Suzuki Swift Hatchback full 9 point review
The 93bhp 1.2-litre petrol unit feels a bit sluggish unless you give it plenty of revs, and even when you oblige, it doesn’t feel much quicker. The 1.3 diesel has less power - just 74bhp - but thanks to its good slice of low-end pull, it feels perkier than the 1.2 petrol. The range topping Sport model has a 134bhp 1.6, which makes the car quick enough to outpace any similarly priced hot hatch.
Ride & Handling
The Swift is a very entertaining little car to drive, especially the Sport version. Grip is good, and body control is great, which makes the Suzuki feel really stable in a bend. The steering, on the other hand, could do with a bit more feedback. The ride has a firm edge, too, which might put some buyers off, but it’s easier to put up with in the Sport, due to its racy character.
Road- and wind noise are obvious in every model. On top of that, the 1.2 petrol engine always needs to be worked hard, which makes life noisy, with the engine droning noisily at 70mph. The diesel engine isn’t the quietest of its type, either, but it’s more relaxed than the petrol. The hot hatch Sport model comes with a six-speed manual gearbox (rather than five-speeders in other models), so it's more relaxed on the motorway, with lower revs.
Buying & Owning
Affordability is one of the little Suzuki’s big selling points, and the pricing reflects that - it undercuts most rivals by a fair wedge. Discounts probably won’t be huge, but resale values should be pretty good. The engines have been optimised for efficiency, so it’s pretty close to the class leaders for fuel economy and emissions.
Quality & Reliability
The materials you find inside the Swift’s cabin look and feel chunky and substantial, and there’s a solid feel to the assembly. However, most surfaces are hard and scratchy to the touch, so the Swift is nowhere near the class leaders for wow-factor. Suzuki’s reliability record is no better than so-so, either, and the Swift's reliability was only rated as average in the 2012 JD Power survey.
Safety & Security
All Swifts will come with an impressive collection of standard safety kit that includes stability control and seven airbags (one of which protects the driver’s knees in a smash). That all contributed to the Swift achieving the maximum five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests.
Behind The Wheel
There’s not a lot to fault here. The deep windows and skinny pillars mean you get a great view of the road, and getting comfortable is easy (in all but the entry-level car) because there’s reach- and rake adjustment for the steering column, plus a seat-height adjuster. The dash is reasonably simple, too, so finding most functions is a doddle.
Space & Practicality
The Swift’s high roofline means you’ll have bags of headroom whichever seat you wind up in, but rear legroom isn't great compared to the roomiest superminis. Plenty of other superminis have bigger boots, too, and folding the rear seats down leaves a big step in the boot floor.
The Swift comes in three trim levels. The most basic SZ2 cars have powered front windows, remote central locking, electric door mirrors, a CD player, USB connection and steering-wheel-mounted controls. We'd go for SZ3, though, which adds air-con and alloys. SZ4 and Sport models come with climate control, Bluetooth, keyless entry, rear privacy glass and cruise control.