New Swift steps up

for Suzuki

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

TAKE a couple of minutes out to scan the new car prices to find how many models cost less than £30,000.

Not too many. And the list has been further slimmed down with the chopping of the Ford Fiesta, Nissan Micra and Kia Rio.

The reason: Obviously rising costs of parts and manufacture have shoved up prices, but more than that it's our fixation with small SUVs and crossovers. Witness the surging success of the Puma and Juke.

But there still a place for the humble hatchback...so long as it's sensibly priced. In fact, Suzuki reckons there are 250,000 hatchback owners out there without a replacement for the ageing motor.

That's where the new fourth generation Suzuki Swift hybrid comes in.

With five doors, a super-frugal hybrid engine and a price tag of under £19,000 it presents an attractive option.

Make no mistake, although the little Suzi - it's no larger than the outgoing version - is a snip, it's got all the tech and kit you'd expect to find in a bigger, more expensive model.

Stuff like heated front seats, sat nav, adaptive cruise control,blind spot monitoring, alloy wheels and rear view camera are all included.

There's a further bonus - although it's not quick, it's fun and really rewarding to drive thanks partly to its good balance and excellent suspension.

Powered by a new 1.2-litre three-cylinder hybrid engine - all the rage at the moment - it pushes out a fairly modest 81bhp.

It does, however, punch above its weight due largely to its lightness, which also proves beneficial to fuel consumption with a genuine 60mpg being in reach of most owners.

The three-pot unit emits that familiar throaty throb, which though far from unpleasant, is audible under full throttle. Slacken off at cruising speeds and the Swift is pleasantly refined and quieter than many rivals.

The five-speed manual gearbox is slick and quick - one of the best boxes around.

One of the best traits of three-cylinder units is their ample torque and the Suzuki's is no exception. Push it through the gears and it will eclipse 62mph in 12.5sec, hardly earth-shattering but five per cent better than the last version. Top speed is 103mph.

Its predecessor came out in 2017, so its cabin was looking quite dated. This has been addressed and the new interior is smart and contemporary if not a work of art.

Many of the surfaces are somewhat hard and scratchy, reflecting the preference of buyers in India where the Swift is a best seller. They find the hard surfaces easier to keep clean, I was told.

Seating in the front has ample adjustment and we found them comfortable and supportive on twisty roads, where the Swift proves great fun.

The hatchback boot is a tad smaller than the competition at 265 litres, but the rear seats can be folded down to carry bigger loads when required.

Suzuki is one of the very few manufacturers of small cars to offer a four-wheel-drive option. The Swift can also be specified with CVT automatic transmission.

Two standard models are offered - the cheaper Motion at £18,699 which is likely to prove most popular, and the Ultra at £19,799 which gets polished alloy wheels, painted door trim and folding door mirrors.

With freshened styling, great economy and a much improved cabin, the 40-year-old Swift has been given new spring in its step.

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