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In-depth reviews

Suzuki Swace review: an efficient hybrid estate car with familiar looks

The Suzuki Swace has genuine family car credentials, but it struggles to stand out among its talented rivals

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

Price
£29,974 to £31,974
  • Low emissions
  • Economy
  • Reliability
  • Lack of pace
  • Poor towing ability compared to rivals
  • Only one engine available
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​Smart, savvy customers looking for a well-built, affordable family estate car would do well to consider the Suzuki Swace. Sharing the same DNA as the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports is no bad thing, and the partnership between the two Japanese manufacturers means that the Swace offers great levels of comfort and decent running costs due to its shared hybrid technology.

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Suzuki has opted not to present too much in the way of luxury with the Swace, but that’s pretty much the point, and it will no doubt appeal to the more pragmatic buyer who’s seeking a frugal family car that offers reliability, space and decent levels of functional kit.

The pull to simply buy the Corolla will be tempting for some, but throw-in the Swace’s adopted good looks and its relative rarity on the road, and it might just sway you away from that next SUV purchase.

About the Suzuki Swace

If you buy a Suzuki Swace, you may find yourself having to deal with people eager to point out that, in fact, your new purchase ‘is just a rebadged Toyota Corolla’. Well, you might say, what’s wrong with that? Unlike Jaguar X-Type owners from the early noughties, who were teased about their car’s links to the cheaper Ford Mondeo, the Swace isn’t trying to be something it's not.

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The Swace does little to hide its association with Toyota’s capable wagon. There’s the obvious badge swap — although the hybrid lettering on the front quarter remains unchanged — and that’s pretty much it.

As such, the two Japanese estate cars share similar rivals, in the shape of the sharp-handling Ford Focus Estate, the accomplished Kia Ceed Sportswagon, and the supremely practical Skoda Octavia Estate.

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Starting from around £29,500, the Swace is over £2,000 cheaper than the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports that it’s based on.

With just a single engine option and two trim levels on offer in the Swace lineup, there shouldn’t be any major choice anxiety about which combination is best for you. The 1.8-litre petrol-hybrid unit, as used in the Corolla, delivers a total output of 138bhp. This drives the front wheels via a CVT automatic gearbox.

The entry-level Motion trim offers a decent number of standard features, including heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, a rear camera, and an 8-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity. 

For around £2,000 more, you can upgrade to the Ultimate trim. This adds in a few extra comforts, such as wireless phone charging, along with multiple safety and assistance systems including front and rear parking sensors, parking assist, blind-spot monitoring, safe exit assist and rear cross traffic alert.

Engines, performance and drive

Suzuki offers a single engine option for the Swace, but don’t expect too much in the way of performance

The Suzuki Swace engine line-up is simple because there’s only one option: a 1.8-litre full-hybrid powertrain sourced from its sibling, the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports. This consists of a petrol engine producing 102bhp and 142Nm of torque, which is supplemented by a small 94bhp electric motor, giving a total combined output of 138bhp. 

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It is possible to run on electric power alone by switching to EV mode, although it’ll only manage a few miles at most before the battery runs out and the petrol engine kicks back in to provide drive for the car.

The petrol-hybrid system is best suited to the more moderate speeds associated with urban routes and in-town driving. In these situations, the opportunity to use the regenerative braking tech helps to recharge the battery and eke out extra mileage in electric mode.

You won’t find bucketloads of performance on offer from the Swace, and it struggles at higher speeds. If you plant your right foot, there’s a rather irritating whine from the CVT auto gearbox, which lets the revs rise without much impact on velocity. Depending on your point of view, Suzuki may have missed a trick in not offering the 2.0-litre petrol-hybrid engine also on offer in the Corolla Touring Sports range.

The Swace isn’t a fun car to drive, but that’s not what it’s intended for. Instead, it’s a good all-rounder with a decent level of ride comfort, refinement and dynamic polish.

