What is it?
I'm not trying to be cryptic here, but when is a Suzuki not a Suzuki?
Bodywork, 120bhp hybrid powertrain, shiny new TNGA platform, surprisingly elegant interior fixings; everything. All is supplied by the world’s most prolific carmaker (rather than its 8th) – the result of an industrial partnership formed between the two makes in 2019 and whose initial badge-engineered progeny was the RAV4-based Suzuki Across.
You might well wonder why these cross-brand models exist in the first place. In this case, Suzuki benefits crucially from reducing its average CO2 output in Europe – even this top-spec SZ5 Swace ducks beneath 99g/km – while Toyota grows its sphere of influence.
We’ll witness a similar arrangement in 2023, when the Mazda 2 is replaced with a rebadged (but, unlike the Swace, also lightly restyled) Toyota Yaris Hybrid.
Toyota, of course, also has its long-standing partnership with Subaru, and we should expect this kind of collaboration to become more common industry-wide as emissions targets and rising development costs erode profit margins.