Suzuki Swace Ultra

Hybrid

Suzuki Swace, 2023, front, action
Suzuki Swace, 2023, side
Suzuki Swace, 2023, rear
Suzuki Swace, 2023, interior
Suzuki Swace, 2023, display screen
Suzuki Swace, 2023, boot

IF you're looking for a mix of economy, practicality and ease of driving, there's a car manufacturer out there with the very thing.

It might mean you may have to sacrifice the badge appeal of a Merc or a Beamer. But for many that's a small price to pay for saving a wad of cash.

The name of the brand is Suzuki and the model is the somewhat strangely christened Swace. It's a smart but fairly anonymous looking estate car with a reasonable £30,000 price tag and an ability to squeeze a genuine 60 miles out of a gallon of E10.

It's the blood bother of the highly praised Toyota Corolla Touring Sports, and has recently been updated with a useful injection of extra power, up 15 per cent to 138bhp.

Despite the added punch, the roomy five-door estate is one of the few petrol family-sized models that you genuinely get 60-plus mpg in everyday driving.

Like the Corolla, the Swace is a full self-charging hybrid with a 1.8-litre petrol engine that pushes out 97bhp, supported by a 70Kw electric motor, increased from 52Kw.

The result is instantly noticeable and gives the estate car that added impetus for nippy overtaking when needed.

Of course, there are a few minor cosmetic tweaks incorporated in the latest version - extra safety equipment, refreshed styling and upgraded multimedia. Happily, the extra pace has done little to diminish the economy or affect the modest CO2 emissions of 102g/km.

Suzuki has also adopted a new model structure so the two versions available are Motion and topline Ultra.

The lower cost Motion includes LED rear lights, duel zone air con, rear parking camera, heated front seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so a decent level of basic kit. The Ultra, which we review here, adds smart door locking, front and rear parking sensors and centre console with phone charger.

Sadly there's no built-in sat nav, so you must pair up your smart phone - an acceptable compromise for many.

Sleek looking, with a certain restrained elegance, the Swace is one of the roomier mid-size estates with good legroom front and rear and impressive cargo space. The low-set rear platform can soak up almost 600 litres of luggage with a secret compartment beneath the floor to house any valuables. Rear seats fold flat in a 60-40 format.

Facia design is a tad old-school and lacks some of the flair of European rivals, but it's well made and good quality materials are used.

Unsurprisingly, the revamped version drives similarly to the earlier model except with extra urge which is a welcome positive. 62mph now comes up in 9.2 seconds, almost two seconds quicker, so the additional power is easily noticeable in everyday running.

Like the Corolla, the Swace gets a CVT gearbox which provides effortless automatic changes, but feels somewhat tiresome as the revs continue to rise under full acceleration. This apart, noise levels are generally low.

While it's no sports car, it nevertheless feels well planted on the road and is happy to be hurried through tight bends and sweeping curves alike. Steering lacks a degree of feedback but is positive enough. Three driving modes are available - normal, eco and sport.

Possibly, one of the better kept secrets on the garage forecourt, the Swace delivers in the areas that matter most to family motorists in these straitened times.

£30,799

1.8-litre petrol hybrid 4 cylinder engine, 138bhp driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

112mph

9.2sec

62.7

18

102g/km

24%

3yrs/60,000 miles

4.5

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