Suzuki Swift brings to the compact car segment a blend of eye-catching good looks, Japanese quality and European-inspired driving dynamics, and with prices starting at £9,190, excellent handling and 60 mpg-plus fuel economy from the 1.3 DDiS, it has the individuality to attract the most discerning of supermini customers.
The model line-up offers a choice of 1.3-litre petrol engine in three and five-door body styles, and a 1.3 SZ3 DDiS diesel engine in five-door guise. The 1.3-litre petrol model is available in SZ2, SZ3 and SZ4 grade; the 1.5-litre petrol is available as a five door with automatic transmission only.
The distinctive styling and spacious interior are complemented by a comprehensive specification. All models feature front, side and curtain airbags, radio/CD player, remote central locking and immobiliser, electric front windows and mirrors, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and tinted glass, while SZ3 models and 1.3 SZ3 DDiS gain front fog lamps, electric heated door mirrors and manual air conditioning. SZ4 models gain keyless start, automatic air conditioning and 15" alloy wheels.
1.3-litre petrol engine
Suzuki Swift is engineered to excel in urban driving or on twisting country roads. Its petrol engine, a 92PS 1.3-litre has been selected for strong performance at low and mid-range engine speeds.
The engine delivers enjoyable driving characteristics, with the Suzuki Swift 1.3-litre dispatching 0-62mph in 11 seconds. Top speed is 109mph. This performance is matched by strong fuel economy with all models easily exceeding 40mpg in the combined cycle driving, including the 1.5 automatic, which returns 43.5mpg. Economy rises to 48.7mpg for the 1.3-litre.
Smooth, efficient and economical 1.3-litre diesel
The 1.3-litre common rail diesel engine with turbocharger and intercooler gives smooth progress even at low engine speeds. With the wide spread of torque peaking at 190Nm at just 1,750rpm it provides superb flexibility and kind-to-the-wallet running costs. Fuel economy adds to the strong value proposition, with an official 61.4mpg in combined cycle driving.
The same five-speed manual transmission is used in both petrol and diesel-powered models, with suitably revised gear ratios for the diesel. It gives satisfyingly firm and quick gear shifting thanks to an enhanced linkage arrangement. Unusually for the Suzuki Swift's segment, the four-speed automatic available a standard on the five door 1.5-litre SZ4 has a gated shift lever design.
Global outlook, European focus
Suzuki Swift was the first product of Suzuki's radical innovation programme to strengthen its position as both a leading compact car manufacturer and one of the world's foremost motorcycle brands. It introduced new ideas and design thinking that will define many more new Suzuki models in years to come.
Suzuki Swift is global in outlook and production - it is built in Japan, Hungary, China and India - but its development has been focused firmly on the demands and tastes of the European market in terms of design and driving characteristics. Indeed, the design team's first step was to establish a base in Europe, where it was able to gain a valuable insight into the European mindset and draw inspiration from the European environment. And much of the chassis development and refinement was based on real-world intelligence gained through extensive road and track testing across the continent.
The result is an innovative, sporty and elegant design with genuine international appeal. As a new departure in Suzuki design, Swift develops styling themes first seen in the Concept-S and Concept-S2 show cars, and demonstrates the company's desire to develop original interpretations of established market segments.
The stylists deliberately shunned the trend towards 'one-box' uniformity, instead producing a substantive design with a distinct bonnet. Muscular, flared wheel arches, bold sills, wheels pushed out to each corner, and a broad-shouldered beltline that continues all the way to the tail lights express the car's inherent stability and dynamic appeal.
The strong curvature of the nose together with the square cut openings of the wide, deep spoiler and mesh grille add further distinction. The black A and B-pillars create a wraparound glasshouse effect, and the headlamp housings sweep back into the wings to mirror the shape of the tail lights.
The distinctive shape of the tailgate combines with the large rear bumper to give the lower part of the body a solid appearance. At the top of the tailgate, the roof's trailing edge is shaped to form a spoiler, improving aerodynamics and saving a valuable 1kg over a conventional bolt-on item.
The SZ4 models feature keyless entry for simple door unlocking/locking and engine start-up. With this system, there is no fumbling to insert a key in the lock or press a remote, all you need to do is have the key in your pocket or bag and press the small black button on the door handle to unlock. Once inside the car, the ignition barrel can simply be twisted to start and stop the engine. When parked, press the door handle button once and the car will be locked and immobilised.
And to make life even easier, particularly when carrying shopping bags or luggage, the tailgate has an electric catch that is released with just a light touch.