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Review: Suzuki's new Swift is a sporty and stylish hatchback

2018-09-25 19:00

Naresh Maharaj

Image: Quickpic

Occasionally, there comes along an entry level car that captivates the heart with it’s good and clean lines, stylish looks, uncluttered interior and great value for money. It bodes well for the intended buyers, who want exactly that in a car. The Suzuki Swift, with its driver-focused, honest-value and affordable car ticks all those boxes and then some.

The all-new Swift has big shoes to fill. It follows on two generations of the most popular model, which had sold over 19 000 units to date. In fact, the previous Swift was so popular that it reached its peak sales volume of 2966 units in 2017, the last full-year in which it was sold.

DRIVEN: 2018 Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL

"But judging by the new model’s sales performance abroad, we believe that the Swift brand is in good hands and that it will continue to delight customers and driving fans alike," says André Venter, divisional manager for sales and marketing at Suzuki Auto South Africa.

Global best-seller 

The first of three generations of Suzuki Swift was launched in most global markets in 2005. It also spearheaded Suzuki’s entry to South Africa in 2008, before being replaced by the second-generation model in 2011.

Both first- and second-generation models have proved to be highly popular. In South Africa, the model represents roughly 30% of all Suzuki sales and globally more than 6 million units have been sold.

Swift signature, re-interpreted

For the 2018 model, Suzuki’s designers have integrated and reinterpreted this visual signature and added new styling elements such as rear door handles in the C-pillar. This makes the new model both completely new and completely Swift.

Ticking the box for iconic design elements are a modern interpretation of the Swift’s bold vertical headlamps. The all-new Swift has also retained its predecessor’s strong shoulder line, which has been redesigned to be both bolder and less angular.

Suzuki has moved the rear door handles to the blacked-out section of the C-pillar to create a balanced look to the shoulder line, the impression of a floating roof and a sportier side profile.

                                                                         Image: Quickpic

At the front, the design is particularly striking. The all-new Swift has a new grille with large Suzuki badge and a wide and narrow secondary grille. These elements visually lift the height of the nose, while retaining aerodynamic efficiency.

At the rear, the luggage door has an integrated bulge that rounds off the shoulder line, while an additional high-level LED stop lamp is integrated into the discreet roof-spoiler. The rear brake lights also incorporate LED technology.

Increased Interior Space

The new dimensions have allowed the designers to increase interior space, especially for rear passengers.

                                                                       Image: Quickpic

Rear passengers now have 23mm of additional head room, while front occupants benefit the most from the additional body width with 10 mm extra shoulder room. Boot space has also increased by 268 litres.

Driver Focused

Inside the cabin, Suzuki has retained the Swift’s "driver first" design philosophy, while further improving the quality and tactile feel of the cabin materials.

The driver-first philosophy is most evident in the new model’s D-shaped sporty steering wheel and redesigned front seats that offer firmer support for less fatigue on long journeys, especially for the upper body and shoulders.

                                                                        Image: Quickpic

In addition, Suzuki has angled the centre console towards the driver and fitted the speedometer and rev counter in separate housings to accentuate the vehicle’s nature as a driver’s car.

On the GL-models, Suzuki adds an audio system with Bluetooth-connectivity and USB socket, steering wheel controls for the audio system and electrically adjustable side view mirrors.

The Verdict

I tested the Swift on both tar and gravel roads, at low and high speeds and the response was very satisfying indeed. Gear changes were effortless, and once you settle into the lower gears, you feel the cars agility.

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The output of 61kW and 113Nm are on par with other vehicles in its class and overall performance is zippy, but you will have to engage into higher gears when on an incline or when overtaking.

The new Suzuki Swift has landed in South Africa after making waves abroad, winning awards such as the Car of the Year in Japan, the Scottish Compact Car of the Year and being named a top three finalist of the World Urban Car of the Year. These accolades are re-assuring to the would-be entry-level buyer.

All models are sold with Suzuki’s acclaimed 5-year / 200 000km mechanical warranty and a 2-year / 30 000km service plan.

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