Gareth Butterfield is impressed with the new Suzuki Swift
THIS is the new Suzuki Swift. And hopes are high that it’s going to be as good as, or better than the old Suzuki Swift, which surprised the motoring press back at its launch by being a really rather good car.
It was likeable in a simple, dynamic and non-fussy way. It handled well, looked good, cost relatively little and quickly became Suzuki’s biggest seller.
In creating its successor, Suzuki could so easily have combed over its ageing lines and slapped on a heavy dose of lippy, but they haven’t. In styling terms at least, they’ve gone in a bold new direction.
It looks bulbous, but in a cute, curvy way. It looks wider than it is, thanks to a comparatively narrow roof juxtaposing against flared wheel arches and the lights, front and rear, are large and almost cartoon-like. Even before you get in it it looks fun. I like it.
It is bigger than the old Swift but only in its width. In length and height its actually slightly smaller. This saves weight in what was already a lightweight supermini, and that bodes well for fuel economy and handling.
So it’s shaping up rather well. And inside it’s a success story, too. The interior strikes a nice balance between stylish and simple and, while some of the plastics feel cheap, they don’t feel nasty.
It’s practical too. Rear leg and headroom is good, there’s a decent boot and the folding rear seats give extra space – although it’s a shame they don’t fold flat.
There are two engines to choose from, a 90PS 1.2-litre DualJet petrol which is carried over from the old car and a much better 111PS 1.0-litre BoosterJet petrol.
Its light weight helps its handling. The old sport was fun and this feels fun too, though perhaps in a slightly different way.
No problems with the motive power, then, and no real problems with the rest of the dynamics, because – with the entire range weighing less Its light weight makes it feel lively and helps make up any short-comings in the power department. Rumour has it there’s a Swift Sport in the pipeline and this is likely to expose any shortcomings, but from the driving seat of the lowlier versions it feels pretty good.
With a starting price of £11,499 the Swift is perhaps more cheerful than cheap – it’s obviously more expensive than its predecessor – but, that said, you do get plenty for your money and supermini ownership seems to become more expensive with every new car launch, so the Swift is hardly prohibitively priced.
Standard equipment includes air conditioning, Bluetooth and DAB radio and the top-spec SZ5 models come with the option of an automatic transmission and even all-wheel drive.
So the five-door-only new Swift has moved the game on. Not by a country mile, but it really only needed to improve upon an already successful formula. That said, it’s good to see Suzuki haven’t lost their way.
The Swift can happily retain its title as one of the best small cars on the market. It might be a sector flooded with great little cars, but this is still among the best.
Now hurry up, Suzuki, and build the Sport.