Used Suzuki Swift Hybrid long term test: report 2

Our four-wheel-drive Suzuki Swift hybrid is a curious combination, but does that make it the perfect small car for all seasons? We have four months to find out...

Used Suzuki Swift Hybrid (17-present) long term test review

The car Suzuki Swift 1.2 SHVS SZ5 Allgrip Run by Max Adams, used cars reporter

Why it’s here To find out if this hybrid small car with four-wheel drive is a hidden used car gem

Needs to Prove its worth compared with more conventional small cars 

Mileage 3128 List price new (2019) £16,999 Price new with options £18,496 Value now £13,409 (trade price with no options) Test economy 50.6mpg

2 October – Keeping your distance

The miles have been racking up in a fairly, well, swift fashion on my used Suzuki, with quite a lot of them done on the motorway. This isn’t the natural habitat of a little hatchback like the Suzuki Swift but it does have one or two bits of technology on it that are designed to ease the burden of such journeys.

The first is lane departure warning, something that’s now commonplace on high-end models but still something of a rarity in the small car class. It essentially assists the driver by flashing up an alert when the vehicle is about to drift out of its lane and, if you don’t respond, nudges it back into position through steering inputs or braking (or a combination of the two).

Used Suzuki Swift Hybrid (17-present) long term test review

If I’m honest, in most cars I switch this tech off because I feel confident that I can drive between two lines – cue a collective sigh of relief for anyone who has to use the M3 at 8.30am – and those inputs often spoil the steering of a car. In fact, some lane departure systems are so aggressive that it can feel like you’re fighting the wheel.

The Suzuki Swift by contrast, is a bit more relaxed on pre-emptive interference, giving you time to respond to the visual warning before taking further action. I reckon this is actually better for safety, because it prevents a driver from becoming overly reliant on the system or attempting to get the car to do all of the steering for them.

Used Suzuki Swift Hybrid (17-present) long term test review

The cameras used to recognise the lines seem to do a pretty good job, too, even in poor weather. And if you still decide you don’t want the Swift’s help, you just have to push a button to the right of the steering wheel, and the system stays off, even when you restart the engine.

The other significant aid in the Swift’s arsenal is adaptive cruise control. And from a safety standpoint, Suzuki’s system is very good at picking up the vehicle in front really early, even when you’ve set the following distance to its closest setting. Using radar mounted under a bit of black plastic in the grille (which some colleagues have said looks a bit ugly), it monitors the distance between your car and the one ahead to maintain the gap.

Used Suzuki Swift Hybrid (17-present) long term test review

My only gripe is one that I have with most of these systems, wherein you have to concentrate on judging when you need to pull out around the car in front before the system starts slowing you down. This can be a particular problem in the Suzuki Swift if you happen to be going up a hill, because the 1.2-litre engine doesn’t have a huge amount of torque, so it can take ages for it to get back up to speed again.

Still, at least the system will allow you to change up and down the gearbox without disengaging, and it works down to around 20mph before an audible warning tells you to take over.

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