Suzuki Swift review
The Suzuki Swift offers a decent drive and reasonable practicality, although rivals are more refined
The Suzuki Swift is an appealing alternative to the likes of the Hyundai i20, Kia Rio and Toyota Yaris, that delivers good economy, particularly from its punchy three-cylinder engine, and solid build quality. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s able to challenge the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Skoda Fabia at the top of the supermini class; put simply, there are better-finished, more comfortable and more refined offerings on the market. Since prices for this Swift have been nudged upwards, it can no longer rely on ‘bargain’ appeal either - unfortunately the same is true for the Swift Sport flagship.
While the Suzuki Swift Sport has gone down as one of the best small hot hatchbacks for sale in the UK, the standard Swift is more of a left-field choice in the supermini market. The Suzuki used to be able to trade on its competitive pricing, but tough exchange rates mean the Japanese-built car is no longer the bargain it once was. Still, it's a decent enough small car and will appeal to those looking for something that's fun to drive, while the Swift 4x4 is a unique model in the sector.
The latest Suzuki Swift arrived in 2017 with an evolutionary shape (albeit now five-door only), more kit and additional space when compared to its predecessor. The current model line-up comprises SZ3, SZ-T, Attitude and SZ5 models with the Swift Sport at the top of the range.
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Competition in the supermini class is very strong. Sporty handling is one of the Suzuki's plus points, and other cars that can match it include the all-conquering Ford Fiesta, the Mazda 2 and SEAT Ibiza. Elsewhere, the Skoda Fabia and VW Polo are also competitive, and the Citroen C3 offers comfort and a unique style of its own. The Toyota Yaris, Hyundai i20 and Kia Rio offer reliable, well equipped transport, while the Vauxhall Corsa, Renault Clio and Peugeot 208 are all fighting for sales.
The engine range in the standard Swift consists of two petrol units - so you either get a 1.2 Dualjet naturally aspirated four-cylinder, or the more modern 1.0-litre Boosterjet Turbo three-cylinder. Both engines can be had with Suzuki's SHVS mild hybrid system. It's worth noting that the 1.0 Boosterjet comes in SZ-T and SZ5 trim, with the latter version also available with a six-speed automatic gearbox. The 1.2 Dualjet is available in combination with SZ3 trim, while SZ-T and SZ5 trims are offered with the hybrid version of the same engine. The latter, SZ5 version, is fitted with four-wheel-drive. From 2019 onwards, the 1.2 became available with Attitude trim, which adds Swift Sport-inspired styling add-ons but at a more affordable level – both in terms of purchase price and insurance costs. The Sport model which inspired the Attitude gets a 1.4-litre turbo four-cylinder with 138bhp.
Prices for the Suzuki Swift range start from around £13,000 and climb as high as £19,200 for the Swift Sport. However, Suzuki has introduced price cuts of up to £1,000 across the range to help the car regain some of its competitive edge, helping the car look more attractive to customers.
The Suzuki Swift has evolved considerably since the first car arrived in the UK in 1983. The first-generation was known initially as the Cultus in Japan, while UK cars were badged SA310. That was soon replaced by the Swift name, although the Cultus name remained back home.
The first sporty variant was the Swift GTi of 1986. It had a 1.3-litre 16-valve twin cam engine and was very much the grandfather of the Swift Sport. The second-generation Swift arrived in 1988 – but then there was a break before the third generation Swift and its MINI-esque styling arrived in 2004. This was the first generation to get a Swift Sport, while 2010 saw the next Swift launched.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Suzuki Swift offers a decent drive and reasonable practicality, although rivals are more refined
- 2Engines, performance and driveHandling is deft, the turbo petrol is strong and the steering is nicely weighted, but the ride is unsettled and refinement is so-so
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe Suzuki Swift should be cheap to run, thanks to strong fuel efficiency from both of its engines, but key rivals will hold their value better
- 4Interior, design and technologyBuild quality feels good, but the finish of even higher-spec cars is durable rather than plush
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceRear space is fine if you’re under 6ft tall; the boot is a decent size, but there’s a big lip to load items over, and the rear seats leave a big step in the floor when they’re folded down
- 6Reliability and SafetyThree-year, 60,000-mile warranty is just above average, customers are pretty happy with Suzuki’s reliability and there’s plenty of safety kit as standard