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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For Powerful and great fun to drive, especially considering how inexpensive it is

Against Luggage space is limited, and the ride is firm and noisy when you're on the motorway

Verdict It's hard to beat as a fun car for not much cash

Go for… 1.5 GLX

Avoid… 1.3 diesel

Suzuki Swift Hatchback
  • 1. The cabin looks smart and classy; all the controls are simple to use
  • 2. The boot is small compared to other cars in this class
  • 3. The 1.3-litre engine is raucous at speed, but the 1.5 is better
  • 4. The sporty suspension is firm, and larger bumps can be heard thumping into the cabin
  • 5. Check engine, gearbox and clutch - the car's sporty feel means it may have been driven hard
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Suzuki Swift Hatchback full review with expert trade views

The Swift is great fun to drive, and when you consider how inexpensive it is, there aren't many cars that beat it.

The Suzuki has terrific handling, with tenacious grip and excellent body control and composure. The ride is firm, though, and larger bumps thump into the cabin.

It's good inside, too. The cabin looks smart and classy – a rarity in cars this cheap – and all the controls are simple to use. There's good space for four people, but the boot is on the small side. Both three- and five-door versions are available, with the former slightly more sporty to look at.

All models come well equipped and the only major criticism is that the Swift isn't the most refined of cars. The rev-hungry engines have plenty of power, but they get noisy on the motorway and there's a lot of wind- and road noise to contend with.

Trade view

The Swift is a great cut-price alternative to the Mini

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The 1.5-litre petrol engine strikes a good balance between performance and civility, and comes in GLX trim only. This provides keyless entry, alloy wheels, air-con, four electric windows and a CD player.

The 1.3 is perky, but is more raucous at speed than the 1.5. This engine was available in GL trim only, so it misses out on the alloy wheels and air-con of the GLX, while the keyless entry system is replaced by remote central locking.

The 1.3DDiS diesel feels quick, but it's also efficient and refined. Equipment levels are the same as the GLX, but with the addition of traction control. However, it's rare on the used market and expensive to buy.

If its fun you're after, then search out the Swift Sport. The 123bhp 1.6-litre engine isn’t scorching, but, allied with the Swift’s nimble chassis, it’s a hoot to drive.

In early 2010, new trims, the SZ2, SZ3 and SZ4, were announced. The first is a little too basic and comes without alloys or air-con, while SZ3 gets air-con and SZ4 adds climate control and alloys.

Trade view

The Swift's ride is geared for sporty handling, not comfort – so it is on the firm side.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

Even as a new car, one of the best things about the Swift is its value for money factor. Although it’s held its value better than expected, it’s still far from expensive as a used car, too.

The diesel averages 61.4mpg, improving to 62.8mpg after April 2008. The petrol engines are respectable, too, with the 1.3 at 45.5mpg and the 1.5 capable of 43.5mpg. The 1.6-litre Sport does 39.8mpg, but if you intend to enjoy the car's performance you’ll struggle to achieve that. Given the higher purchase price of a diesel Swift, you'll have to cover a considerable amount of miles before you save on fuel.

Road tax shouldn’t be a concern, with CO2 emissions ranging from 140g/km up to 171g/km for the Sport. The diesel is cleanest of all, at 124g/km, but from early 2008 that fell to 119g/km, making later cars slightly cheaper to tax

The1.3-petrol is group 16 for insurance, the diesel in group 14, and the 1.5-litre in group 20. The Sport is highest of all, in group 23. You'll pay more to maintain a Swift than you will for most superminis, not least because the service intervals are only 9000 miles apart.

Trade view

The Swift is a great cut-price alternative to the Mini

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The Swift hasn’t proved as durable as some of Suzuki’s other models and hasn’t always performed well in the JD Power Customer Satisfaction survey.

The quality of paintwork on the Swift is a hot topic of debate. It’s very susceptible to chips and scrapes, and in some cases cars arrive from the factory with paintwork defects.

The front tyres can wear exceptionally quickly – in some cases in fewer than 12,000 miles.

Some owners also talk about grinding or squealing brakes. In extreme cases dealers are willing to replace the brake discs under warranty. Gearbox problems are another known problem, with a stiff gearchange an early warning sign.

It’s not unusual for cabin rattles to appear in a car over time, but many Swift owners complain of a particularly annoying and persistence rattle from the car’s dashboard.

Front and rear crash damage is notoriously expensive to repair, thanks to the car’s one-piece wrap-around bumpers. A low-speed accident can generate bills of over £2000, so make sure that previous crash damage has been properly repaired.

Trade view

The Swift's ride is geared for sporty handling, not comfort – so it is on the firm side.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor
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