Suzuki is a quiet giant – a mass maker of cars like the Suzuki Swift, motorbikes, SUVs, ATVs and outboard motors, yet its position in our consciousness sits well beneath Subaru and Mitsubishi, never mind Nissan, Honda and Toyota.

The first Swift actually dates from 1983 and was unusual back then for appearing under an amazing variety of guises: Chevrolet Swift/Sprint/Metro, Geo Metro, Holden Barina, Pontiac Firefly, Maruti 100, Subaru Justy, Suzuki Forsa and Suzuki Jazz. It was also extraordinary for surviving for 12 years and for briefly running alongside its 2000 dual-named Swift/Ignis replacement. 
The 2004 Swift that replaced these was vastly more competitive, but shorter lived.

Suzuki has taken the evolutionary route with this Swift. It requires a hard stare to distinguish it from the old version, whose style it emulates in almost every detail. There’s no stand-out area of improvement here. Instead, the Swift has incrementally advanced on multiple fronts and, as we’ll see, mostly to good effect.

The new range starts with a three-door 1.2. The 
five-door 1.2 SZ4 is the most expensive petrol model in the line-up, while an automatic gearbox adds further to the price. A 1.3-litre diesel is only available in SZ3 trim.

Such are its merits, the warm hatch Suzuki Swift Sport is reviewed separately elsewhere on the site.

Top 5 Superminis

  • Ford Fiesta
    Fiestas sold in Europe are ostensibly the same as those sold in America and Asia

    Ford Fiesta

    1
  • Mini Cooper
    Its various improvements make the new Mini more desirable and practical than ever before

    Mini Cooper

    2
  • The Mazda 2
    The Mazda 2 name dates back to 2002. This latest version showcases the firm's Skyactiv technology and 'Kodo' styling

    Mazda 2

    3
  • Volkswagen Polo
    The Polo is a polished, mature-feeling, spacious supermini

    Volkswagen Polo

    4
  • Renault Clio
    Distinctive styling details are taken from the showstopping Renault Dezir concept car

    Renault Clio

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Ford S-Max Vignale
    First Drive
    24 June 2016
    The Ford S-Max Vignale is the company's premium executive express. Can it really be worth the extra over the standard S-Max?
  • Volkswagen Scirocco GTS
    First Drive
    23 June 2016
    Still a really fun and likeable coupé but the extra power doesn't justify the VW Scirocco GTS's high price
  • Ford Fiesta ST200
    First Drive
    23 June 2016
    Fresh from testing it abroad, we've just got our hands on the Ford Fiesta ST200 for a blat on UK roads
  • Alpina B4 Biturbo Convertible
    First Drive
    23 June 2016
    Alpina's appealing BMW M4 alternative arrives in convertible form with a more relaxed nature than BMW's M car but still impressive performance and handling
  • Infiniti QX30
    First Drive
    21 June 2016
    Likeable for its fair refinement and comfort, and that quirky rarity factor, but small inside and with merely adequate handling