Suzuki Swift

It’s the all-new Suzuki Swift MkIV and this is very good news if you’re a regular follower of Top Gear, because the Swift Sport has always been one of our favourite everyday performance champions. No Sport to tell you about yet, sadly (although after a bit of gentle torture a Suzuki PR person did admit “the Sport is definitely on the way”), but there’s enough in the make-up of the regular hatchback to make us a bit excited about the forthcoming warm version of the Japanese supermini. More on that in a moment.

First, however, we probably need to clarify Suzuki’s range for you, as you’re no doubt wearing a puzzled expression, while possibly uttering the words ‘but I thought Suzuki already had a supermini, in the form of the Baleno?’ You’re right. But Suzuki would not be alone in offering a multitude of small cars of varying shapes that all seem to be of the same denomination. Look at Vauxhall, for instance: it has the Adam, the Corsa and the Viva. Ford similarly has the Ka+ and the Fiesta, as well as the EcoSport. Seems you just can’t get away with one supermini-sized offering any more, so Suzuki is hedging its bets and banging out three of the blighters, in the form of the Baleno, Ignis micro-SUV and this Swift, its longest-serving hatchback.


The Swift therefore fulfils a function whereby it provides a more chic and compact supermini as a counterpoint to the spacious-but-bargain Baleno, which is perhaps a more (how can we put this?) rational car. So you get some classic Swift design features, like the wraparound windscreen and the sloping roof, plus distinctive C-pillar treatment that now has a ‘floating roof’ effect. Even the light clusters front and rear aren’t that much different to the old car’s units, although the ‘smiling mouth’ lower front grille is not going to meet with universal rapture.

Nevertheless, the Swift is smaller (10mm shorter, 15mm lower, although 40mm wider) and considerably lighter than its predecessor, and it sits on the company’s ‘Heartect’ platform, used for the Baleno and Ignis. But a 20mm-stretched wheelbase means there’s plenty of space within and a boot that’s bigger by 54 litres than the old car’s cargo bay, standing at 265 litres with all seats in situ. That’s some clever packaging work.

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Two engines, the 1.2-litre Dualjet normally aspirated four-cylinder petrol and the much more charismatic 1.0-litre Boosterjet three-cylinder motor do the donkey work and both of them can be mated to the Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki (SHVS) system; this doesn’t add anything in terms of outright torque or performance, but it does marginally cut the emissions and gives the combined economy a little tickle upwards. The 1.2 SHVS is also an Allgrip 4×4 model, while the 1.0 SHVS is the only Swift that comes with the option of an automatic transmission. So, with all this in mind, what’s it like behind the wheel?

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What is the verdict?

“Another great product from Suzuki, the Swift is a cracking and likeable supermini”

Good news all round here, as we’re thoroughly impressed with what we’ve seen of the fourth-generation Suzuki Swift so far. It’s neatly styled and really intelligently packaged, what with its weight loss programme and small dimensions teaming up with improved cabin space, while the fabulous 1.0-litre Boosterjet engine with the mild hybrid assistance leads to a Swift that admirably lives up to its name. You don’t have to work this Japanese hatchback hard to get it to build up a good head of steam and, once the corners start coming thick and fast, it’ll hang onto as much of its pace as possible, thanks to a limber chassis with an excellent set-up.

Of course, it still works if you operate it more sensibly, as most superminis are driven in the real world, because it’s more than comfortable enough and easy-to-use too. Factor in the competitive pricing it will no doubt have once the announcement of costs is made at the end of April, Suzuki’s munificence when it comes to interior equipment, and it’s clear the Swift should be on many supermini buyers’ shortlists. Which means (and we know we keep banging on about this, sorry) that what we’re really looking forward to now is the Swift Sport. Until that arrives, probably sometime in 2018, you’ll have to make do with the 1.0 SHVS, but that’s ok, as this is a fantastic little car from a company that’s becoming fast known for such things.

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