New Swift raises the

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Suzuki Swift hybrid, 2024, front, action
Suzuki Swift hybrid, 2024, front
Suzuki Swift hybrid, 2024, side
Suzuki Swift hybrid, 2024, rear, action
Suzuki Swift hybrid, 2024, rear seats
Suzuki Swift hybrid, 2024, engine
Suzuki Swift hybrid, 2024, display screen
Suzuki Swift hybrid, 2024, interior
Suzuki Swift hybrid, 2024, boot

WHEN it comes to small cars, Suzuki knows a thing or two.

Take the new Swift, revamped for 2024 and redefining what a supermini stands for.

The firm also knows its customers and that's why the model has sold more than nine million since its 2004 introduction.

Suzuki is determined to continue in the supermini market, given that many manufacturers pulling out of the sector. Notably, Ford with the Fiesta and the Japanese firm sees this as an opportunity to hoover up extra sales.

Built on a lightweight platform and retaining previous dimensions, it offers improved performance and economy and lower emissions and in the case of the first couple of hundred yards of driving it, recognising a much more hushed environment.

It is simply a superb value-for-money machine, that at the same time offers high levels of refinement and equipment more usually found with premium motors.

These include reversing camera, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats, a new nine inch screen and a host of safety equipment.

Suzukis generally offer bullet-proof reliability, but the Swift now offers its Service Activated Warranty for free after manufacturer warranty expires at 60,000 and until the car reaches seven years /100,000 miles provided the car is serviced by Suzuki.

Powered by a new 1.2-litre 82PS three cylinder engine with mild hybrid technology, prices start at £18,699 for the manual front wheel drive model. Step up to Ultimate and prices are still below £20,000 at £19,799.

Both offer automatic transmission as an extra, while the Ultimate has Suzuki's four-wheel drive ALLGRIP option.

Still recognisable as the Swift, it retains is muscular appearance, but exterior changes include enhanced blacked-out pillars, creating a floating roof look, an eye-catching piano-black front grille and L-shaped signature lamps.

There are redesigned LED headlamps and both models sit on 16-inch alloys.

To the rear there is an integrated rear hatch spoiler and the lights are also of the same design type as the front.

The changes are greater inside with a higher specification. For a small car, headroom is good and the latest hi-tech screen controls navigation infotainment and smartphone connectivity.

It incorporates the Suzuki Connect app, available on Android and iOS, where users can access connected services, including the ability to monitor and receive notifications about the status of their vehicle in real time, remotely lock and unlock the vehicle, and view information such as driving history and the location of their parked car.

Otherwise the interior is impressive. Hard rather than soft touch plastic finishes but the seats are comfortable with good all-round visibility while boot space is decent for the size of car. Control are robust and logically placed.

It's a pleasant place to be and on the road, the new power unit is a lively but refined performer. Accelerate hard and you get the distinct throaty roar of a three-pot engine, but otherwise engine noise is barely perceptible. The sprint 0-60 time of 12.5 seconds feels quicker and it is a fun drive.

Claimed economy is just over 60mpg, eight per cent up on the previous model. It's a figure which we almost reached on our drive clocking 59.5mpg. We won't quibble about that.

Excellent performance, but what was impressive the longer drive went on was the noise suppression. Here the firm has made big efforts to reduce NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) with an adhesive applied to the under body to reduce noise and vibration into the cabin, particularly on bumpy roads.

Safety features include six airbags as standard, stability program, driver monitoring system, dual sensor brake support, lane departure warning and weaving alert, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitor and traffic sign recognition.

It's simply packed with kit and technology and still well under £20,000, with Suzuki offering interest-free deals for a limited period.

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