Suzuki Swift review

Category: Small car

The 2024 Swift is a good-value small car that's fun to drive and offers excellent fuel economy

Suzuki Swift Hybrid front cornering blue
  • Suzuki Swift Hybrid front cornering blue
  • Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid rear cornering
  • Suzuki Swift Hybrid test drive
  • Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid boot open
  • Suzuki Swift Hybrid infotainment touchscreen
  • Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid left driving
  • Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid front right driving
  • Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid front cornering
  • Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid rear cornering
  • Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid rear left driving
  • Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid alloy wheel
  • Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid front seats
  • Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid back seats
  • Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid gearstick
  • Suzuki Swift Hybrid front cornering blue
  • Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid rear cornering
  • Suzuki Swift Hybrid test drive
  • Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid boot open
  • Suzuki Swift Hybrid infotainment touchscreen
  • Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid left driving
  • Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid front right driving
  • Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid front cornering
  • Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid rear cornering
  • Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid rear left driving
  • Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid alloy wheel
  • Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid front seats
  • Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid back seats
  • Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid gearstick
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Introduction

What Car? says...

Sho-Sho-Kei-Tan-Bi: it means smaller, fewer, lighter, shorter and beauty. It’s been a Suzuki design philosophy for years and is ably demonstrated by the Suzuki Swift – which is indeed smaller, lighter and shorter than most other small cars.

What’s more, the Japanese brand is quite open about the fact that it will sell fewer Swifts than Renault will sell Clios or Volkswagen will sell Polos. Beauty? Well, we’ll leave you to pass judgement on that (it’s supposed to be in the eye of the beholder, after all).

The Suzuki Swift isn’t quite as budget-focused as the slightly larger Dacia Sandero or the slightly smaller Toyota Aygo X but it definitely sits at the value end of the small car class – especially when you factor in how much equipment it comes with as standard.

It’s also the only small petrol-powered hatchback on sale in the UK available with four-wheel drive as an option. That adds unique appeal to buyers who want a bit of extra traction without splashing out on an SUV, although it does bump up the price and doesn’t exactly turn the Swift into a Land Rover Defender wannabe.

So how does the Suzuki Swift stack up against the best small cars including the Renault Clio and VW Polo plus more value-focused alternatives such as the MG3 and Aygo X? Read on to find out...

Overview

There are bigger and more comfortable small cars, but the Suzuki Swift is frugal, fun to drive and, if you’re signing up to a finance agreement, great value. We recommend the regular front-wheel-drive (2WD) version with a manual gearbox and entry-level Motion trim.

  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Tidy handling
  • Lots of standard kit
  • Firm ride
  • Road noise
  • Rivals offer better practicality
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

While the latest Suzuki Swift is based on the same underpinnings as its predecessor, it’s powered by a new 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine. The engine isn’t turbocharged and has a modest 81bhp, but the Swift is lighter than most of its rivals so acceleration isn’t as pedestrian as you might expect.

There are faster small cars, but the Swift pulls well enough from low revs, so it’s nowhere near as gutless as, say, a Toyota Aygo X. It helps that the engine is smoother and quieter than the three-cylinder units in many rivals, and even when you do need to work it hard, it sounds surprisingly pleasant.

The regular front-wheel-drive (2WD) version can officially do 0-62mph in 12.5 seconds, while the heavier four-wheel-drive (Allgrip) model takes 13.6 seconds. However, while the Allgrip is slower, its jacked-up suspension means ground clearance increases from 115mm to 140mm.

There’s also a choice between a five-speed manual gearbox or a CVT automatic. We've tried the manual, and its shift action is precise and positively weighted. The auto gearbox improves on-paper performance slightly, but also pushes up the price by quite a bit and takes its toll on fuel economy.

Suzuki Swift image
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The Swift’s lightness again pays dividends when it comes to handling. It’s more agile than budget-focused alternatives, such as the Dacia Sandero and Aygo X, and that means it’s more fun to drive. The car's nose responds quickly when you ask for a change of direction, and when this happens there isn’t much body lean.

