Suzuki’s hybrid supermini, the Swift, has all the stuff that matters
It doesn’t have electric windows in the back and only the driver’s window is automatic, there are no armrests, it needs two presses of the immobiliser to open, the infotainment system sits behind a touch screen (4.2”) that looks like it was designed in 1984 and it requires more of a heavy press than a light touch.
The gears are a bit sticky, the rearview camera is actually impeded by the overhanging boot, there are no lights in the back row of seats and there are no mod cons that most other car companies now consider ‘as standard’. But guess what? I loved driving this car and would highly recommend it.
It’s a scrappy little fella that has polarising looks. Some people think it is rank. Others (like me) think it is beautifully quirky.
It oozes character and loves to be driven and comes with a surprising amount of width in the second row (I had three kids in there on the school run and they were very comfortable) and a decent boot too. And as for the head room…there’s loads of it in abundance.
It is almost like Skoda’s genius boot designers did a nixer for Suzuki, because you have no appreciation for the space in this super-mini until you sit into it.
I was so impressed with this car that I demanded I get the lead here on the Motormouth column this week to give me more space to wax lyrical about it.
All too often us motor journalists fall into an unnecessary level of expectation as we move from car to car. Like that time last summer when I had a run of eight automatics in a row and moved into a manual and found myself cursing the gear stick for a day or two as I got used to it again.
So many medium to premium brands focus on loading up their latest iterations with more tech and fancy gadgetry for example…keyless entry is now on pretty much every ‘as standard’ list these days.
Not here though. How refreshing is it to actually use a key? In an ignition!
There are now amazing ‘wow’ features here like you would have in the vast majority of new cars but that is okay with me.
The price point of €17,775 means that you are not going to rock on into a Suzuki dealer expecting fancy LED lights, wireless charging and a heated steering wheel.
But I need to stress that it isn’t stripped of absolutely everything. There are loads still on the aforementioned ‘as standard’ list and it all adds up to a car that you park in your driveway for less than €18k. There are so few cars on Irish roads that can boast that. Especially little fire crackers like this one.
So, before I tell you how it actually drives let me tell you some of the gear you get.
There is ABS with EBD and Brake Assist, six airbags (driver, front passenger, side, curtain), front and rear height adjustable 3-point seatbelts, two ISOFIX points in the rear, tyre pressure monitor, hill-hold control, electric front, a pollen filter, halogen multi-reflector head-lamps, LED daytime running lights, electrically adjustable, heated door mirrors, a ticket holder (on driver’s sun visor), USB and AUX ports, four speakers and steering wheel mounted audio controls.
Styling wise, there are decent 16” alloy wheels, body colour and exterior door handles and mirrors, rear privacy glass, a three-spoke leather covered steering wheel and chrome interior door handles.
So now let’s talk about the driving. This facelifted third-generation Swift has been fitted with the company’s enhanced 12V Hybrid system and the new K12D 1.2-litre Dualjet Hybrid four-cylinder engine offers CO2 emissions from just 111g/km (WLTP Regulation) and combined fuel consumption of up to 57.2mpg (WLTP).
It is a manual five-speed transmission and loves urban driving. It doesn’t hate motorway driving by the way, but it is definitely more at home working its way seamlessly through the lower gears. It’s got a surprising amount of torque (probably due to its weight) and while Suzuki haven’t spent millions on the seat design like some companies they are all very comfortable and safe.
The boot is about 265 litres in size and can expand to around 580 when you put the rear seats down. And as I said before – three kids (two on boosters) easily got into the back row.
I didn’t love it at the start of my test week (as my opening paragraphs may suggest) but by the end of it I was completely won over. I love it when that happens. Not unusually, it was my opinion that changed the most over the course of the week.
Because I was the lucky one who got to drive it. And thanks to the new hybrid system I clocked up around 300km and had nearly half a tank left. And for a compact super mini that is very impressive.
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