By Patrick James on 2017-05-12 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Swift change a
THE Suzuki Swift has always been an excellent supermini, a million sold in Europe and 127,000 sold in the UK is testimony to that.
The latest model breaks the usual mould in that it is actually shorter than the outgoing model, but still manages more space inside thanks to a longer wheelbase with shorter overhangs.
This creates more interior room and a very significant 25 per cent more luggage capacity at 265 litres, up 54 litres. At a stroke this negates a previous criticism of poor boot space.
It is also up to 10 per cent lighter, 19 per cent more powerful and eight per cent more fuel efficient than the outgoing model.
The body is based on Suzuki's Heartect platform seen on stablemates the Ignis and Baleno, making it much lighter yet stronger with increased rigidity..
There are two engine options the 111ps, three-cylinder, one litre turbo charged petrol engine delivering CO2 emissions of 104g/km and a claimed 61.4mpg and the 89bhp 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol.
For further economy and performance, Suzuki offers what it describes as a SHVS (Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki) which incorporates a generator/starter motor which boosts acceleration and reduces emissions, down to as low as 97g/km.
Both engines are efficient, but the three pot unit is a delight with excellent pulling power throughout the range and brisk acceleration from a standing start where it can hit 60mph in around 10 seconds. Performance is further enhanced by the optional slick-shifting six speed automatic gearbox.
The car now looks sportier, with Suzuki ditching the three-door model in favour of five-door only option. The rear door handles are cleverly concealed so it still has that dynamic, coupe-like styling.
Suzuki says development of the new Swift's exterior design was based on the concept of a "bold evolution of Swift's DNA".
In other words, not that much has changed, but it does look more dynamic with revised grille and light clusters front and rear with LED daytime running lights to the front.
The black windscreen pillars and floating roof remain. The interior too has been jazzed up. It feels roomier with better head and legroom thanks to lowered seating positions and an extra 23mm vertical and lateral space.
The interior layout is simple but effective with a new steering wheel, logically placed dials and stalks and excellent build quality, with everything feeling solid and well screwed together including the sturdy plastic trim.
The central console is turned five degrees towards the driver and on higher spec models a central screen controls infotainment, connectivity and navigation systems.
On the road, the car handles well and took on a twisty moorland circuit with ease. The 1.0-litre petrol proved the most willing with excellent low-down pulling power, picking up well even in third gear. Both engines are quiet, except for the characteristic thrum you get from a three cylinder engine under acceleration.
The steering is direct and responsive while feels well planted and agile on corners.
The car is well equipped for the price with six airbags, air conditioning, DAB Radio, privacy glass, LED daytime running lights and Bluetooth fitted as standard across the range, while SZ-T models add a smartphone link display audio, rear view camera, front fog lamps and 16-inch alloy wheels.
The range-topping SZ5 adds auto air conditioning, navigation, LED headlamps, polished 16-inch alloy wheels, rear electric windows, dual sensor brake support and adaptive cruise control.
Suzuki's ALLGRIP Auto 4WD system is also available on the range-topper.
Prices start at a smudge under £11,000 and top out at £15,896 for the SZ5 automatic. The Swift goes on sale in the UK in June with all three grades and both 2WD and ALLGRIP available from launch.
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