By Patrick James on 2017-08-20 - 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.
Suzuki Swift 1.0 ZS5
THE latest version of Suzuki's excellent Swift supermini breaks the usual revamp mould.
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.
There are two engine options, Suzuki's impressive three-cylinder, one litre turbo charged Boosterjet petrol engine delivering CO2 emissions as low as 104g/km and a claimed 61.4mpg and the 89bhp 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol.
For further economy and performance, Suzuki offers the Swift as 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, while an all-wheel drive version is also available.
Both engines are efficient, but the three pot 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 slick-shifting six speed automatic gearbox featured on this model.
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 interior too has also 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 this higher spec model the central screen controls infotainment, connectivity and navigation systems.
On the road, the car handles well and took on twisting narrow lanes with ease. The 111ps power unit proved willing with excellent low-down pulling power, slipping effortlessly through the automatic gearbox.
The Boosterjet engine is quiet enough, except under hard acceleration where you the characteristic thrum from a three cylinder engine. Claimed economy is around 56mpg with low CO2 emissions. Throw in a low insurance rating and you have pretty economical motoring.
The steering is direct and responsive while and the car responds well to even minor adjustment. It feels well planted and agile on corners, while the ride, although firm, is never uncomfortable.
Interior space is decent with four adults seated pretty comfortably thanks to the increased wheelbase.
The boot is now what you would expect to a decent supermini and folding seat options open up the space even more.
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 SZ5 models add a smartphone link display audio, rear view camera, front fog lamps and 16-inch alloy wheels.
The range-topper also adds auto air conditioning, navigation, LED headlamps, polished 16-inch alloy wheels, rear electric windows, dual sensor brake support and adaptive cruise control.
Suzuki Swift 1.0 ZS5 Boosterjet Auto
Mechanical: 111ps, 998cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 118mph
0-62mph: 10 seconds
Combined MPG: 56.5
Insurance Group: 9
C02 emissions: 114g/km
Bik rating: 21%
Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles
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