Suzuki Swift review - Interior, design and technology
Build quality feels good, but the finish of even higher-spec cars is durable rather than plush
Inside, the swift’s cabin is best described as functional. There’s no soft, squidgy plastics or fancy swooping features here: what there is, is a fairly solid cabin with a neat layout and big, simple controls for the air conditioning system.
Suzuki expects few customers to opt for the most basic SZ3 edition of the Swift, and we can see why; it does without any sort of central touchscreen system, and gets electric windows in the front only. However, it does bring air-con, LED daytime running lights, DAB and Bluetooth connectivity.
Mid-spec SZ-T looks the most appealing of the editions, because it brings a seven-inch infotainment screen that incorporates Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility (so you can use selected apps from your phone, including navigation). You also get 16-inch alloy wheels and front fog lights.
The Attitude edition shares most of its spec with the SZ-T. The main changes come on the outside, where it gets different alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, and sill and bumper extensions which mimic those of the Swift Sport.
SZ5 throws in a 4.2-inch display between the instrument dials, climate control, polished alloy wheels, LED headlights and tail-lights, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry and reach adjustment on the steering wheel. It also adds Suzuki’s own navigation software to the central infotainment screen.
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The interior design is neat, and all of the switches are in sensible positions. However, while there’s no denying that it all feels tightly screwed together, the whole experience is short on flair. Even range-topping versions get swathes of hard, black plastic, with only a single colour insert in the fascia to brighten things up. Indeed, there are precious few soft-touch materials throughout the cabin; the likes of the Ford Fiesta do a better job of feeling plush in the right areas, and it’s a world behind the SEAT Ibiza in this regard.
The Swift Sport looks the hot hatch part without being garishly attention grabbing - if you don't choose Champion Yellow paint, of course. It gets a honeycomb radiator grille, carbon-fibre effect sills, twin exhausts and a small roof spoiler, plus unique bumpers and sports seats.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The most basic SZ3 spec brings DAB and Bluetooth compatibility, but the Swift’s infotainment set-up only really kicks off in mid-spec SZ-T and above. That brings a seven-inch infotainment screen that incorporates Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, allowing you to run apps - including audio streaming and phone-based navigation - via the large central display.
SZ5 adds a navigation system to the same display - but we’re not sure it’s worth the step up in trim level alone, because the software is a bit clunky to use and slow to respond to inputs (there's a significant delay as you’re trying to input destinations, for example). In fact, the whole infotainment set-up feels like it needs a quicker processor; it’s easily overwhelmed by relatively simple instructions. The resolution of that seven-inch display isn’t great, either – the graphics look clunky and the menu layouts aren’t particularly intuitive.
In this review
- 1Suzuki Swift reviewThe 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 technology - currently readingBuild 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