Engines, 0-62mph acceleration and top speed

The Swace will sprint from 0-62mph in a reasonable 9.4 seconds and then carry on to a top speed of 112mph. 

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If you need a bit more power, the larger 2.0-litre hybrid that’s exclusive to the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports delivers 193bhp. This allows it to complete the benchmark sprint in a more respectable 7.4 seconds, but its top speed is actually slightly lower at 111mph.

MPG, CO2 and running costs

With low CO2 emissions and excellent overall economy, the Swace should appeal to both families and fleet drivers

The fuel efficiency and low emissions of the Suzuki Swace will appeal to private buyers and company car drivers alike. Decent finance and leasing deals are available which could prove enticing for buyers on a strict monthly budget.

Suzuki claims the Swace will deliver up to 62.7mpg on the WTLP combined cycle. During our own test of the facelifted model, we managed to match this figure with some particularly careful driving. However, we’d expect this number to drop whenever the Swace hits the motorway. Urban driving is where the electrical hybrid system can provide more assistance and help increase fuel economy.

The full-hybrid powertrain means the Swace has a claimed CO2 emissions figure of just 102g/km, which results in a 25 per cent Benefit-in-Kind rate. While this does exceed the rate of an electric car, the Swace could still be a potential candidate for those looking for a new company car, but don’t fancy the charging times associated with an EV. 

Insurance groups

Insurance quotes for this family-friendly estate car shouldn’t be alarming because the Motion and Ultimate trims sit in insurance groups 17E and 18E, respectively. When fitted with the same 1.8-litre engine, the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports resides in the same groups as its Suzuki sibling, so neither car has any clear advantage here. The letter ‘E’ indicates that the minimum security requirements of the insurance group have been exceeded.

Depreciation

Our experts predict that both variants of the Suzuki Swace will retain around 45 per cent of their initial value after a typical three-year/36,000-mile ownership period. The slightly pricier Corolla Touring Sports, meanwhile, should retain between 47-49 per cent of its initial value when fitted with the same 1.8-litre hybrid powertrain.

Interior, design and technology

It may not have oodles of kerb appeal, but the Suzuki Swace is smart, well-built and offers just enough kit

From a quick glance at the exterior, you’d be hard-pressed to notice much difference between the Suzuki Swace and the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports. They are, in fact, the same car, apart from the badges. 

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The Swace is a smart-looking estate with silver roof rails, body-coloured door handles and rear privacy glass. You won’t find any bright, lurid body colours available for the Swace. Instead, your options include white, silver, black, brown, bronze and blue in a range of pearlescent, mica, or metallic finishes.

Inside, the cabin feels well screwed together, with plenty of space. Equipment levels are generous and include climate control, heated seats, a heated steering wheel, a rear parking camera, a 7-inch colour digital information display and an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen.

If you opt for the top Ultra trim, you’ll benefit from a wireless smartphone charging pad, front and rear parking sensors, an Intelligent Parking Assist function, BI-LED projector headlights, and extra interior lighting.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The Swace’s infotainment tech can’t compete with the better systems of its close rivals. The eight-inch screen is easily visible from its location high up on the dash, but the graphics look fussy and dated, even in post-facelift models. The physical controls around the screen – normally a good thing – are small, fiddly buttons that require more than just a glance to locate the shortcut you want. The menu layouts within the screen aren’t particularly intuitive, either, so using your smartphone connectivity and individual features is probably the best way forward.

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Built-in navigation isn’t available on either Swace trim level, but fortunately, there’s standard smartphone integration, which means you can skip the clunky proprietary interface in favour of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. 

The system’s main menu has shortcuts to the audio functions, phone connectivity and a hybrid-system monitor. This shows real-time data of how energy is flowing to and between the petrol engine, electric motor, and battery. The screen responds reasonably quickly to touches, but loading times are slow.