The steering impresses too, because although it's quite light, it filters enough feedback to your fingers to give you confidence in how much grip there is – even when you’re driving quickly along a meandering country road. So, while the Swift doesn’t handle as crisply as a Renault Clio, it’s more composed than most other keenly priced small cars, including the MG3.

Less impressive is the quality of the ride. Things are never crashingly firm or uncomfortable, but at faster speeds you're jostled around more than you are in the best small cars. The four-wheel-drive Allgrip is the worst offender, proving noticeably less comfortable than the cheaper 2WD models.

And while we don’t doubt Suzuki’s claim that it’s filled the new Swift with more sound-deadening than was in the previous (third-generation) model, it's still not a particularly hushed cruiser. True, it's quieter than the MG3 on motorways, but a noticeable amount wind and tyre noise still makes its way into the interior.

 

"Suzuki says this is an all-new model, but that’s a bit of a stretch, because it sits on the same underpinnings as its predecessor. It’s exactly the same width and height as before, and only slightly longer due to a different bumper design." – Neil Winn, Deputy Reviews Editor

 

Driving overview

Strengths Tidy handling; pleasant manual gearshift; smooth engine

Weaknesses Unsettled ride; not the quietest small car; acceleration isn’t spectacular

Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid rear cornering

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Let’s start with the Suzuki Swift's driving position, because on the whole it’s a pretty good one. The steering wheel adjusts for both height and reach (there's no reach adjustment in the MG3), and most drivers will find it easy to get comfy.

There’s no adjustable lumbar support in any version of the Swift, but you only really miss it on long journeys. The seat has plenty of bolstering at the sides to hold you in place through corners

The Swift is easier to see out of than many other small cars thanks to tall side windows and relatively upright windscreen pillars. You shouldn’t have any issues with parking – all versions have a reversing camera and rear parking sensors.

Don’t expect to find lots of plush, expensive-feeling materials inside the Swift (it’s a fairly cheap car, after all). However, a visually pleasing blend of colours and textures, combined with solid build quality, prevent the interior feeling too low-rent and unpleasant.

Indeed, we’d say the Swift has a smarter interior than a Dacia Sandero or Toyota Aygo X, although the Renault Clio and VW Polo are noticeably classier inside. 

All models come with a 9.0in infotainment touchscreen. It’s positioned helpfully high on the dashboard, meaning you don’t need to divert your gaze far from the road to see it, and comes with plenty of features, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring.

However, it’s a pity the screen doesn’t respond more quickly when you prod it (there’s often a lengthy delay) and the design of the operating system makes it tricky to find certain functions. It's not one of the best infotainment systems around, but then most similarly priced small cars, including the MG3, don’t have great systems either.

 

"The Swift’s interior looks more appealing than before, but the dashboard is still made of hard, scratchy plastic."  – Stuart Milne, Digital Editor

 

Interior overview

Strengths Good fundamental driving position; excellent visibility; interior looks smart

Weaknesses No soft-touch plastics; so-so infotainment system; no adjustable lumbar support

Suzuki Swift Hybrid test drive

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

The Suzuki Swift is smaller than most big-selling small cars, including the Renault Clio, Skoda Fabia and VW Polo. However, it’s larger than a Toyota Aygo X and isn't as cramped inside as you might be fearing.

Indeed, tall people sitting in the front will have no complaints at all, thanks to lots of head room and seats that slide back a long way on their runners. There’s a reasonable amount of stowage space, including two trays (one in front of the gearstick and another behind it) and a couple of cupholders.

Rear space isn’t as generous, but a couple of six-footers will fit in easily enough and more comfortably than they would in an MG3. There’s significantly more leg and head room in the back of a Dacia Sandero, Skoda Fabia or VW Polo, which is worth bearing in mind if you'll often have more than one tall passenger. 

