From £10,242
Hardly an evolutionary leap but refined, good-looking, sharper in the handling and lower in the CO2

Our Verdict

Suzuki Swift 2010-2013
All-new supermini grows up; can it match the Polo and Fiesta?

The Suzuki Swift is better than ever - but is that good enough?

  • First Drive

    Suzuki Swift 4x4 first drive review

    All-wheel traction adds further appeal to sprightly supermini’s package, at a very reasonable price too
  • First Drive

    Suzuki Swift 1.2 SZ4

    Hardly an evolutionary leap but refined, good-looking, sharper in the handling and lower in the CO2

What is it?

It doesn’t look like anything more than a brief encounter with some design software but this is actually a ground-up new generation of the Suzuki Swift.

Time saved in the design department has been put to good use elsewhere. A 93bhp all-alloy 1.2-litre petrol engine resides under the bonnet and an all-new platform that uses MacPherson struts at the front and torsion beam at the rear forms the underpinnings. The result of all the improvements are headline figures of 116g/km and 56.5mpg, but in practice there are many more significant and tangible improvements to the new Swift.

What’s new?

The first and most significant change is the refinement. Aided by the quieter engine and more effective cabin insulation the Swift is now as refined as you would expect of a small petrol hatchback. Engine noise is quite hushed, particularly at normal town speeds, but even at higher motorway speeds it is wind flutter past the A-pillars that intrudes more than engine buzz.

Performance is also much better. A 0-62mph time of 12.3sec is very competitive and, as you’d expect, the 1.2 motor needs some working through the five-speed gearbox but responds well further up the rev range and is an easy unit to plunder.

It’s also a fun engine to plunder, thanks to Suzuki’s determination to keep the Swift’s short, wide footprint and the immediate handling that you get as a result. There are very few cars out there in any class that you can wring 100 per cent out of in a thoroughly entertaining, non licence-threatening way on a regular basis, but this is one of them.

Turn-in is sharp, there’s grip to spare and body roll is progressive enough that it’s not something you ever worry about. The only slightly disconcerting element is the steering, which is quick enough but becomes very light and disconnected for a moment after turn-in before it weights up.

In truth the Swift’s handling abilities will be of less concern to any buyers than its around-town usefulness and cabin quality, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint there. The ride quality is much improved in terms of its bump absorption over bigger intrusions in the road, and is just as well resolved as many in the class. Only a tendency to fidget slightly over the constant ridges and dips in many normal town roads puts it behind the class-leaders in this respect.

The cabin still shows signs of cost-cutting but in general it’s a pleasant place to be. There’s enough space to sit four adults in reasonable comfort and you get seven airbags, USB input and ESP as standard across the range.

Our top-spec SZ4 test car added to that steering-wheel audio controls, cruise control, Bluetooth and automatic headlights. The digital readout for the radio is very old-school, but that’s hardly likely to be a deal-breaker for any buyers.

Should I buy one?

Absolutely. Suzuki has pinpointed the most flawed areas in the previous Swift and near-enough eradicated them while retaining all the really good bits. That’s an extremely practical and effective way to evolve an already successful model, and the result is an extremely practical and effective supermini.

The Swift now feels more grown up and less like a budget option next to its classmates, but it is still good value, fun to drive and an unpretentious, usable hatch. Few could want more from a £12k car.

Suzuki Swift 1.2 SZ4 5dr

Price: £12,245; Top speed: 103mph; 0-62mph: 12.3sec; Economy 56.5mpg; CO2: 116g/km; Engine, type: 4cyl, petrol, 1242cc; Power: 93bhp at 6000rpm; Torque: 87lb ft at 4800rpm; Gearbox: 5spd manual

 

Join the debate

Comments
18

23 June 2010

Looks too much like the old one

23 June 2010

[quote ischiaragazzo]Looks too much like the old one[/quote] I don't think that's a bad thing - I like the styling of the current swift. I'm impressed at the engine, 90bhp and almost 90lbf of torque from a naturally aspirited 1.2 is quite impressive. 12 years ago that's what you'd get from a "decent" 1.4 and from the mainstream 1.6s.

23 June 2010

i knew this would happen, the new swift is celebrated as being lighter and stiffer than the old one, but being 15kgs lighter has not helped things along in the fun stakes, it has been hugely compromised it seems by focusing on emissions and mpg.


5dr old swift 1.3 1055kgs 90bhp 86lbft 0-62mph 11.0s 109mph

5dr new swift 1.2 1040kgs 93bhp 87lbft 0-62mph 12.3s 103mph

old 1.3 swift faster top speed with less power and more weight, old 1.3 swift faster accelerating with less power and more weight.

the power increase is just a trick to make up for its shortfalls.

the old 1.3 makes 90bhp a 5800rpm

the new 1.2 makes 93bhp at 6000rpm.

making the old 1.3 rev to 6000rpm for peak power would make an extra 3bhp.

the old 1.3 makes 86 lbft at 4200rpm

the new 1.2 makes 87 lbft at 4800rpm

again just rpm to get the better figure.

so to conclude the new eco engine/transmission is a sheep in wolfs clothing, even with lighter kerb weight to deal with its 1.3 seconds slower to 62mph! with more power and torque figures (but thats explained..)

i would say a large part of this aswell as the rpm tricks is that the gearing is ridiculously tall for the type of car, all to get good mpg and emissions but at the expense of drivability, this explains its terrible acceleration figures and the much slower top speed because even with 3bhp more it must be so long geared that it runs out of puff before the old model does.

autocar doesnt mention on the first drive if it found the gearing particularly tall, maybe they could comment?

25 June 2010

[quote theonlydt]I don't think that's a bad thing[/quote]

Me either - I think it was a great looking car, and was also pretty good too drive. I just think it's a shame that they didn't jiggle it a bit more - to me it now seems a bit bloated.

25 June 2010

[quote Autocar]The new Suzuki Swift. It looks uncannily like the old one, even though the platform and every panel are new. Buyers liked the previous Swift, goes the reasoning, so by giving them more of the same in an updated form they will surely return for a new one.[/quote] This is the standard Japanese pattern. If a model is a success then the replacement is a little bigger and a little better. Then the next one will be a radical change. Look back at the various generations of Civics and Accords.

26 June 2010

Out of all the "little" cars these actually look quite nice.

18 August 2010

i'm taking it this is a non turbo engine, which is interesting as the output is similar to various 1.2 turbo engines. it seems like the turbos which are used on these new range of small engines are completely optimised for economy rather than power. two different methods, which is best and why.

would a 1.2 NA 125bhp engine be suitable for a small hot hatch compared to a 1.2 turbo 125bhp?

i would prefer the NA of course.

i think it would be very driver specific as to which is best, but the manufacturer has to decide for us as they dont make both types available for one model. well in fact nobody makes the small engine type R type hatch (minimum 100bhp/litre NA).

i wish they would though.

will it be the japanese that will do it if they decide to go for it?

18 August 2010

I thought it was a shame when Suzuki dropped the 1.5 from the old line-up for anything but auto. Hopefully Suzuki will bring in a larger engine with a bit more power and torque for those who like cars that don't need to be wrung quite as hard.

18 August 2010

The 1.5 was a thirsty little mo, though.

I hope they have resolved all the quality/design issues from the start on this version.

Where has all Japanese design went to?

18 August 2010

Where is this one being built? Hungary - or India?

The Holden Barina version looks much sharper - shame we don't get that one here

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