Suzuki Swift moves

ahead

Suzuki Swift, 2017, front, action
Suzuki Swift, 2017, front, static
Suzuki Swift, 2017, side, action
Suzuki Swift, 2017, rear, action
Suzuki Swift, 2017, dashboard
Suzuki Swift, 2017, rear seats
Suzuki Swift, 2017, Boosterjet engine
Suzuki Swift, 2017, trim
Suzuki Swift, 2017, rear lights
Suzuki Swift, 2017, controls
Suzuki Swift, 2017, instrument panel
Suzuki Swift, 2017, boot

THE Swift has been a stalwart of the Suzuki stable for more than a decade and now there's a new one on the way that's good enough to set new supermini standards.

Looking nicely familiar the latest Swift has been reworked from tip to toe and features Suzuki's cracking little Boosterjet turbo engine now available with a mild hybrid system - a first for turbo engines.

With sharp handling and a good amount of punch the new Swift has been transformed into a sporty hatch that's both fun and frugal.

And although prices have still to be confirmed it's likely that Suzuki is about to put the cat amongst the pigeons with the range running from around £10,500 to less than £14,000 for a top grade model that's comes with sat nav, adaptive cruise control and a full set of electronic safety aids.

That's enough to send a shudder through the ranks of Ford, Vauxhall and Volkswagen who dominate the supermini market.

A fraction shorter but bigger inside than the previous model the new Swift is of family-sized proportions and has greater boot space which now ranges from 265 to 579 litres - a full-sized backpack more than you could fit in before.

It all adds up to terrific value for money and although the starting price for the entry level version is dearer, the new car is now a five door model and all versions come with air conditioning.

Like for like Suzuki has got it bang on with the new Swift slotting into the Japanese car maker's line up between the Celerio city car, the larger Baleno and the new Ignis compact SUV.

The latest Swift is no longer being built at Suzuki's European factory in Hungary and comes from Japan, with the Magyar plant now concentrating on growing demand for the Vitara SUV.

However, Suzuki has made changes to the Swift for European markets and the British specification model is almost two inches wider than the ones built for Suzuki's home market.

As with the Baleno and the Ignis, the new Swift sits on Suzuki's new lightweight platform that makes the car some 120kg lighter which helps on all fronts, especially with economy.

With the mild hybrid Boosterjet engine mated to a five speed manual box Suzuki is claiming an official return of 65.7mpg with emissions of 97g/km.

Real world consumption is likely to be in the mid-50s and on our evaluation of the new Swift which took in a variety of conditions - town driving, motorways and some mountain hairpins on parts of the Monte Carlo rally course above Monaco - we saw an average of 55 to the gallon.

The car we sampled was in top grade SZ5 trim and for a little car costing under £14,000 it is high on kit and finely finished.

As well as the navigation system and automatic cruise control the car has a lane departure waning system, a driver fatigue monitor and comes with an automated emergency braking system.

That's on top of a reversing camera with a high definition display, smartphone connectivity and a full colour driver information display to supplement a centrally mounted 7.5-inch touchscreen.

The driver display not only delivers comprehensive trip data but a scroll through the pages will reveal graphics about engine power and torque and even G-force readouts. It's a bit of fun more than essential information but something that adds to the Swift's endearing character.

The trim may still be overtly plastic but it's broken up with different textures, coloured inserts and overall the interior is more than acceptable.

The quality of switchgear on the dash is above the norm and the whole car is well put together, looks durable and the seating comfortable all round.

With 16-inch alloys, some bright paint jobs and distinctive LED tail lights the SZ5 has a good amount of street cred and builds on the shaper styling of the all-new model.

A wider grille, slimmer head lamps complete with daytime running lights and a pronounced front air dam give the new Swift contemporary appeal, an effect that's carried through to the rear where it sits on good-sized haunches.

It looks well balanced and it is, exhibiting some nifty handling on twisty roads which bodes well for a Swift Sport model which has to be in the wings.

When the new Swift is released in June, the 1-0-litre, three cylinder Boosterjet hybrid set up will sit alongside a hybridised 1.2-litre petrol version and that will power an all-wheel-drive version.

Suzuki is also fitting the Swift with non-hybrid versions of both engines with the 90ps 1.2 fitted to the entry level Swift SZ3 and the 111ps Boosterjet powering the mid-range SZ-T as well as the SZ5.

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