If there’s one thing our Suzuki Swift
has taught me over the last six months, it’s that bigger doesn’t always mean better. Despite its dinky dimensions, our diesel-powered supermini has been proving its worth as a versatile all-rounder.
First off, it’s been doing sterling service as a family runaround. Frequent trips with my 18-month-old granddaughter have tested the Swift’s practicality to the limit – and it has rarely disappointed. Sure, the cramped 213-litre boot is well down on class standards, but it’s big enough to swallow Evie’s buggy, plus all the toys and assorted paraphernalia that comes with transporting a toddler.
It copes well with grown-ups, too. On a recent family day out, the Suzuki carried four adults in surprising comfort. I was expecting some complaints from those in the back, but there wasn’t even the slightest murmur of discontent from my passengers.
What’s more, the interior is packed with useful stowage space. I’d complained about the lack of cup-holders in the Citroen DS3
I used to run, but there are no such issues with the Suzuki. It has a large glovebox, door bins and, my personal favourite, a hidden cubby
on top of the dashboard that’s ideal for stashing a cheeky bag of sweets.
Car group tests
When it’s not being pressed into action as a family car, the Swift has been doing a good impression of a builder’s van. Recent renovations at my mum and dad’s house mean it has been a regular fixture in the car park of my local DIY store.
With the standard 60:40-split rear bench folded flat the boot has a useful 562 litres of space – easily enough for my needs. My only cause for complaint is the high loading lip, which makes lifting in heavier loads back-breaking work.
Yet no matter what the Suzuki is carrying, it’s always brilliant to drive. The light controls and compact dimensions make it perfect for nipping along crowded city streets, while the strong grip and perfectly weighted steering are a delight on the open road. Decent refinement and a supple ride allow the Suzuki to take long motorway journeys in its stride.
Elsewhere, the smooth and eager 1.3-litre diesel continues to make a mockery of ever-increasing fuel prices. Despite spending plenty of time crawling through London’s rush-hour traffic, the Swift is returning an impressive 54.2mpg at the pumps.
Better still, the excellent driving position and supportive front seats help take the strain out of sitting in nose-to-tail jams for hours on end. The simple stereo also features iPod connectivity, which is popular with everyone who drives the little Suzuki.
So, has the Swift done anything to earn a black mark on its report card? Well, while it’s just about big enough, we’d like to see a larger boot, plus the torquey diesel could do with a sixth gear for even more relaxing cruising. But that really is about it as far as niggles go.
After waving goodbye to my stylish and luxuriously appointed DS3, I was worried that I’d be disappointed when I climbed aboard the Suzuki. But so far it’s been brilliant – proving that the best things really do come in small packages.
“Diesel superminis tend not to sell well, but I can’t understand why. Our Swift feels quicker than the petrol car and does mid-fifties mpg on my commute.”Paul Bond, Road tester
“Why not try something different with the styling? Manufacturers really need to try harder and take risks. I’m sure Suzuki can be more creative than this.”jcrowley012, via www.autoexpress.co.uk