing attention to the more traditional uses and advantages of big, expensive 4x4's.

Plus, why would Cayenne drivers be laughing at me in my pansy Suzuki, when your sliding back down the 2 metres of icy hill that you managed to conquer? Think you'll find I'll be the one laughing - all the way to the bank, where, as Misotonic quite rightly said, I'll have at least £50k to enjoy over the snowy months (or days)!

The only pansy here is you mate spouting your usual rubbish. You are obviously wrapped up in what others think. An inferiority complex perhaps?
'Cargeek' s comment makes real sense- this little 4x4 car will probably beat Cayenne's and BMW X models at their own game. Small lightweight 4x4's are always highly effective and at this money the Swift 4wd looks like a cracking small car.

touched a nerve there did I? hehe, the truth hurts don't it! I can buy a used X5 in perfect condition for much less than 13K - the cost of this little fairy suzuki.

Why would you have touched a nerve? I dont own the car above or anything like it so what you say doesn't bother me in the slightest! All you do on every post on AE is talk absolute s**t - fact! As I say you come across as someone with an inferiority complex (in the trowser dept perhaps). Truth hurts don't it! LOL!!

Your girl didn't seem to think so, go ask her!

In your dreams mate! She's not interested in guys who need tweezers to get it out LOL!

So what's she doing with you then? Guess she should have gone to specsavers!

Touched a nerve have I Lagoya? - hehe - Calm down dear! Looks like its not just me that thinks your a sad little p***k judging by other peoples replies above. Must be lonely for you. Along as you manage to keep your bloke happy. LOL

Haha! very funny, I just find it hilarious how wound up you are about a strangers post on an internet forum :) I bet you sit in front of your computer with baited breath waiting for me to post so you can continue this pointless discussion. Go and have some alone time with your blow-up doll and calm yourself down you worthless piece of garbage lol

I find your comment hilarious because you are doing exactly the same thing! - so obviously what I am saying is clearly bothering you and winding you up no end or you wouldnt keep responding! Yes this this is a pointless discussion but one that you started with your original pointless remark. So how are you going to respond next you worthless piece of s**t!! lol Have you managed to find a pair yet? If not you could always buy that used X5 and that might make you feel like more of a man!

Have you tried stand up comedy? guess not, because you suck at being funny. I find this whole tirade quite amusing to be honest. No one forced you to reply to my comment in the first place, you brought this onto yourself. And yes I would be very happy with a used X5, even a ten year old one is a better car that the little fairy suzuki you're drooling over. Anyway it's getting late now, shouldn't you be out working the street to save up for your little dream car? :)

Ha ha - you still sitting in front of your computer with baited breath waiting for me to post so you can continue this pointless discussion. Indeed no one forced me to reply to your original sarcastic comment, but I have and thats obviously what is bothering you...... because people like you are great at dishing it out....but not so great at taking it! Truth hurts don't it?!
No need for me to work any streets to save up for a new Suzuki... or indeed a new BMW if I wanted! Looks like your sights are set lower in life though - a used second hand X5 at ten years old! Hmmm you obviously didn't do so well at school. Nevermind, perhaps you could go out and 'work the streets' to save up for your dream car - a used ten year old X5! LOL

lol, It says a lot about your intellect that you resort to using my own words in your woeful attempt at retorting to my posts. This is all just a highly amusing game to me, One in which you initiated may I add. Your dream car is a suzuki swift yet you dare comment about someone having low aspirations in life? Haha! In fact maybe you should try stand up comedy, but prepared to get pelted with tomato's. Don't worry, I will gladly come and watch you crash and burn.

Key specs

  • Price: £13,116
  • Engine: 1.2-litre 4cyl petrol
  • Power: 93bhp
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual, four-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 13.4 seconds
  • Top speed: 103mph
  • Economy: 58.8mpg
  • CO2: 111g/km
  • Equipment: 16-inch alloys, keyless go, Bluetooth, auto air-con
  • On sale: Now