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First Drive

First Drive: Suzuki Swift

The story:
Suzuki’s Swift has always been something of an undiscovered gem, so the job of the new car is to keep the gem element while losing the undiscovered.
Key rival:Mazda 2
Suzuki Swift 1.0 Boosterjet SHVS 111 SZ5
On sale:Now

The new Suzuki Swift slightly goes against convention, being a touch shorter and a lot lighter than its predecessor. 

This new car lops more than 100kg from its kerbweight, so it’s about as light as a supermini gets, with the entry car tipping the scales at just 890kg. It might have a smaller footprint than rivals – it’s 129mm shorter than a new Fiesta – but the Ford is over 120kg heavier than the SZ5 model we’ve driven here.

Size-wise, the new Swift is 10mm shorter, 15mm lower and 40mm wider than the last car to give a more planted stance. The new platform has also helped to usefully boost boot space by 54 litres to 265 litres; it’s deep, but it’s still pretty small for the sector. At least there’s ample head and legroom in the rear seats.

Suzuki Swift 2017 cabin imageThe interior quality is fine for what is a very competitive price, with this top-spec SZ5 being not much over £14,000. That gets you climate control, adaptive cruise control and sat-nav, while the SZ-T middle spec has a rear parking camera, smartlink audio system and 16-inch alloys. Entry trim gets Bluetooth, a DAB radio and privacy glass. A bit more interior storage wouldn’t hurt though.

The engine line-up brings a pair of petrol units: a 90hp 1.2 Dualjet that’s carried over from the last car and comes in the entry SZ3 trim and SZ5 as the sole four-wheel-drive Allgrip model, or the new 111hp 1.0-litre Boosterjet powertrain. The 1.0 driven here is fitted with the SHVS mild hybrid system that recuperates energy under deceleration, deploying it to help from a standstill or during heavy acceleration. It cuts emissions by 7g/km, taking the Swift to a low of 97g/km. The hybrid is the only 1.0 available in SZ5 trim, and costs £1,500 over the non-hybrid equipped 1.0 that comes in mid-spec SZ-T trim. The extra kit and better efficiency makes that price gap seem a small one.

The engine is effective from a performance point view, and makes the Swift a very punchy little car offering good power delivery, a pleasing gearshift action and precise steering, all helped by that weight reduction and small dimensions.

The residual values predicted by KeeResources impress, although servicing and insurance costs are high.

The verdict

The Swift is a characterful, competitively priced and fun little hatchback that’s worthy of greater consideration and corporate presence.