Suzuki Swift - The Third Generation
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
2016 was a record year for Suzuki. UK sales topped 38,000 for the first time and this year the aim is to do better still.
Vitara competes effectively in the growing SUV market and the Celerio is finding favour with those looking for an affordable city car.
Leading the charge for those extra sales is the all-new Swift supermini, arriving in dealer showrooms as I write.
Competition in the sector is fierce with Fiesta, Corsa and Polo leading the charge. The outgoing Swift was among my class favourites, thanks to its sporty handling, high level of equipment and affordable pricing.
Suzuki has restyled the Swift to give it a new look. Still recognisable and distinctive but perhaps not as sporty-looking as before.
A new platform provides a sturdy base, allowing for a strong but light body shell atop. Overall weight has dropped by over 100kg to the benefit of performance and economy.
The new Swift is 10mm shorter than the outgoing model, while the wheelbase is up by 20mm. Clever packaging has resulted in more interior space, especially in the boot which has grown by around 25% to 265 litres.
There is now head and legroom aplenty, enough for four six foot adults to travel in comfort, not something the Swift's predecessor could manage. The driving position has been improved especially in top SZ5 models which boast rake and reach adjustment to the steering.
There will be no three-door version of the Swift, but by choosing to pillar mount the rear door handles, the new Swift boasts an almost coupe-like look. I doubt would-be buyers will mourn the loss.
Entry level model is the SZ3 which weighs in at a very competitive £10,999. Equipped with the now familiar 1.2-litre 90PS Dualjet engine, there is no shortage of standard equipment. Air conditioning, privacy glass, DAB radio with Bluetooth connectivity, daytime running lights and six airbags are the highlights.
With an engine that promises up to 65.7mpg on the combined cycle and peppy performance, I would suggest many will find no need to spend more.
I'm probably wrong as Suzuki expect the middle grade SZ-T to be the best selling model. Adding at least £2,000 to the price, the Swift now boasts alloy wheels, a Smartphone link audio display, rear parking camera and front foglamps.
SZ-T comes fitted with Suzuki's feisty 1.0-litre Boosterjet engine, possibly reason in itself to pay for the upgrade. Around one and half seconds quicker to 62mph (10.6 seconds) than the Dualjet, this engine suits the Swift rather well, injecting some fizz into the driving experience. Punching above its weight, the diminutive powerplant made light work of the hilly Peak District test routes.
Driven with some considerable verve, the trip computer economy reading remained resolutely north of 50mpg.
Top spec SZ5 model pricing starts at £14,499 and all the launch event cars were thus equipped. Automatic air conditioning, satellite navigation, rear electric windows, polished alloy wheels and adaptive cruise control now put in an appearance.
With SZ5 comes the option to ditch the slick five-speed gearbox for a six-speed automatic (£15,849). It impressed with ease of operation and smooth changes, yet it loses nothing in terms of performance to its manual sibling. Economy drops by around 10% though, not unexpected.
Rural motorists will perhaps be drawn to the ALLGRIP all-wheel drive option, though this model eschews the Boosterjet engine for the more conventional Dualjet offering. Although not tested off road or in tricky conditions, past experience would suggest ALLGRIP equipped Swifts should prove to be unstoppable.
Also available for those choosing an SZ5 Swift is Suzuki's advanced SHVS hybrid system for the Boosterjet engine. The clever technology boosts economy and lowers emissions to less than the all important 100g/km CO2 mark.
The previous generation Swift was a great driver's car and for the most part the all-new model continues the good work. Handling is fun with the 1.0-litre turbocharged Boosterjet engine providing enough power to exploit it to the full.
For the most part the ride remains comfortable, though deeper potholes did expose some flaws in the suspension set up, a little disappointing as the car has been set up for European roads. I guess ours are worse than most.
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Safety sells and the new Swift boasts some technology not normally associated with this class of car.
An Advanced Forward Detection System uses camera and laser technology to provide autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and high beam assist.
It all works well in practice, the shame is that it only comes with top SZ5 trim and is not offered as an option elsewhere.
The new Swift is a well-rounded car that should be on the list for anyone looking for a new supermini. A range of frugal engines, a spacious interior and good driving manners count in its favour and if that is not enough then the attractive pricing just might be.
Strong residual values are forecast too (41% retained after 3 years/60,000 miles).
Pop along to your friendly Suzuki dealership and take a look. The first batch of cars should be arriving any day now and I would expect them to sell ..... swiftly!
Third generation Suzuki Swift
Global Swift sales in excess of 5.4 million units
Prices start at £10,999 for SZ3 model
Strong CAP residual value - 41% over 3year/60,000 miles
Metallic paint add £485, dual tone £650
Well equipped inc Air Con, DAB radio, Bluetooth
Range of frugal engines with low CO2 emissions
SZ5 available with ALLGRIP Auto AWD system
Suzuki Swift - The Third Generation, 11th May 2017, 14:34 PM