Mark Slack – Road test

Suzuki Swift SZ-T – enduringly likeable hatchback continues to impress

Suzuki’s Swift has always offered value for money and although the company has undoubtedly moved more upmarket the Swift continues to be an integral part of their range.

Priced from €20,041/£17,199 all Swift models are generously equipped with even the lead-in model benefitting from adaptive cruise control, rear parking camera, Car Play and Android Auto, auto lights, powered and heated door mirrors, privacy glass, tyre pressure monitoring and air conditioning.

All models come with mild hybrid assistance and a straightforward line-up sees three models in the standard Swift range with the entry level car having a manual 5-speed gearbox and the other two a CVT automatic transmission. Just one engine, a 1.2-litre, 16-valve, 4-cylinder petrol unit is utilised across the range.

My SZ-T middle of the range model adds additional equipment including high beam assist, rear parking sensors and a CVT automatic gearbox. I’m no fan of CVT boxes (not just Suzuki) because when you accelerate the engine revolutions remain high while the car gathers speed. There’s not the immediacy of throttle control, it’s not a fault it’s just how CVT gearboxes work. If you feather the accelerator and aim for gradual progress then much more aural refinement ensues.

CVT gearbox apart the Swift is a delight to drive with a peppy engine, despite its on-paper less than quick performance, and nicely weighted, precise steering. Quite capable of keeping up with traffic on longer motorway runs it’s arguably at its best in towns and on cross country drives. The ride comfort is as fine as one might expect with our awful roads, although others do perform better in that regard all be they quite a bit more expensive.

Suzuki has resisted the march of oversized cars so the Swift is neatly compact yet offers decent interior space even for rear seat passengers. The interior is where you can see costs have been carefully managed with a lot of hard plastics on display. That said it all feels very well bolted together and is a pleasant place in which to travel.

All told the Swift is an enduringly likeable car that’s fun to drive, economical to run and feels like it will more than last the course of every day car ownership. Suzuki’s seeming policy of evolution rather than revolution with its design and character helps in that regard. Personally the lead-in SZ-L model represents the best value and, crucially, with that manual gearbox proves to be the most fun.

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Written by

Mark Slack

If you're a petrol head you're in good hands with Mark Slack, whose expert take on the latest car releases will help you make your next purchase.