New Suzuki Swace 2023 review

Suzuki's rebadged Toyota Corolla Touring is all the better for the latest set of revisions...

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Verdict

The Corolla-based Suzuki Swace still isn’t brimming with character, but these mid-life updates are a welcome improvement. For a small price increase over the old model, there’s more performance and technology, making it a competitive entrant to the estate car sector.

You can look at badge-engineering two ways. Some see the results as shameless ‘copy and paste’ reproductions of another brand’s cars with little to no originality and creativity. Others might view cars like the Suzuki Swace as a practical, efficient, perfectly acceptable family car that just so happens to be virtually identical to the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports

Whatever your position there’s no denying that nowadays cheap cars are becoming harder to come by. So if this method of sharing production costs and knowledge between various car companies results in cheaper motors then that’s surely a positive thing, regardless of the badge on the front. 

The Swace isn’t the only Suzuki borrowed from the Toyota model range. There’s also the Suzuki Across plug-in hybrid SUV that bears more than a passing resemblance to the Toyota RAV4. Both cars result from an alliance between the two Japanese marques. The Swace is even built on the same production line as the Corolla Touring Sports in Derby. 

So what’s new for 2023 with Suzuki’s hybrid estate? Well, gone are the SZ-T and SZ5 trim levels. It’s now Motion and top-spec Ultra making up the range - the latter is the car we’ve tested here. Motion costs from £28,999 and Ultra £30,799 - marking a £1,500 price increase for both models. Compare the Ultra to a similarly-specced Corolla Touring and you’ll have to pay an extra £746 for the original. For some, this cash saving might be too tempting to pass up and for others the appeal of the ever-so-slightly more premium Toyota badge will be worth the added expense.

Visual changes are limited to a small redesign to the rear bumper but there have been plenty of tweaks inside and under the bonnet. The Swace comes with the hybridised 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and doesn’t get the more powerful 2.0-litre hybrid found on the Corolla Touring. 

This used to be our main issue with the Swace but Suzuki has listened and come back with more power. The electric motor’s output increases from 71bhp to 93bhp, so total power is 138bhp - 15 per cent up on the old car. 

The Swace now takes 9.4 seconds to go from 0 to 62mph, an improvement of 1.7 seconds. This doesn’t sound like a huge amount but you’ll rarely be left wanting for extra acceleration, unlike in the old car. The power delivery is identical to before though. Mated to the engine is a CVT automatic gearbox which means you feel a bit detached from the powertrain but it’s smooth enough. 

If you mash your foot on the accelerator you’ll get a droning sound from the petrol unit but the Swace is refined at motorway speeds, although the steering can wander a bit. The Ultra sits on 16-inch wheels and the tyres have plenty of sidewall to aid the reasonable ride comfort. As before, the Swace excels during town and city driving with light steering, a responsive hybrid motor and even the occasional opportunity for EV-only driving at low speeds. 

The Swace is pretty much just as efficient as before, despite the extra power. CO2 emissions fall 1g/km to 102g/km and Suzuki’s 62.7mpg figure is reachable if you’re careful. 

There’s more technology on board in 2023 with updates to the collision-warning system’s detection range and the addition of a Safe Exit Assist system - this warns occupants if they’re about to open a door into the path of a cyclist or a car approaching from the rear. A driver monitoring system has also been added to check attention levels.

The Corolla Touring now comes with a 10.5-inch touchscreen as standard but unfortunately this new technology doesn’t make it to the Swace - which makes do with a eight-inch screen. The infotainment is still a weak point with a rather outdated looking display. Apple CarPlay is now a wireless affair, so that’s a bonus. 

The ergonomics of the Swace’s interior is excellent though, because they’ve not messed around with Toyota’s layout. Physical buttons for the climate controls are welcome and while there’s some cheap plastic dotted around the cabin, it feels built to last. 

Overall cabin space is decent front and rear, and boot space is fairly competitive within the C-segment hatchback-based estate class. There’s a 596-litre boot with the seats up - Skoda’s Octavia Estate offers 640 litres and the Ford Focus Estate has 575 litres.

Model:

Suzuki Swace Ultra

Price:

£30,799

Engine:

1.8-litre 4cyl petrol hybrid

Power:

138bhp

Transmission:

CVT automatic, front-wheel drive

0-62mph:

9.4 seconds

Top speed:

112mph

Economy:

62.7mpg

CO2:

102g/km

On sale

Now

Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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