Despite its tiny displacement, it’s a muscular engine. Its 147lb ft arrives at a lowly 2000rpm courtesy of its turbocharger, so there’s plenty of low-down shove. From a standstill, it’ll get to 62mph in 8.8sec and hita claimed top speed of 122mph, so it’s certainly not the fastest car in the world, but it’s the manner in which the Up’s diminutive footprint helps provides the illusion of speed that is one of its most enjoyable traits.
Regardless of how fast you’re travelling, the Up never feels anything less than entertaining.
By contrast, the Suzuki has a far more sober demeanour, arguably the product of a powerplant that seemingly has more in common with a blender than an effervescent, hot-hatch four-pot. Still, despite itsuninspiring soundtrack, the Swift is faster than the Up by a noticeable margin, and because its peak torque is available higher up the rev band, at 2500rpm, it also encourages a greater level of interaction with its precise, if a little forgettable, six- speed manual gearbox.
Through the bends, both cars feel as though they suffer slightly from their taller statures and relatively slab-sided shapes. Their inherent top-heaviness leads to a noticeable amount of lateral roll through faster corners, causing them to hunker down on their outside wheels. That said, neither feels particularly wayward or short on grip, and the adjustability and responsiveness of their respective chassis makes both of them plenty entertaining at speeds that won’t get you into trouble with local law enforcement.
Despite the playful nature of the way each car goes about tackling a challenging section of road, though, neither has particularly memorable steering. The Swift’s rack feels artificially heavy yet lacks feel, and although the Up’s is weighted more naturally, it’s equally as tight-lipped about what the front wheels are doing as the Swift’s.
It’s also worth touching on practicality. The Swift is the larger of the two, so it understandably offers more space in the rear, as well as a larger boot. Don’t write off the Up as grossly claustrophobic, though. Two adults will fit in the back reasonably comfortably – over short distances, anyway – and its 251-litre boot is only 14 litres less capacious than the Swift’s. But which of the two is the one to go for? Well, a brief summary goes like this: the Swift is the quicker but it lacks the Volkswagen’s up-and-at- ’em zestiness.