By Mike Torpey on 2018-10-13 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Suzuki Swift 1.0
TIME to part company with our Suzuki Swift supermini after a 12-week stint during which the car has revealed its character as a mini marvel.
We've covered the best part of 1,500 miles in varying conditions and on an assortment of road surfaces - without breakdown or even a hiccup.
The journeys included being stuck in queues in near Sahara heat, cruising through quiet country lanes in idyllic summer sunshine and weathering a rain and hail storm of Biblical proportions.
Quite some mix, and a salute not only to the Suzuki's resilience but also its comfort, regardless of the number of passengers aboard.
The Swift is undoubtedly one of the coolest looking small cars on the road and in many ways can be described as a ‘little big car' in that it is actually shorter than the previous version, yet has more passenger room thanks to a longer wheelbase.
Marginally more width too means four can travel in airy comfort, while headroom is better due to a lower seating position.
But it's that standout design along with an engaging drive that has combined to make the Swift such a winner at the price.
While the Swift's 100 per cent petrol engine line-up starts with a 1.2-litre four-cylinder, our tested variant was the more spirited 1.0 three-cylinder Boosterjet unit.
This powerplant produces 111bhp and has the assistance of a mild hybrid system called Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki (SHVS).
It adds a small battery and a motor/generator set-up that can recover energy when you decelerate and slightly increase pulling power from low engine speed.
Power is to the front wheels via a five-speed manual transmission in a car that feels both lively and poised.
Weighing less than a tonne, the little Suzuki has great dynamics - if not all that much feedback from the steering - and feels well planted through both tight and sweeping bends.
Noise insulation has proved excellent too and the overall ride quality comfortable in what really feels a very grown up conveyance.
There's plenty of scope for a Swift owner to personalise their car too, with every option apart from paint choice being fitted at the showroom.
But opting for the tested SZ5 trim brings plenty of extra technology like Suzuki's first use of an advanced forward detection system including autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and high beam assist.
You also get adaptive cruise control, sat-nav, keyless start, 16-inch polished alloys and rear electric windows.
And the audio set-up for both SZ-T and SZ5 has a seven-inch touch panel display for intuitive operation.
Prices are from £11,999 for the Swift 1.2-litre SZ3 model with five-speed manual transmission rising to £16,849 for the 1.0 Boosterjet SZ5 automatic.
Suzuki Swift 1.0 Boosterjet SZ5
Mechanical: 111bhp, 998cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via five-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 121mph
0-62mph: 10.6 seconds
Combined MPG: 65.7
Insurance Group: 9
C02 emissions: 97g/km
Bik rating: 20%
Warranty: 3yrs/62,000 miles
Choose from one or more of the options to find the car for you.
Based on your search find the dealership
nearest to you.