The interior layout, fit and finish
You’ll have few issues getting comfy behind the wheel. The driver’s seat adjusts vertically and back and forth, and the steering wheel does the same. But the range of steering wheel adjustment isn’t as extensive as it is in the Ford Focus Estate, and adjusting the angle of the backrest involves pulling a lever and shifting your weight back and forth until you find the right position – an adjustment wheel, like you’ll find in many rivals, would make it easier to be more precise. On the other hand, it’s great that the Suzuki Swace provides adjustable lumbar support as standard.
You certainly won’t be complaining about your view out of the car, nor will you have much trouble manoeuvring into parking spaces. A reversing camera comes as standard, while SZ5 trim gets front and rear parking sensors. Powerful LED headlights are fitted as standard across the range, too, and are a boon at night. In most rivals, you’ll either need to pay extra or upgrade to a posh trim level for comparable technology.
As for infotainment – the Swace has the exact same system as you’ll find in the Toyota Corolla – we’ll start with the positives. The 8.0in touchscreen is positioned high up on the dashboard, making it easy to see on the move. There are also numerous physical shortcut buttons surrounding the screen, which are far easier to hit than the touch sensitive buttons used by the systems of numerous rivals, including the Skoda Octavia Estate.
Of course, you can choose to operate the system through the screen itself, but it’s quite slow to respond to inputs and the screen resolution isn't very impressive. What’s more, the menus aren’t particularly intuitive and the graphics for the map look rather congested.
Thankfully, every Swace comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, so you can simply choose to bypass Toyota's own software and use the apps on your own phone, such as Google Maps or Waze. That’s especially handy because sat-nav isn’t offered in either of the Swace’s trim levels. Every model does come with DAB radio, Bluetooth and a USB socket, though, and the standard six-speaker stereo is clear and punchy.
The Swace’s interior is solidly made, with plenty of soft-touch materials that lend it a competitively plush feel. The dashboard materials, for example, feel pleasantly squidgy and dense and even the insides of the doors don’t feel too cheap or scratchy. In fact, compared with the Focus Estate, the Swace feels positively upmarket inside.
Some of the details aren’t quite as classy as its rivals, though. The leather on the gearlever, for example, feels a little plasticky compared with the fine-grain stuff you’ll find in a well-specced Octavia Estate. The steering wheel – the only thing that’s different inside compared with the Corolla – also has a plasticky artificial leather finish.
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