Suzuki Swift, a fun and practical alternative to the norm
Having won brand of the year two years running, Suzuki has not rested on its laurels at all. With new dealers springing up all over the country and a massive focus on customer satisfaction and enjoyment, the new Swift keeps on flying the flag for the once-obscure Japanese manufacturer. I head to Durban to drive the new 1.2 Suzuki Swift hatch and Dzire sedan to find out if it’s as good as Suzuki claims it to be.
On the road
On the road is where the Swift excels in a way that only a lightweight car can. Weighing under 900kgs the Swift doesn’t need much power to get away quickly. Swift produces just 61kW and 113Nm but it certainly feels like more thanks to the 875kg kerb weight. It won’t break any land speed records, but just like the Ignis and Baleno, the car feels sprightly and similar to compact cars of old. The gearbox feels slick and precise and the steering has plenty feel. As Suzuki mentioned the car is driver-focused and for young aspiring boy or girl racers, this car gives easy affordable access to driving dynamics found in much more expensive and focused cars, without too much of a compromise on comfort and price.
Spirited driving aside, Swift’s fuel consumption is claimed at 4.9 litres per 100 km and a few journalists were able a to match and even beat the manufactures claims.
The interior trim is more of a sideways skip than a step forward for the Swift. The previous generation felt modern and cutting edge when it first arrived, but the with the new Swift Suzuki has opted to play it safe and build on the older format. Disappointingly, no Satnav option is available on the 1.2 Swift but MP3/USB and Bluetooth are available on GL models.
The new car is 10mm shorter and 40mm wider giving it a wider stance while interior space is up with 10mm extra shoulder room, and 23mm additional headroom.
Swift boasts 58 litres more boot space than its predecessor with 268 litres before the seats are folded.
The exterior looks similar to the older version and again, just like on the inside this is more of a sideways move than a massive leap forward. Swift is available in six colours, namely Premium Arctic White, Metallic Silky Silver, Metallic Magma Grey, Premium Midnight Blue, Solid Fire Red, and Metallic Lucent Orange.
The rear door handles have been removed for a more coupe-like look but overall not much has changed outside. New Swift looks more like a facelift than an all-new model.
With millions of Swifts being sold in India and more and more being sold here, Swift is bound to gain market share over the coming years. It’s good to know that manufacturers still value fun in a compact car. Swift strikes a great balance between practicality, fun and pricing. Now to see if the market agrees. With a starting price of just R159 000, I’d be surprised if it didn’t.
All models are sold with Suzuki’s acclaimed 5-year / 200 000 km mechanical warranty and a 2-year / 30 000 km service plan.
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GA Manual R159 900
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL Manual R175 900
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL AMT R189 900