Swift can swoop for

sales success

Suzuki Swift hybrid, 2024, front
Suzuki Swift hybrid, 2024, nose
Suzuki Swift hybrid, 2024, side
Suzuki Swift hybrid, 2024, rear
Suzuki Swift hybrid, 2024, interior
Suzuki Swift hybrid, 2024, boot

THE big guns at small car specialist Suzuki are taking aim at a massive opportunity being presented by the launch of the company's latest Swift hybrid supermini.

Now into its fourth generation, the Swift has been a flag-bearer for the Japanese brand dating back some 40 years.

But many of Suzuki's principal rivals are pulling out of the supermini scene to concentrate on electric vehicles and SUVs.

By Suzuki's reckoning it means that around 28 per cent of buyers, previously owners of cars like the Ford Fiesta, Nissan Micra and Kia Rio, will soon have to look elsewhere for a combustion-engined small car.

These are people who either don't want or don't yet feel ready for a switch to electric - and also happen to love small, economic petrol engines.

There's a huge gap in the market, which is where the new Swift comes in, complete with a new 1.2-litre mild hybrid powerplant, better fuel economy, improved tech and bags of style.

This not to say that Suzuki is taking a step away from its electrification strategy, quite the opposite. In fact the company has pledged to spend some £12.4 billion in battery technology up to 2030.

Its first battery electric vehicle is due to arrive next year and will be followed by five more models in as many years. In the meantime the new Swift is taking centre stage.

Retaining the same compact dimensions as the outgoing model, the newcomer already has some serious numbers that place it ahead of its predecessor and the immediate competition.

Available in a simple two-trim line-up of Motion and Ultra grades, the Swift starts at £18,699 for an entry-level manual model - expected to account for 40 per cent of sales - while specifying Ultra trim adds £1,100 to the tab.

Motion variants with a CVT automatic transmission cost £19,949 and an optional ALLGRIP four-wheel drive will be introduced on Ultra models with manual transmission later this year.

Interestingly given the increasing swing towards drivers - especially those relatively new to the roads - favouring automatic gearboxes, Suzuki predicts 35 per cent of Swift sales will be CVTs.

Under the bonnet, the three-cylinder mild hybrid unit offers up to eight per cent better fuel efficiency than before with an official Combined return of 64.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 99g/km for the Motion manual. The CVT's fuel figure is 58.8mpg.

With its blacked out pillars, L-shaped signature lamps, piano-black front grille and wide rear bumper design the 2024 Swift certainly has some genuine presence on the road, made all the more striking if you opt for the two-tone effect of a separate roof colour - a £650 option.

Inside, the seats have a more sculpted look, with additional support coming from higher and thicker front seat headrests while a nine-inch infotainment display is standard and the centre controls are angled towards the driver.

Standard kit exceeds that of many rivals' most popular models and includes the likes of 16-inch alloys, sat nav, rear view camera, keyless entry and start, LED headlamps and a wireless smartphone link display audio.

Safety features comprise a blind spot monitor, lane departure warning plus weaving alert, a driver monitoring system, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control and upgraded brake support.

Out on the road the Swift has long been a fun car to drive with terrific dynamics and our Ultra manual model in Burning Red with contrasting black roof was no exception on the recent launch through the towns and villages of the Cotswolds.

Power is to the front wheels via a five-speed transmission and, as with previous models, it feels well sorted through both sweeping and tight bends.

If there was a criticism of the outgoing model it was that the car could feel a little too light at times, but the latest Swift has a more substantial feel to it - a budget offering with a more premium appeal.

It feels quite lively too, the manual posting figures of 0-62 in 12.5 seconds with a top speed of 103mph. Insurance group is 27.

Suzuki Connect connected services are offered free of charge for three years from the vehicle registration date and a Service Activated Warranty is also offered free after the manufacturer warranty expires and until the car reaches seven years/100,000 miles.

Suzuki sees the arrival of the new Swift as the evolution of an icon and with more than nine million sales across 119 countries in the bag since 2004, it clearly has the formula for success firmly in place.

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