We use cookies on whatcar.com to improve your browsing experience and to provide you with relevant content and advertising, by continuing to use our site you agree to this. Please see our privacy policy for more details. Continue

What Car? says

2 out of 5 stars

For It's very cheap

Against It's dull, dated and not very good to drive

Verdict Basic motoring, basic price: cheap and cheerful

Go for… 1.0-litre

Avoid… The GTi

Suzuki Swift Hatchback
  • 1. Rust can be a problem on older cars - look for bubbling under the paintwork
  • 2. Check for evidence of a cracked cylinder head - it will mean a costly repair
  • 3. Look for uneven tyre wear - it's a possible sign of suspension or steering trouble
  • 4. The cabin is sparse and unappealing
  • 5. 1.0-litre engine is the best choice - it's the cheapest to run
advertisement

Suzuki Swift Hatchback full review with expert trade views

If you want to pay the bare minimum for your next car, and you're prepared to accept the bare minimum of car for your money, then this Suzuki Swift could fit the bill.

It's an exceedingly cheap runaround that won't cost much in petrol. However, that's about the extent of its appeal, as there's little much else in its favour.

It's not much fun to drive, because the front end doesn't give enough grip and although you can get decent performance from the engines, you'll have to work them hard to achieve it. It's not a great car to be a passenger in, either, because the ride is too stiff.

The cabin isn't all that spacious, and its drab design and unappealing materials give it a very low-rent feel. Worse still, the Swift isn't well equipped when compared with other cars of the same age, either. Safety equipment is particularly sparse, with airbags and anti-lock brakes not even offered as an option when the car was new.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Cheap, reliable commuter car that often gets overlooked

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

There were three engines - a 56bhp 1.0-litre, a 67bhp 1.3, and a 100bhp version of the 1.3 reserved for the GTi. All engines are adequately punchy, but the 1.0 makes the best buy thanks to its lower running costs.

Initially, the Swift was available in three trim levels. The base GS model came with a split-folding rear seat and front foglights, while GLX models added central locking and steering wheel adjustment. The GTi version has various spoilers and electric windows.

In 1995, two more trim levels were introduced. The GC included a remote boot release, two-speed wipers and a rear wash-wiper, while the GLS had tinted glass and electric windows and mirrors.

The range was revised again in 1997. GC trim was renamed GL, and GLX trim gained power steering and electric windows. But, by the time production halted in 2003, only the 1.0 GL and 1.0 GLS remained.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Limited appeal but 1.0 GLS in special edition trim can sell

James Ruppert
Used car guru

There's only one reason that you'd ever consider buying a Swift, and that's because it's cheap. It was one of the cheapest cars on the market when it was new, and thanks to unspectacular resale values, used examples cost next to nothing, especially the older ones.

Running costs are pretty good, too. The 1.0 will return a respectable average of 48.7mpg, while the 1.3 will manage 45.6mpg. The GTi, though, can only muster a comparatively weak 39.2mpg.

Insurance costs aren't so impressive. Despite only having a 1.0-litre engine, the entry-level car sits in group 3 for insurance. The 1.3 commands a group 6 premium, while the GTi will cost you much more to cover, being in group 11.

Servicing costs will also hurt your wallet, because the Swift will need routine maintenance every 6000 miles.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Cheap, reliable commuter car that often gets overlooked

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Like most Japanese manufacturers, Suzuki has a solid track record for reliability. In both the JD Power Customer Satisfaction Survey and our own Reliability Survey, Suzuki usually manages a mid-table finish or higher.

However, Suzukis have improved in recent years, and the Swift came a long time before this reputation for solidity was achieved. This means that you'll need to buy very carefully when out Swift-shopping.

Rust can take hold easily, especially on older cars, for example, so look out for bubbling under the paintwork. The steering and suspension need regular upkeep as well, so check for uneven tyre wear and unusual noises from underneath.

Owners' reports also suggest that the engine's cylinder head can crack. This will mean a full engine rebuild - a very costly fix indeed.

Expensive fixes are the exception rather than the rule, however. Parts are usually pretty cheap, and low hourly labour rates at Suzuki dealerships mean that average repair costs are very affordable.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Limited appeal but 1.0 GLS in special edition trim can sell

James Ruppert
Used car guru
Haymarket Logo What Car? is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media
What Car? is part of Haymarket Motoring
© Haymarket Media Group 2014