Suzuki Swift 1.0 Boosterjet SHVS27 | 03 | 2017
Suzuki launches the 2017 Swift, but is it ready to battle with the supermini leaders?
SUZUKI HAS GIVEN its latest generation of the Swift supermini a significant new look. Squint your eyes and you can still make out something of a similarity to the previous generation, but there’s no denying this latest incarnation is the best of the bunch yet. (Related: Roadtest — Suzuki Ignis)
The Swift is a crucial car for Suzuki. Since 2005, more than a million Swifts have found homes in Europe, with 127,000 of those in the UK, so understandably there’s a lot riding on this new version. And we’ve driven the new Swift in Monaco ahead of it entering Scottish showrooms on June 1. Suzuki has yet to confirm prices, but expect the range to start around £10,500.
The new model — available only as a five-door — shares its high-strength-steel-rich 'Heartect' lightweight underbody with the Baleno and Ignis. And like most modern-day cars, it’s lighter than its predecessor, with Suzuki having shaved 30kg from the 2017 model. The lightest Swift tips the scales at just 875kg, with the 1.0-litre mild hybrid model we drive here weighing 925kg. Even the heaviest, the four-wheel drive 1.2-litre, still ducks 20kg below 1000kg.
Shorter, lower and wider — by 10mm, 15mm and 40mm respectively — than the outgoing model, the new Swift sits on a wheelbase which has been increased by 20mm. That corresponds to more internal space, which is further enhanced by redesigned and more comfortable seats. There’s also a new dashboard, while at the rear the bootspace has been increased by 25%, taking capacity up to 265-litres.
In 1.0 Boosterjet SHVS guise, the new Swift is not only brisk, it’s quiet, refined and thrives on being hustled cross-country. Fire it into a corner and the nose dives eagerly towards the apex delivering a sharp response to the driver’s input.
There’s a subsequent degree of body roll through corners, but once the turn-in has been completed the little Swift darts out the other side with grippy and well-balanced performance.
So while many will see the little Swift as nothing more than a city centre, supermini shopping trolley-like mode of transport, it does have the capacity to bring a big smile to your face if you venture out “into the wilds”.
The three-cylinder engine is a delight, and signals the significant improvements which have been made in engine technology across the industry.
Whereas previous three-pots delivered an annoying, irritable buzzy drone, this engine in the Swift has been cleverly controlled in terms of noise entering the cabin.
Ok, there’s a little three-pot warble on start-up, but you would expect that. Once out on the road though, the background noise all but disappears, and the cabin is a relaxed place to be.
The engine’s also delightfully peppy. In town it makes short work of junctions and rival traffic, while out on the open road it buzzes along merrily, effortlessly managing to cope with motorway traffic.
And it’s economical. Officially Suzuki says the 1.0 Boosterjet SHVS will return 65.7mpg. Without making a conscious effort to drive economically, we achieved 54mpg; and at times we weren’t exactly hanging about!
Mated to a light-action five-speed manual gearbox, the Swift covers the 0-62mph benchmark in 10.6sec and carries on to a max of 121mph.
Three trim levels will be available — SZ3, SZ-T and SZ5 — and there will be a choice of two petrol engines and one petrol-hybrid. There will also be a choice of five-speed manual and six-speed automatic gearboxes.
The SZ3 is powered by an 89bhp Dualjet 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine capable of returning 65.7mpg and emitting just 98g/km CO2. Six airbags, air conditioning, leather steering wheel, DAB radio with Bluetooth and four speakers, rear privacy glass, LED daytime running lights, 15in alloys, body coloured door mirrors and front electric windows are all standard.
Buyers stepping up to the SZ-T models gain the option of choosing from a 109bhp Boosterjet 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder. Both economy and emissions suffer, with figures of 61.1mpg and 104g/km CO2. You do, however, get rear view camera, 7in touchscreen with Mirrorlink, Apple Carplay and Android Auto, 16in alloys and front foglamps in addition to the SZ3 spec.
The range-topping SZ5 is the only spec to get the extra mild-hybrid powertrain option, again sen in the Ignis. Mating the Boosterjet unit and an integrated starter motor, it generates electricity through regenerative braking and reduces CO2 emissions to 97g/km.
Power will come from a choice of three engines, two petrol and one petrol hybrid; a 1.0-litre three-cylinder Boosterjet turbo; a 1.2-litre four cylinder Dualjet; and a 1.0 Boosterjet mated to Suzuki’s mild-hybrid system.
The entry-level 111PS 1.0-litre three cylinder Boosterjet turbo engine returns 61.4mpg at the pumps and emits 104g/km CO2, while the 90PS 1.2-litre four cylinder Dualjet engine is good for 65.7mpg and 98g/km CO2.The mild hybrid version reduces CO2 to 97g/km.
The 1.0-litre engine will scamper from standstill to 62mph in 10.6secs when mated to the standard manual transmission; the optional automatic shaves 0.6s off the sprint. Where permitted, maximum speed is 121mph for manual and 118mph for the automatic.
The 1.2 Dualjet’s figures to 62mph are 11.9s for the SZ3 2WD and 12.6s for the SHVS ALLGRIP equipped model.
Suzuki’s ALLGRIP Auto four-wheel drive system is available as an option on the SZ5 model with 1.2-litre engine. First introduced in the previous generation Swift in 2014, the fully automatic and permanent four-wheel drive layout transfers additional torque to the rear wheels when required via a viscous coupling.
Across the range, the upgrades to the cabin improve the interior significantly, boosted further by an attractive and clear fascia and simple rotary dial controls.
And while the redesigned front seats are supportive and comfy, there’s also ample leg and headroom in the rear for two adults on the bench seat.
In the wake of the Baleno, and more recently the Ignis, the new Swift continues Suzuki’s regeneration. This latest model is a delight, and if you’re in the market for a supermini the new Swift — with its fun handling, light weight and general all-round appeal — should ensure it’s not only on your shortlist, but actually pretty near the top.
Unpretentious it may be, but the 2017 Suzuki Swift is a charming little car.
Related: 2017 Suzuki Swift — First details
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|Price OTR/As Tested
||£12,250 / n/a
|Engine / Power:
||3cyls, 998cc, turbo, petrol, 5sp manual / 109bhp
||0-62mph 10.6sec / Max 121mph
||L3840mm W1735mm H1495mm / 925kg
||65.7mpg / 97g/km CO2
||n/a / n/a
||Skoda Fabia, Kia Rio, Fiat 500, Citroen C3