SUZUKI IS on a roll. In fact, it has been ever since the modern version of Swift was launched a decade ago. Lately, we’ve had new versions of Vitara, Baleno, Ignis and Celerio which have given fresh yet more impetus to the brand. Vitara and Ignis are especially good.
But here’s the car Suzuki enthusiasts have been waiting for: new Swift. Like all cars from good companies, it is an evolution rather than a revolution with minor adjustments here and there rather than major changes.
But it has some revolutionary improvements: more power, less weight and improved economy? What’s not to like!
New Swift goes on sale in June as a five-door model only. Prices? You will have to wait til May to find out with the model going on sale in June. The current model spans £9,000 to £15,000.
It’s under the bonnet where Swift has really come on a pace. A new 1.2 litre four cylinder engine offers 65mpg and 98g/km of emissions. A 1.0 litre three-cylinder version manages 61mpg and 104g/km.
Quite interesting is a hybrid version. The 1.0 litre unit can be matched with a hybrid system (Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki, or more catchily SHVS). It’s also available as a 4x4 model.
Suzuki sold 38,000 cars last year. This year it should be 41,000 and the number is set to rise, thanks to its recent new model launches.
The Swift is the most interesting and the new model is well placed to take on some well-established models such as SEAT Ibiza, Hyundai i20, Kia Rio and Mazda2.
The arrival of the 2004 Swift was a watershed moment for Suzuki, marking it as a serious manufacturer for the first time. It has sold well for 13 years in various guises with 5.4m models created globally including more than 1m in Europe.
So, how exactly does Swift measure up? Well, it’s designed to match European tastes in terms of ride, handling and style.
New Swift is 10mm shorter than the outgoing model, while its wheelbase is 20mm longer, creating more interior room including 25 per cent more luggage capacity. It is also 15mm lower and 40mm wider, accentuating its low and wide stance. Additionally, the European Swift has a wider front and rear track than the Japanese Domestic model.
Swift fans will also notice a few hi-tech features on this car.
It has a new camera-based anti-crash system which monitors traffic and pedestrians ahead and which ‘reads’ road markings.
The laser sensor excels at monitoring shorter distance hazards and there is also night vision detection.
Inside, the cabin is classier with a central console angled towards the driver and new, much-improved seats.
The Dual Sensor Brake Support (DSBS) might not be snappily-titled but it can prevent collisions.
It is available on the SZ5 grade and supports numerous safety technologies. With DSBS, at vehicle speeds from 3mph to 62mph, if the system determines a risk of collision, it issues both an audio and visual warning.
If there is a high risk of collision and the driver panic brakes, the system deploys brake assist, increasing braking force. If the risk of a collision increases even more the system applies full automatic braking in an effort to avoid the collision or reduce damage.
Swift also has High Beam Assist, a system which dims the high beam if there is oncoming traffic, and it has adaptive cruise control, a lane departure warning system and a buzzer system to alert the driver if the car begins to weave.
Suzuki Swift SZ3 1.2 Dualjet manual
THE CAR FACTS
Price: Price to be announced in May.
Engine: A 1,242cc four cylinder engine
Transmission: Five-speed manual
Top speed: 111mph
0-62mph: 11.9 seconds
Economy: 76.3mpg combined
CO2 emissions: 98g/km
Warranty: Three years, 60,000 miles
Volkswagen Polo: Like a shrunken Golf, solid and well equipped. Styling is a little anonymous.
Kia Rio: Smart, sensible and keenly priced. Wewll equipped and it does have a long warranty.
Ford Fiesta: Good car, very popular, but on the expensive side compared to some of its rivals.