WHOEVER came up with the saying that ‘good things come in small packages' must have just driven away from a Suzuki showroom in the new Swift.
For the compact four-door supermini is small in size, but very big on style, performance, comfort, practicality and, above all, value.
Suzuki as a brand has been going from strength to strength in recent years and for a company that was most famously renowned for motorbikes at one time, it has built a very respectable reputation as a car manufacturer.
And recent sales figures are proof of that success. While sales across the UK have been plummeting mainly due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit negotiations, Suzuki has been enjoying a very positive spell.
In the UK in 2017, there were 7,748 Swift and Swift Sport models sold, but up until November 2018 the sales were up by 31 per cent and topping the 10,000 mark.
And after a few months of living with the charismatic Swift, it's very easy to appreciate its full appeal. In fact, I live in a cul-de-sac and you only have to drive 100 yards and you will see four Suzuki Swift models and a couple of S-Cross cars.
I drove the Swift in range-topping SZ5 guise powered by a 1.2-litre 90ps petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.
The car is very competitively priced at £16,499 although the dual tone paintwork added a further £650 to the cost.
When it comes to performance figures and running costs, the Swift can complete the 0-62mph dash in a respectable 12.6 seconds and tops out at 105mph.
It can deliver combined fuel economy of 62.5mpg with carbon emissions of 101g/km.
The third generation Swift is wider and lower than its predecessor so looks sportier and more dynamic in its appearance.
It has also shed some weight and is 120kg lighter. And when you consider that it's 20 per cent more powerful, 15 per cent faster sprinting from 0 to 62mph and it has 10 per cent lower carbon emissions, it's pretty clear Suzuki means business in the supermini sector with this car.
The dimensional changes have also resulted in a more practical car with extra space within the cabin and improved storage limits.
When questioned, previous owners said they wanted more boot space and the Suzuki engineers and designers have waved their magic wands and granted that wish.
The new Swift can accommodate an additional 54 litres making itsboot capacity 265 litres - drop the 60:40 split-folding rear seats and that limit increases to 579 litres.
In addition, there is a practically-sized glovebox, door pockets with a designated bottle section, an upper storage tray with lid, a centre console with storage, three cup holders and a pocket in the back of the front passenger seat.
Our Swift looked smart from any angle thanks to its grey bodywork and contrasting black roof, rear privacy glass, a rear upper spoiler, blacked out front and door pillars, rear door handles that are positioned high and flush to the bodywork, plus 16-inch alloys.
Move inside and it's easy to get comfortable with ample seat and steering wheel adjustment. And the extra space means four adults can travel comfortably - add a third rear seat passenger and it gets a little too cosy, but it's fine for youngsters.
The cloth seats in the test car were neatly styled and the car is generously equipped with plenty of techno treats to explore.
There is a seven-inch colour touchscreen along withApple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLinkplus Bluetooth, a DAB radio, a navigation system, automatic air conditioning and a good sound system.
The designers at Suzuki have rather cleverlyturned the centre console five degrees towards the driver for ease of use and the instrumentation can be personalised to display a range of data such as driving economy and energy saving figures.
So, the latest Swift looks modern, is packed with creature comforts and has the practical bases covered too, but how does it drive? The answer is very well indeed.
Yes, there are faster and more dynamic options out there but few offer such a comprehensive all-round package for such a reasonable price.
In town centres, the driver has excellent visibility which is vital as the car will often be seen on the dreaded school run with cars, prams, pushchairs, parents and children darting out from all angles. The swift is also very agile and easy to manoeuvre which makes light work of parking.
But this is a car that is very competent when faced with the open road too.
The acceleration is smooth through the five-speed manual gearbox and there is ample power on tap to overtake.
The road holding is assured and there is minimal body movement - perfectly weighted steering is another plus point. Admittedly, you will feel the occasional shudder if you hit an unexpected pothole but generally the suspension does a good job of ironing out the creases.
Another feature worth mentioning on our Swift model was the mild hybrid technology which is called SHVS (it stands for Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki).
The car has a small battery along with a motor generator combination that recovers energy when decelerating. This improves economy, lowers emissions and helps with performance generally.
On the safety front, our SZ5 model with lots of additional driver aids scores a four-star rating from Euro NCAP and features lane keep assist, high beam assist, hill-hold control and six airbags.
It also boasted Allgrip which is Suzuki's four-wheel-drive traction control system that keeps you moving during more adverse driving conditions.
All in all, the Suzuki Swift is a fabulous supermini that is great fun to drive and after clocking up in the region of 1,800 miles, I was finding it very easy to live with.
In fact, during my three-month stint I was approached by a friend who wanted a good reliable, inexpensive car for her student son. I recommended the Swift without any hesitation.
And it's clear that the Japanese manufacturer is very excited by the latest model along with its dynamic Swift Sport sibling. As a Suzuki spokesman explained: "The success of Swift continues and is largely attributed to the high level of equipment fitted as standard including six airbags, DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and air conditioning.
"Good flexibility and exceptional fuel economy are offered from either 1.0-litre Boosterjet or 1.2-litre Dualjet engines with emissions as low as 97g/km for the 1.0-litre with mild hybrid application. In addition to its stylish exterior design in a compact size of just 3,840mm long, the Swift features excellent visibility, a spacious cabin and ample luggage space. More than six million Swifts have been sold around the world since 2005."