2014 Suzuki Swift SZ4 review

Suzuki has given its dependable supermini a mid-life face-lift to help it keep up with class front-runners, such as the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Up.

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Suzuki’s Swift has been a popular model for the brand thanks to its low purchase price, nippy petrol engines and engaging handling.

Now, with the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Toyota Yaris both getting face-lifts, Suzuki has chosen to follow suit. You’ll be hard pressed to notice any exterior differences, bar the new LED daytime running lights and front foglights, which are now standard across the Swift range.

Inside, top-spec cars now get a sat-nav unit and DAB radio, on top of automatic air-con, cruise control and keyless start. A gearshift indicator has been added across the line-up, along with a tyre pressure-monitoring system to improve the Swift's safety credentials.

Due to slow sales, the 1.3-litre diesel has been dropped. Buyers now only get the choice of a 1.2-litre petrol or a 1.6-litre petrol that's in the Swift Sport hot hatch. As before, you can also specify four-wheel drive on 1.2-litre models for added safety in slippery conditions.

What’s the 2014 Suzuki Swift SZ4 like to drive?

Exactly the same as before, which is certainly no bad thing. The 93bhp 1.2 petrol we tested powers the Swift from 0 to 62mph in 12.3sec. Unlike some of its turbocharged rivals, this engine doesn’t have much low-down shove, and requires lots of revs to keep pace with other traffic.

Once it is up to speed, the 1.2 sounds strained, making longer motorway journeys a chore. Road and wind noise are also a problem at higher speeds, being a constant presence above 60mph. This is the end of the negative points, though, because the rest of the driving experience is much better.

You very quickly get into a rhythm with the car; the pedals and gearchange are light and easy to modulate, making pulling away from a standstill smooth and predictable. Body control is excellent, and the steering is precise and nicely weighted.

As before, the ride is quite firm by class standards, but not so much that you’re thrown about the cabin. The suspension jitters over broken surfaces, and larger bumps can be felt clearly through the seat.

What’s the 2014 Suzuki Swift SZ4 like inside?

Suzuki may have added sat-nav and infotainment features to this top-spec Swift, but it hasn’t done enough to make the cabin feel anything other than basic, because hard black plastic covers almost every surface. Nonetheless, all the bits you touch every day, such as the steering wheel, audio controls and gearlever, feel solid.

The infotainment touch-screen handles Bluetooth, audio and navigation; it's relatively easy to use and responds quickly to driver inputs. That said, it feels like it was tacked on as an afterthought, and seems out of place in the cabin as a result.

Visibility is good all-round, and combined with the Swift’s compact dimensions to make parking a doddle. On this SZ4 version, the steering wheel adjusts for height and reach, so drivers of all sizes should be able to get comfortable. Passengers in the back should also be relatively satisfied with the headroom on offer, if less so with the rear legroom.

Equipment levels are seriously competitive across the Swift range, with a USB input, electric windows and mirrors on SZ2 trim. SZ3 brings air-conditioning, 16-inch alloys and Bluetooth audio capability.

Should I buy one?

Considering the VAT-free deal Suzuki is currently offering, the Swift is certainly great value. Almost every model in the range can be had with £2000 off, undercutting its rivals on price and equipment.

The interior, however, is quite far behind its competitors' now, and despite the Swift being cheaper and better-equipped than some rivals, it is neither as refined nor as cheap to run as a Hyundai i10 or Volkswagen Up.

We’d recommend buying the Swift in SZ3 trim because it's still very well equipped with air-con, alloys and Bluetooth, and it’s £1400 cheaper. This SZ4 just doesn’t feel high enough in quality to merit its extra price.

What Car? says...




Rivals:


Ford Fiesta

Volkswagen Up

Suzuki Swift SZ4

Engine size

1.2-litre petrol

Price from

£14,039

Power

93bhp

Torque

87lb ft

0-62mph

12.3 seconds

Top speed

103mph

Fuel economy

56.5mpg

CO2

116g/km

 

 
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