IT'S not often that in these days of very good cars, that one still stands out head and shoulders above most of the rest in the class.
But with the latest Swift, Suzuki has come up with a gem so good in every way it outshines the best of the competition.
I know others rave about the VW Polo and the Ford Fiesta - both very good superminis - but this latest Swift takes them on at their own game and plays it better.
I recently drove the 1.0-litre Boosterjet turbo with optional six-speed automatic gearbox.
It was a knockout in just about every way and, for anyone downsizing from a larger automatic, it would be absolutely perfect.
While I had it, the Swift was showing 49 miles per gallon, which has to be fantastic. Yet it will also cover the zero to 60mph sprint in under ten seconds.
The 1.0-litre three cylinder turbo drives the front wheels in this model, but there is a 1.2 non-turbo in the range that comes with four wheel drive and yet another two-wheel-drive with an electric hybrid system.
The power unit is lovely and smooth and has a delightful sound as the revs rise. It also pulls brilliantly from just 2,000 revs.
Other cars in the class have bigger engines with more power, but this one is so willing and peppy that it's more fun than many of them.
The gearbox has a manual mode with paddles behind the steering wheel, but they turn with it and I never find those easy to use.
Better to leave the automatic gearbox to do what it does best. The changes are split-second quick and it even senses when you want gentle acceleration for best economy, changing up sooner. However, it also senses when you're pressing on and want more performance.
The steering is positive and direct with great road feel through corners and the handling and road holding are both right up there with the very best.
But this small car has a real ace in the hole because it's also really comfortable over virtually all surfaces. I know cars twice the size and price of this that don't ride as well.
It's a great small car in every way, with no down sides at all. It's a joy to drive in every situation and is the best small automatic on the market.
The SZ-5 I drove comes very well equipped and it's the only model in the range with the automatic gearbox.
The seats are supportive, there's enough legroom in the back for four to travel in comfort, and the boot is bigger than in the outgoing model.
Equipment includes keyless entry and starting, climate, sat nav with an eight inch touch screen, stability control, cruise, multi-function steering wheel, parking sensors, Bluetooth and speech recognition.