THE Suzuki Swift is the only mainstream supermini on the market at the moment which can be had with all-wheel-drive.
It's one of five 4x4s that Suzuki offers in its current line up and gives the Japanese car maker a niche in the five-door hatch market.
Not only is the Swift 4x4 very capable and sure-footed it is also the cleanest non-electrified AWD vehicle you can buy with emissions of just 101g/km.
Priced from £15,999 and available only in one high specification trim it is a top-notch all-rounder.
The Swift 4x4 is powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine developing 90ps and hooked up to Suzuki's SHVS mild-hybrid system which helps reduce fuel consumption.
Performance figures are 0 to 60 in 12.6 seconds, a top speed of 105mph and an official fuel return of 62.8mpg.
It drives very sweetly and on the road feels more potent than the statistics suggest. Work your way through the five speed manual box and there is a good amount of urge available.
The all-wheel-drive set up is automatic and delivers drive to each wheel as required.
The result is a grippy and controlled feel which makes the Swift very competent over poor surfaces and an excellent option in wintry conditions.
The 4x4 model sits towards the top of the Suzuki's new Swift range and is some Â£4,500 more expensive than the entry level car.
However, it is fully equipped in top level SZ5 trim which includes sat nav, adaptive cruise control and a digital sound system.
The latest Swift models have not only kept their characteristic good looks but also features a modernised interior with a 4.2-inch display screen in the centre of the dash.
Boot space is unhindered by the all-wheel-drive system with luggage space ranging from 265 to 579 litres.
The clever stuff which makes the Swift so fuel efficient as a 4x4 is the hybrid system which turns the starter motor into a generator that helps reduce the amount of work the engine has to do under acceleration.
As a so-called mild hybrid system there is no pure electric mode but with SHVS - it stands for Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki - available all the time it is noticeably frugal.
We notched up an average of 48 to the gallon over a twisty hill route with some good inclines thrown in for added measure.
On loose gravel surfaces the extra grip from the drivetrain came into its own and the Swift exhibits some able traction.
Suzuki's other AWD offerings are the Ignis, S-Cross, the Vitara and the venerable Jimny which all use the company's Allgrip technology and come in a variety of sizes ranging from compact to medium sized SUVs.
The Swift is the only one of the pile that can be considered as ‘traditional' in body style and for those who don't want an SUV look - and the only 4x4 alternatives in this price bracket are the Dacia Duster and the Fiat Panda - then Suzuki's supermini is out on its own.