This new Swift should fly out of dealer's showrooms
We flew from Farnborough into Nice airport, as we walked over to the car park we were met by long lines of Suzuki Swifts; the staff on the launch said you could take any colour you want, so long as it is Red.
We put our bags in the relatively large boot and then put our jackets on the back seat, now this procedure could prove difficult for some, as the rear door handle is well hidden. I can just imagine going to pick up your Granny and she tries to get in the back. After a few minutes she will be knocking on the front windows to ask you to let her in. However, it is a clever design and well-engineered, Suzuki say they wanted to make it look sportier and less like a five-door. This new car will only be available as five-door, a three-door will not be built any more.
The first Swift was launched in Europe in 1983. It was 2004 when the current shape car was launched to much acclaim, with its distinctive styling, then in 2010 the second-generation was introduced and now this all-new third generation. Over 5 million Swifts have been sold globally with over 1 million of those given homes in Europe and 127,000 in the UK.
Four engines will be available when it arrives in the UK in June: 1.2 Dualjet, 1.2 Dualjet SHVS 4x4, 1.0 Boosterjet SHVS and 1.0 Boosterjet. The SHVS is a mild-hybrid that has an extra battery, and although does not directly power the car on electric alone, the extra power from the battery is used for acceleration, which reduces the need on the petrol engine, so consequently reduces fuel consumption.
On the launch in France Suzuki only had one engine to drive, the 1.0 Boosterjet with SHVS which produces 111ps and accelerates from 0-62mph in 10.6 seconds, and it did feel a lively little thing, not lacking in power at all. This engine has a CO2 emissions figure of 97g/km. we took this Swift on a variety of roads, including motorways where it sat there as good as gold at the French speed limit of 130kph. It was not buffeted about and felt safe and solid. Then we went up into the hills above Nice and it went up and down those hills with no effort at all, there was enough power to get up and enough braking power to get back down the steep inclines.
This new Swift, really is new, as it is built on a new platform, the same as is used on Baleno and the recently introduced Ignis. This new platform is a highly rigid frame that enhances collision safety and has a continuous, smooth and curving form that better helps disperse impact energy. This has led to a reduction in reinforcements, making the body lighter than the current Swift, and this greatly contributes to lowering fuel consumption.
The new Swift is 10mm shorter, but the wheelbase is 20mm longer, it is 40mm wider and 10mm lower, so it looks more in proportion than the outgoing model and a good looking car it is too. The whole of the car gets a major makeover, and you can’t really say that one particular part has changed more than another, but the front-end treatment is probably the most dramatic. The new large grille is very impressive and looks very bold and distinctive. But then the side profile has also changed, almost beyond recognition with the hidden handles and improved side swage-lines. But Suzuki have kept the ‘wrap-around’ windscreen that has become part of the Swifts DNA and it looks as good today as it did when the car was first launched.
As you get into the car, it is immediately obvious that the interior designers have thrown out every bit of the current car and had a fresh start. It is such a huge improvement and there has been a lot of time and money spent in the cabin. The look, touch and feel is just so much better including the materials used, the layout of the dash and the controls, switches, dials and buttons are a huge step forward, and the car now has the feel of a more premium brand car.
Back out on the road the new Swift felt so agile and light, yet felt so solid and safe. Going around some of the scary corners it had precise handling and felt so stable, it really is a great little car, ok well not so little anymore, to drive and so much fun.
From the hills, we then went to our overnight hotel location in Monaco. This small principality it is so crowded with tall apartments, and building never stops there, but it is where the rich and famous like to own an address, mainly for financial reasons and not because it is a nice place to live. After the evening meal I had a walk around the Marina and out of all the boats and huge multi-million pound/dollar/euro yachts, only a handful had anyone aboard. The few that did attracted a small crowd on the dockside to view these very rich people and what they were doing aboard their very expensive gin-palaces. Living on one of these boats didn’t seem very private, or even safe and every time we saw one of the inhabitants, it was almost like a visit to the zoo to see the very rare Pandas. People on the quayside would say, ‘oh look, look, look, quickly, here they come out again, and look, one of them is eating and orange, and look, the other one is having a cup of coffee’ – the onlookers nearly taking photographs of these poor, rich people going about their normal business, but in full view of anyone who wanted to watch. Very odd. Prices start at £10,999.00 OTR for the 1.2 SZ3 and go up to £15,849.00 for the 1.0 Boosterjet SZ5, so competitive pricing as you would expect from Suzuki. The new Swift is a good looking hatch, that has a high level of quality, nice economical petrol engines, is fun and safe to drive and is well-priced, making it affordable to buy, and affordable to own and run.
- On the road price £10,999.00 to £15,849.00
- Petrol: 1.2 Dualjet 90PS, 1.2 SHVS 90 PS & 1.0 Boosterjet 111 PS and 1.0 Boosterjet SHVS 111 PS
- CO2 97 to 114g/km
- Combined MPG 56.4 to 65.7
- Gearboxes 5 Speed Manual & 8 6 Speed Auto
New options and features:
- Hill hold control – Standard on SZ5
- Bluetooth hands free telephone connection – Standard on all
- Smartphone connectivity – Standard on SZ-T and SZ5
- Lane departure warning system – Standard on SZ5
- Rear parking camera - Standard on SZ-T and SZ5
- High beam assist - Standard on SZ5
- LED headlights with LED daytime running lights – Standard on SZ5
- Alloy wheels – Standard on SZ-T and SZ5
A popular figure in the automotive industry, celebrated in the Business Car Power list Top 10. An unrivalled understanding of the entire automotive manufacturing process. Providing independent and tailored advice to help automotive and related businesses identify and achieve their goals.