Yes it is a very-recognisable and affordable estate with bucket loads of space, but it is not the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports that you think it is.
This €30,995 bad boy is the brand new Swace as the first-born child from the new Suzuki/Toyota marriage. At the big fancy launch in Wicklow’s Druid’s Glen earlier this year the Suzuki bosses didn’t shy away from the new deal and where the Swace DNA stems from. In fact – it was seen as a badge of honour.
And to be fair to the brand, that is more far more prominent in the two-wheeled vehicle markets rather the more competitive four-wheeled ones, they have offered up Irish buyers a real conundrum here with this.
At just under €31k it is not as cheap as the entry-level Corolla estate but Suzuki are at pains to explain that their most basic model comes loaded with features that are usually paid-for add-ons. So, really it’s a massive saving! Right?
The SZ-T line that I had for the week was a 1.8 litre hybrid and offered 120bhp. Let’s just say that if it is performance you are looking for then this is not for you. Suzuki claims you can do 0-100km/h in 11.1 seconds and I will have to take their word for it because I was never in the mood to test it out.
I was however only interested in how this worked as a family car from the viewpoint of comfort and economy and the more I drove it the more I fell for it.
The burden of having to explain the difference of this to the Corolla at the start of the week became more of a boast by the end of the seven days. That sounds bonkers but it is true.
I took great joy in explaining the new marriage and the differences laid on by Suzuki and that naturally lead to me talking about the brand as one of my guilty pleasure brands in the motor industry.
They won’t want me telling you this but for the last four years they have only been in and around 20th position in the car market here in Ireland with around 1pc of the overall sales.
But if you ask any seasoned motor journalist about cars like the Ignis, the Swift, the Vitara and the utterly brilliant new Jimny and their eyes will light up.
And while the Swace doesn’t tick the ‘design’ box here as it is a carbon copy of the Corolla, Suzuki is bringing the well-earned street cred form above cars and injecting it into an all-around very good family estate.
Okay, so it’s not a complete copy and paste job here. There is the slightly-redesigned front bumper, brand badging (obviously) and LED headlights.
It is a smart, well-built car and offers enough tech and features without overdoing it. Equipment levels are generous and include climate control, heated seats, a rear parking camera, a seven-inch colour digital information display and an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen.
While the graphics are not the most modern and easy to use (most people use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto these days anyway), the eight-inch screen is easily visible from its location high up on the dash. They may have saved a few quid on buttons and dials as they can be a bit finicky.
The screen responds well to touches, but I found that the transition from one page to another was a bit slow.
Standard safety kit for the Swace is impressive and includes radar cruise control, Road Sign Assist, a lane departure warning, a vehicle sway warning and lane assist and steering assist functions.
There are roof rails, body-coloured door handles and rear privacy glass.
The boot boasts 596 litres of space (not the best, but also not the worst) which multiplies to 1,606 litres when the rear seats fold completely flat which adds to the car’s flexibility…and is a particular bonus when ferrying around kids and bulky items of luggage.
It is also a smooth and easy drive and almost ventures into the ‘fun’ category, but that is boosted greatly by the fact that you are moving from A to B in a car to be proud of and that you want to be asked about.
I had a full car most mornings on the school so three grown kids in the back and one in the front on a regular basis. And none of them complained about the spacing.
There’s an automatic in-built snobbery towards smaller car brands and there is also a snobbery towards estates. So the Swace is up against it…but believe me when I say that this is worthy of your consideration.