The rear doors open nice and wide, and tall side windows help ward off any feelings of claustrophobia.

The Swift has a 265-litre boot (measured below the parcel shelf), which is less than many small cars. It can take more luggage than an Aygo X, but less than a Clio or Fabia. We managed to fit in five carry-on suitcases.

There’s a big drop down from the entrance of the boot to the floor of the load bay, and no height-adjustable floor to help mitigate this.

The rear seatbacks split 60/40 and fold down to make more space for luggage, but you're left with an annoying step in the floor of the extended load bay (another thing a height-adjustable floor would help counter).

Practicality overview

Strengths Roomy front seats; decent access to the rear seats; 60/40 split-folding rear seats

Weaknesses Many rivals have more rear space and bigger boots

Blue Suzuki Swift Hybrid boot open

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

The starting price of the Suzuki Swift is a little higher than you might be hoping. Indeed, you can buy a Renault Clio or Toyota Aygo X for less, and the Dacia Sandero is thousands of pounds cheaper.

There are some mitigating factors – not least how much equipment the Swift has as standard. Even if you go for entry-level Motion trim, you’ll get 16in alloys, LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry, heated front seats, a reversing camera, blind-spot monitoring and the 9.0 touchscreen infotainment system.

With all that in mind, we don’t think it’s worth forking out extra for Ultra trim, but if you do you’ll get a polished finish to the alloys, automatic (rather than manual) air-conditioning and power-folding door mirrors.

For those planning to take out a finance agreement, the Swift makes more sense than it does to cash buyers. This is thanks to relatively slow predicted depreciation, along with some very competitive APR rates (at the time of writing it offered cheaper monthly repayments than the MG3).

All versions of the Swift have mild-hybrid technology meaning a tiny electric motor is on hand to assist the petrol engine when you’re pulling away. Its main purpose is to cut fuel consumption, and the Swift certainly has some impressive fuel-economy figures.

The 2WD model with a manual gearbox officially averages 64.2mpg, and in our real-world testing proved more frugal than the fully hybridised MG3. For context, the best an Aygo X can do is 55.8mpg, while the most efficient Skoda Fabia returns 55.4mpg.

The Swift also makes plenty of sense to company car drivers paying benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax, thanks to CO2 emissions as low as 99g/km. Just be aware that going for the CVT automatic gearbox or four-wheel drive (or both) cuts efficiency.

There’s more standard safety kit than on most budget rivals, but we can’t tell you how well the Swift is likely to protect you and your family, because at the time of writing Euro NCAP hadn't publish the results of crash tests for the 2024 model.

The latest Swift is too new to have featured in the 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey but the signs are good that it will be reliable. The previous-generation model (which shares many components with the current car) was the most reliable small car in the survey and Suzuki came fourth out of 32 brands in the manufacturers section. 

Costs overview

Strengths Excellent real-world economy; lots of standard kit; attractive finance deals

Weaknesses Higher list price than some rivals; no Euro NCAP safety score


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Suzuki Swift Hybrid infotainment touchscreen

FAQs

  • The latest Swift was too new to feature in the 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey. The omens are good, though, because the previous-generation model (which shares many components with the current car) was the most reliable small car in the entire survey.

  • While the Swift will happily cruise along at fast motorway speeds and return excellent fuel economy while it does so, it's not the quietest small car. More expensive options – including the Renault Clio and VW Polo – offer more peaceful cruising manners.

  • We reckon the best version of the latest Suzuki Swift is the front-wheel-drive (2WD) model with a manual gearbox. Entry-level Motion trim keeps the price down yet comes with plenty of kit.

At a glance
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RRP price range £18,699 - £21,049
Number of trims (see all)3
Number of engines (see all)1
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)petrol
MPG range across all versions 57.6 - 64.2
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / 60000 miles
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £850 / £1,081
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £1,700 / £2,162
Available colours