Suzuki Swift review - Practicality, comfort and boot space
Rear 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
Many superminis will be used as two-seaters, in effect, with the rear cabin being used as a dumping ground for shopping more regularly than as a space for passengers. If this is your pattern of use, the Swift won’t disappoint; there’s room for two adults up front, and two grown-ups will be able to sit behind them for more than a short journey. If they’re over 6ft tall then they may complain about their knees hitting the front seats, however.
The Swift’s boot is a respectable size, at 264 litres - but while that’s a useful increase over this car’s predecessor, it’s fair to middling for the class. The Kia Rio’s capacity is up to 325 litres, for example, and even the latest Ford Fiesta can muster around 290 litres. However, it’s worth noting that the Swift’s boot is smaller than those two because the whole car is much shorter overall. So the choice comes down to either load capacity or ease of parking.
There’s a fair old lip to lift heavy items over, though – and while the Swift’s rear seats do fold down in a 60:40 split, they leave a pretty horrid step in the floor. It certainly wouldn’t be easy to slide heavier items into the expanded load bay.
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It’s easy to see all round the Swift, despite the relatively thick C-pillars. And there’s a fair amount of oddment space in the cabin, with decent-sized doorbins and a storage area ahead of the gear lever.
Visibility is good, thanks to the thin pillars and upright rear screen, although top-spec cars offer a reversing camera as an option. Other practical features include a small central armrest, as well as usable doorbins and a decent glovebox. You’ll also find a couple of cupholders ahead of the gear lever.
The latest Suzuki Swift performs a bit of a visual trick - because it’s actually about 10mm shorter than the car it replaces. However, and more importantly, its front and rear axles have been pushed further apart (by about 20mm); this increase in the wheelbase is designed to improve the amount of cabin space on offer, particularly to those sitting in the rear seats.
As a result, the Swift keeps its overall compact dimensions - as well as the wheel-at-each-corner stance and short overhangs that gave its previous generations such striking looks. To give you an idea, the Swift’s wheelbase is only 20mm shorter than a Skoda Fabia’s, but the Suzuki is more than 150mm shorter than its Czech rival overall.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
The Swift’s diminutive size means that it’s still not quite as spacious as the likes of the Skoda Fabia, but there is room for four adults on board – and unless you’ve got a couple of six-footers in the rear, there are unlikely to be many complaints about longer journeys.
There’s plenty of head and shoulder room for both sets of passengers, but taller rear occupants might grumble about their knees hitting the backs of the front seats.
The good news here is that this Swift’s latest platform has allowed Suzuki’s engineers to package in a much larger boot than this car has ever offered before – 264 litres. The bad news is that this is still really only average in a class where plenty of rivals are used as small family cars. A Skoda Fabia offers 330 litres, for example, and even the latest Fiesta manages 290.
Nor is there anything remarkable about the Swift’s boot set-up; in fact, there’s a fairly hefty lip if you’re trying to lift in heavier items. The back seats fold down in a 60:40 split but while doing this does free up a fair amount of extra space, it also leaves a big step in the floor that makes it awkward to slide in heavier items.
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 technologyBuild quality feels good, but the finish of even higher-spec cars is durable rather than plush
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot space - currently readingRear 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