Suzuki Swift

It’s big in the city, and supermini is also a star on open road

  • If it wasn’t for our model’s standard cruise control, I doubt I would enjoy long trips half as much in the Swift. The steering wheel-mounted controls make manual adjustments of the speed easy, while I’m sure this package has also played a part in the steady improvement in economy.
  • We’ve said it before and we will say it again – storage holds this car back. There are ample cubbies dotted around the cabin, but the tiny 211-litre boot hampers practicality. The Suzuki’s case isn’t helped by a narrow hatch opening, high load lip and awkward parcel shelf.
If you asked me to use one word to describe our Suzuki Swift, then it would be ‘surprising’. Having racked up hundreds of miles over the past couple of weeks in the tiny Japanese supermini, I’ve come away staggered by its long list of talents – and in particular its ability as a relaxing motorway cruiser.
KS10 ZPG has already received praise for its beautifully balanced handling, supple ride and keen 1.2-litre engine, so I took for granted the fact it felt right at home darting around crowded city streets. I fully expected it to flounder when we headed out of its natural habitat and on to the open road. But as it turned out, the Swift took to the motorway like a duck to water.
Despite its tiny engine, small proportions, squat wheelbase and short overhangs, the Suzuki proved to be a relaxed and refined companion. I drove it from Manchester and back in a day – a journey that would pose a stern test for even the most comfortable of upmarket executive models. Yet our Swift was unfazed by the challenge, and even after spending seven hours behind the wheel, I was surprised how fresh I still felt.
At 70mph, the smooth 1.2-litre engine spins at only 3,000rpm, while the standard-fit cruise control helps fight off fatigue over long distances. Regular motorway trips would be boring if it wasn’t for the iPod connector, which makes it easy to pick relaxing music or upbeat tunes, depending on your mood. Plus, the driving position is great – even for a six-footer such as myself – and the fabric seats give superb support.
Recent long journeys have also had a positive effect on the Swift’s economy, as our overall return is a now respectable 42.2mpg. It’s possible to go around 400 miles between fill-ups – in fact, I completed my marathon return trip to the north west without once having to visit a forecourt.
When the Suzuki hasn’t been pounding the UK’s motorway network, it has been making itself invaluable for the product tests I carry out at Auto Express. 
It proved a particularly useful and enjoyable choice for our recent evaluation of sat-nav systems. 
This involved driving the same 10-mile country lane route over and over again, to rate each unit – and the Suzuki ensured the exercise never became dull. With its sharp responses, keen powerplant and impressive poise, every single corner was something to be savoured.
And having previously run the eye-catching Nissan Cube, I am particularly fond of the Suzuki’s relative anonymity – I can now go shopping without attracting stares from every other road user.
That’s not to say the Swift isn’t handsome, especially when the optional metallic paint has been given a good clean. 
I’ve also been revelling in our range-topping SZ4 model’s big-car features, such as auto lights, a Bluetooth hands-free phone connection and climate control. Now that I’ve uncovered the Swift’s hidden talents, I fear I may have difficulty hanging on to the keys. With its virtues revealed to my colleagues, I reckon it will become a lot more popular!

Second Opinion

“I live only six miles away from Auto Express’ central London office, and the Swift is perfect for my daily commute. After spending time in bigger, more costly models, you’d think returning to the Suzuki would be a step down, but not at all! Its compact dimensions and eager engine make the stop-start drive a breeze.”

Jack Rix, Deputy Motoring Editor

Most Popular

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox
Dacia Duster gear lever
News

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox

With more drivers learning in autos and electric cars, the DVSA is looking to update the driving test so people can still drive manuals in future
16 Jun 2021
Tesla Model 3 police car all set for evaluation by UK emergency services
Tesla Model 3 police car - front
News

Tesla Model 3 police car all set for evaluation by UK emergency services

Tesla hopes to offer UK police forces a new zero-emission emergency responder option with the Model 3 police car
17 Jun 2021
New 2021 Vauxhall Astra to offer plug-in hybrid power
Vauxhall Astra render
Vauxhall Astra

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra to offer plug-in hybrid power

The new Vauxhall Astra will get a plug-in hybrid powertrain and a more premium image - here’s how it could look
17 Jun 2021
Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review
Ineos Grenadier prototype
Ineos Grenadier 4x4

Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review

Can the Ineos Grenadier really fill the mud-splattered void left by the old Land Rover Defender? We take a first drive in a prototype to find out...
15 Jun 2021
Motorists think they can get away with driving offences due to lack of road police
police speed gun
News

Motorists think they can get away with driving offences due to lack of road police

Lack of road traffic police officers in the UK is making it easy for drivers to break the law, according to a survey of 15,500 British motorists
16 Jun 2021
New Nissan Qashqai 2021 review
Nissan Qashqai 2021
Nissan Qashqai

New Nissan Qashqai 2021 review

We get behind the wheel of the larger, more comfortable and higher-tech Nissan Qashqai SUV in the UK
16 Jun 2021
Dacia unveils new badge design
Dacia badge
Dacia

Dacia unveils new badge design

The new Dacia branding will feature on the company’s cars from 2022, with the Bigster being the first candidate
17 Jun 2021
'I was cynical about Hyundai's aim to be the world's 2nd biggest carmaker, not now'
Opinion Genesis Hyundai Ioniq
Opinion

'I was cynical about Hyundai's aim to be the world's 2nd biggest carmaker, not now'

Steve Fowler is impressed by Hyundai's electric cars, its N division and now its luxury Genesis brand
16 Jun 2021
New Audi Q4 e-tron 2021 review
Audi Q4 e-tron 2021  front
Audi Q4 e-tron

New Audi Q4 e-tron 2021 review

We get involved with the new all-electric Audi Q4 e-tron SUV on UK roads for the first time
17 Jun 2021
UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars
Electric car charging
News

UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars

Analysis reveals lithium refining takes 65 per cent of Chilean region’s water, while 40,000 child miners dig for cobalt in DRC
14 Jun 2021
Mazda to launch 10 new hybrids and three new EVs by 2025
Mazda electric plan
Mazda

Mazda to launch 10 new hybrids and three new EVs by 2025

The electrification push forms part of Mazda’s goal to become a completely carbon neutral company by 2050
17 Jun 2021
New Renault Arkana 2021 review
Renault Arkana - front
Renault Arkana

New Renault Arkana 2021 review

Does an eye-catching coupe-SUV body give the new Renault Arkana the edge over other mid-size SUVs? We find out...
16 Jun 2021
'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'
Toyota Mirai opinion
Opinion

'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'

Mike Rutherford says hydrogen-powered cars could still be a frequent sight on UK roads
13 Jun 2021
New Vauxhall Astra prototype review
Vauxhall Astra prototype - front
Vauxhall Astra

New Vauxhall Astra prototype review

A new Vauxhall Astra is on the way and we've driven a prototype ahead of its official arrival
14 Jun 2021