Practicality, comfort and boot space

Comfortable and spacious it may be, but the Suzuki Swace suffers from a limited towing capability, while some rivals also offer a bigger boot

The Suzuki Swace is by no means a family estate class leader, but it does provide a comfortable, practical alternative to the norm. It benefits from being built on the same production line as the reliable Toyota Corolla and should bring enough functionality and usefulness for most households.

Although the Swace doesn’t offer luxuries such as leather upholstery or a premium audio upgrade, it still includes enough kit for a pleasant journey. The heating functions for the front seats and steering wheel are joined by climate control, radar cruise control and a rear parking camera, while the steering wheel adjusts for both reach and rake to help you find the most comfortable driving position. 

The rear seats also fold completely flat in a 60:40 configuration, which adds to the car’s flexibility when you need to ferry around kids and bulky items of luggage.

Size

At a length of 4,655mm, the Swace is 5mm longer than the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports, while the overall width and height remains the same at 1,790mm and 1,460mm.

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Compared to the Skoda Octavia Estate, the Czech wagon is a little longer and wider, at 4,689mm and 1,829mm, respectively. It’s also a bit taller at 1,468mm.

Leg room, head room & passenger space

The driver and passengers shouldn’t be left wanting for extra space in the cabin, with decent head and legroom. Three adults can sit in relative comfort across the rear seats. 

Boot

The ability to carry large, bulky items is key for a family estate car. The Swace offers a 596-litre boot with a wide, practical opening, although it loses out to the Skoda Octavia’s 640-litre load space.

Towing

The hybrid set-up of the Swace means that its braked trailer towing ability is limited to 750kg, whereas rivals from Ford, Skoda, Hyundai and Kia are all rated at 1,000kg or more.

Reliability and safety

Suzuki has included generous levels of safety kit for the Swace, but its Corolla twin offers superior warranty cover

If there’s one advantage to a partnership with Toyota and the introduction of a badge-engineered car, it’s that you can be pretty confident it will prove to be reliable.

While the Suzuki Swace is yet to appear in our Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, but its Toyota Corolla twin finished in 41st place out of 75 cars in our more recent best cars to own results. Suzuki itself placed 22st out of 29 brands in the manufacturer ratings and, although in the lower half of the poll, it still beat some premium car makers such as Audi and Mercedes.

Euro NCAP hasn’t yet crash tested the Swace, but again the comparable Corolla received a full five-star rating, with an excellent 95 per cent score for adult protection and 84 per cent for child safety.

The standard safety kit for the Swace is equally impressive and includes radar cruise control, Road Sign Assist, a lane departure warning, a vehicle sway warning, and lane centering and steering assist functions. Top-spec Ultimate versions add a Blind Spot Monitor and a rear cross-traffic alert.

Warranty

Suzuki provides a standard three-year/60,000-mile warranty, although there is the option to extend this at an extra cost. The Corolla Touring Sports offers the same basic plan, but this can be extended up to 10-years/100,000-miles if you have the car serviced annually at a Toyota dealership.

Servicing

The recommended service intervals for the Swace are every 12,500-miles or 12 months, whichever comes first. Servicing your Suzuki shouldn’t be too expensive, and the manufacturer provides tailored plans to help reduce the cost of scheduled maintenance. You can choose to pay a lump sum upfront, or break the total cost down into monthly payments.

Frequently Asked Questions
The Suzuki Swace is an efficient estate car that’s based on the proven underpinnings of the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports. It’s not the last word in space, but it should be capable of carrying a family of five and their luggage in decent comfort. It’s also a bit cheaper than its Toyota-badged twin.
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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.8 Hybrid Motion 5dr CVT
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £29,974

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.8 Hybrid Motion 5dr CVT
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £29,974

Fastest

  • Name
    1.8 Hybrid Motion 5dr CVT
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £29,974

Shane is responsible for looking after the day-to-day running of the Auto Express website and social media channels. Prior to joining Auto Express in 2021, he worked as a radio producer and presenter for outlets such as the BBC.

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