Suzuki Swift review: ‘A proper terrier’
Price: from £11,499
Top speed: 121mph
0-62mph: 10.6 seconds
If our self-driving future comes to pass, will we ultimately be left slumped in the front seat like so many de-skilled chimps? Possibly, but there’s a lot of trial and error to get sorted before then. Here’s my small contribution towards an understanding of robo error. Driving through town slowly in the new Suzuki Swift the other night the car’s sensors assumed a man walking along a line of parked cars was about to leap into my path. The Swift abruptly initiated a full balls-out screeching emergency stop.
It was very impressive except for one thing – the pedestrian turned the other way. Fine, you might say, better safe than sorry. But the system very nearly caused the bloke following me to shunt into my rear. He hopped out of his car to shout at me. I explained it was all the fault of the advanced safety system. But I guess from the blizzard of C-words he wasn’t convinced.
A shame really, as the episode was a single blot on the very pleasant week I shared with the car. The all-new vehicle is the fourth generation of Suzuki’s evergreen Swift. The Japanese carbuilder is now something of a small car specialist. At the moment it has four on offer, the Ignis, the Celerio, the Baleno and now this latest Swift. Despite their diminutive stature, each is quite different, from a micro SUV to a sensible compact hatch. The Swift is definitely the heart-throb of the band, and its wraparound windscreen and “floating” roof effect give it a funky vibe. The “grinning mouth” lower front grille, however, might not be everyone’s cuppa.
The car is wider than before, making it remarkably spacious. It’s also been on a diet and has lost 120kg – that’s like leaving 60 building bricks at home every time you head out – which massively improves economy and emissions, as well as performance and handling. Staying one step ahead of the dreaded diesel, the engine line-up is entirely petrol. It starts off with the four-cylinder 1.2-litre Dualjet, which will certainly get the job done, but far more interesting is the three cylinder 109bhp 1-litre Boosterjet. It’s super snappy for such a small unit; a proper terrier of an engine.
Interior finishing is bright and easy to live with. The real test of any small car is how it treats its back-row passengers. In the Swift there is plenty of head, shoulder and knee room – and the boot is more than big enough. You can fold the back seats flat, too, if you need to do some lugging.
All in all, it’s a small car destined to make a big impact.
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