ROAD TEST: Suzuki Swift SZ5

Sales of the Suzuki Swift have topped 6 million across 158 countries, making it one of the most successful models ever for the famous Japanese manufacturer.
This popular hatchback was revised last year, giving it a fresh new look, more cabin space and improved  performance and economy.
Swift is priced from €13,256 (£11,999)  and while available only as a 5-door, clever styling gives it a coupe appearance by disguising the rear door handles. With cutaway headlights and larger front grille the latest version is 10 per cent lighter, 19 per cent more powerful and eight per cent more economical than its predecessor.
There a choice of 1.0 litre 3-cylinder Boosterjet turbo petrol engine or 1.2 litre 4-cylinder Dualjet engine, and there is a good level of standard kit –  all models get features which include DAB radio, Bluetooth, LED running lights and privacy glass.
Other versions – including the new Swift Sport model – add features such as alloy wheels, smartphone links, auto air-con, auto transmission and even all-wheel-drive so to some extent you can tailor models to your specific needs.
My test model was a flagship SZ5 with a 1.0 litre 110 hp Boosterjet engine and 5-speed manual gearbox, priced at €17,122 (£15,499). This perky yet economical engine has a top speed of 190 kph (118 mph), the 0-100 kph time is a nippy 10 seconds and fuel economy is 22.2 kpl (62.7 mpg).
SZ5 specification includes sat-nav, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, rear parking camera, keyless entry and push-button start. This model also features Suzuki’s SVHS ‘mild hybrid’ system which gives sub-100 g/km emissions. The system utilises a belt-driven combined generator and starter motor which assists acceleration and stores energy to help save fuel.
The Swift has a larger interior thanks to slightly lowered seats boosting headroom and a longer wheelbase creates more rear passenger space. Seating is very comfortable and there is a good driving position with excellent visibility. Boot space is 265 litres (54 litres more than  the previous model) and expandable to 579 litres by dropping the rear seats.
On the road, Swift  has smooth driving dynamics with a supple, comfortable ride, and is agile in traffic or when parking. It also has outstanding grip and handling thanks to well-balanced suspension and its lower wider road-stance.
The Swift has a chic and charismatic look which helps it really stand out in the very competitive small-hatchback sector.
Model tested is UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.
Stats panel:
Model: Suzuki Swift SZ5
Engine:1.0 litre petrol
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Performance: 0-100 kph 10 seconds, top speed 190 kph (118 mph)
Economy: 22.2 kpl (62.7 mpg)
Emissions: 97 g/km

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