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Suzuki Swift Attitude 3dr

Engaging special edition builds on strong supermini package

THE Suzuki Swift is something of a stealth supermini – it creeps in under the radar of many buyers. That’s why the firm has come up with the Attitude special edition. It uses the regular 1.3-litre GL as a basis, yet features racy extras, including seats borrowed from the hot 1.6-litre Sport, special alloy wheels, keyless start and air-conditioning.

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With its pretty styling and sporty, three-door body, you would expect the Suzuki to win the battle for kerb appeal. But its new rims look like aftermarket rims, giving the Attitude an unwelcome whiff of boy racer. Things improve inside because the black plastic that dominates the dashboard has a classy feel and the integrated stereo appears expensive.

High-quality switchgear also sets it apart from the Mitsubishi, but it can’t match its rival when it comes to room. With its smaller windows, the Swift interior doesn’t feel as spacious – and the tape measure confirms this impression. While there is still enough rear leg and headroom for four adults to travel in reasonable comfort, the Colt is the only option if you want to carry five people.

Simply getting into the back of the Suzuki is a problem because the driver’s seat doesn’t slide forwards out of the way when you tilt the backrest. Practicality also suffers at the rear, where the narrow boot requires careful packing if you’re to take advantage of its superior volume. If versatility is important, the five-door version makes more sense.

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Once on the road you would expect the sporty Swift to be more engaging to drive, and there’s no doubt it’s the enthusiast’s choice. Its precise steering is well weighted and the firmer suspension sacrifices comfort to provide sharper responses and superior composure.

The set-up doesn’t filter out bumps as well as the Mitsubishi, though, and the Swift’s pace doesn’t match the promise of its chassis. You have to work the 1.3-litre engine hard to keep up with other traffic and, while it’s both smooth and refined, it’s short on outright punch.

This is demonstrated by the car’s performance at the test track, where it took 12.8 seconds to accelerate from 30-50mph in fourth gear. That’s 2.1 seconds longer than the Colt, and a clear indication that the powerplant lacks low-down torque. High-speed refinement is impressive in both the cars on test given their urban roots, but the Swift makes more noise when travelling at 70mph, even though its engine isn’t as busy as its rival’s.

The biggest problem for Suzuki is price. For all its extra kit, the Attitude costs more than the Mitsubishi and it doesn’t provide as much space or practicality. Its sharper dynamics are welcome, but are they enough to justify sacrifices required elsewhere?

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Chart position: 2
WHY: The Attitude has loads of kit, but does it compromise the top-value supermini package?

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