What's the used Suzuki Swift hatchback like?
Like that friend who lost a lot of weight between visits, you could tell that the 2017 Suzuki Swift had been on a diet. This generation of the Swift is up to 120kg lighter than its previous incarnation and that brought benefits to its performance, fuel economy and handling – all of which compare well with lardier rivals. What's more, there's an intelligent mild-hybrid system on some models, keeping the car up to date with the electrification trend.
All good stuff, and necessary, being that was up against strong, established car competition from small cars that include the Ford Fiesta and Skoda Fabia, as well as the Toyota Yaris, which also has hybrid technology. All of these cars are plentiful on the used car market and each has its own virtues, but here's the Swift's case for your cash.
Entry-level SZ3 models come with air-con, a DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, while mid-range SZ-T versions have a 7.0in infotainment system with a reversing camera, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. Top-spec SZ5 cars get hybrid technology, climate control, sat-nav and reach adjustment for the steering wheel instead of just height.
Behind the wheel, you’ll instantly notice that the Swift feels light on its feet. The steering is accurate and you can point the nose of the car in to corners with confidence. Body roll is kept in check by its relatively firm suspension, but that comes at the expense of ride quality, which can’t match the likes of the Fiesta or Seat Ibiza. Road and wind noise are also an issue, particularly at motorway speeds.
Performance is decent from all engines, but the mild-hybrid is particularly swift because the energy generated during deceleration is stored to help boost the engine’s performance for short periods of time when accelerating. It even helps out at higher speeds and means you don’t have to change down a gear as often on the motorway.
Take a seat inside the Swift and you'll find yourself surrounded by hard, shiny plastics. It’s all well screwed together, but the interior environment isn't as classy to look at or to touch as its main rivals. Space is plentiful, though, and the front seats are quite comfortable. There’s lots of head room for all passengers and decent leg room for rear occupants. The boot isn’t the biggest around and it doesn’t have a variable-height floor to help with the sizeable lip, so lifting out heavy shopping for those with a bad back could be a problem.