Suzuki’s little Swift is a top small car pick
The Swift has been Suzuki’s most successful model locally and one of the most popular light cars on sale in Australia. The Japanese manufacturer offers consumers a number of trim levels: the base GL, the GL Navigator, the GLX Navigator and the hero of the range, the Swift Sport.
The first three variants are powered by a 1.4 litre four-cylinder engine mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. The Sport serves up a larger 1.6 litre engine that is teamed up with either a six-speed manual or a seven step constantly variable transmission.
So what’s the key to the Swift’s success? We’re on a mission to find out.
What we like:
- Sweet handling
- Zippy performance
- Generally quiet and comfortable motoring
- Reasonable value for money
Not so much:
- Small boot
- Voice control
- Rear drum brakes
- Some plastics feel cheap
Price and Equipment
The Suzuki Swift GL Navigator is reasonably well appointed for a car that is priced from under $20,000 (Suzuki usually offers customers good deals) plus on road costs. Standard equipment includes: cruise control, leather wrapped steering wheel, front fog lights, power windows, air conditioning, a host of airbags and a touch screen infotainment system that includes Bluetooth streaming and, as the name suggests, satellite navigation.
The Swift’s interior can be described as clean and elegant, if a little restrained. Dark grey plastics dominate, but are segregated by varying textures on the dash and door trims, along with silver coloured inserts.
The front seats are relatively comfortable, although a little flat and could benefit from more side bolstering. Head room up front is excellent courtesy of the Swift’s high roofline and distinctive silhouette. Front legroom is more than adequate too, as such, front occupants should never find themselves feeling cramped.
The driver looks onto a neat instrument cluster with a digital trip computer nestled between the gauges. Overall, the dash design is simple, functional and cohesive.
The Swift Navigator’s party piece, the 6.1 inch touchscreen infotainment unit with sat nav, is easy enough to fathom, but it is partially let down by the steering wheel mounted voice control system which had difficulty understanding a host of basic commands, forcing the driver to take their hands off the wheel to adjust settings, defeating the purpose of the system.
Audio quality from the four-speaker stereo is surprisingly punchy, and is most likely to appease younger motorists, who will also be able to listen to their favourite tunes from a device via Bluetooth streaming.
The actual navigation system itself is rather good. Addresses can be entered quickly and easily and the system can recalculate a route should one be foolish enough to miss an instruction. Handily, the navigation screens also indicate which lane the driver should take to remain on course. Similarly, when approaching an intersection, the map area is enlarged adding further clarity.
Beneath the dash is area to charge one’s smart phone either via a USB port or power socket. Oddment storage is a premium, a common trait in entry-level cars in this segment.
Rear accommodation is slightly cosier than the quarters up front. Nevertheless, two adults will fit in the back with reasonable ease, but won’t enjoy quite the same amount of legroom as their counterparts up front. Headroom is similar though, and like the front seats, the rear bench is comfortable, if a touch flat.
The Swift’s boot is well, tiny. Luggage space with the back seats in position is a miniscule 210 litres over two tiers. However, lower the 60:40 split rear seats and 210 litres expands to a far more useable 533.
Engine and Transmission
The Suzuki Swift GL Navigator is propelled by a 1.4 litre four-cylinder petrol engine that develops 70kW @ 6000rpm and 130Nm @ 4000rpm. The engine in our test car was teamed up with a four speed automatic.
Performance is quiet yet zippy. The car’s light kerb weight and the transmission’s ability to satisfactorily work the engine’s power band means the little Suzuki’s proceedings are -no pun intended-swift.
Claimed fuel consumption is 6.2 litres per 100 kilometres on a combined cycle. On test, we averaged 7.2 litres per 100 kilometres.
On The Road
The overall driving experience is probably one of the Swift’s greatest assets. The little hatch turns in crisply and confidently, complimenting the car’s eager power delivery. The Swift’s unique shape allows for excellent visibility too, so negotiating city streets is one challenge that can be completed with ease.
Ride quality is also decent, although perhaps not as absorptive as the set up in Kia’s locally tuned Rio. At freeway speeds there is also noticeable road and wind noise, yet neither are major detractors.
Suzuki has fitted all models in the Swift range with the following safety features as standard equipment: anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, vehicle stability control, dual front, side and curtain airbags along with a driver’s knee airbag.
All Swift models have been awarded a five-star ANCAP safety rating.
In our opinion, Swift GL and GL Navigator models should be fitted with disc brakes at all four corners
Servicing and Warranty
All Suzuki models are covered by a three-year, 100,000 kilometre warranty. Capped priced servicing is applicable for the first five years and 100,000 kilometres.
Suzuki Swift GL Navigator Specs
Make and model: Suzuki Swift GL Navigator
Engine type: 1372cc petrol four-cylinder engine with double overhead cam and variable valve timing
Power: 70kW @ 6000rpm
Torque: 130Nm @ 4000rpm
Transmission: four-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Fuel consumption: 6.2 litres per 100 kilometres
Dimensions: 3850mm long, 1695mm wide, 1510mm high and 2430mm wheelbase
Suspension: Front: MacPherson strut Rear: Torsion beam
Steering: Rack and pinion
Country of Origin: Thailand
Options: Star Silver paint, $475