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.
Car group tests
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!
“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