Sitting a single inch higher, it’s quite tricky to tell this new Swift 4×4 apart from a regular Swift. Indeed, other than the scuff plates front and rear and the plastic wheelarch extensions, you probably wouldn’t even notice it wasn’t a regular Swift.
Stiil, a regular Swift it isn’t. Available only as a 1.2 and in the higher-end SZ3 and SZ4 variants, the Swift 4×4 adds a simple, automatic four wheel drive system. With a viscous coupling sending torque to the rear wheels when needed, the 4×4’s on road abilities are marginally enhanced – though the inch lift raises the centre of gravity and undoes some of that.
You might expect a 4×4 system to significantly increase weight, but thanks to lightweight materials it only adds 65kg to the Swift. Of course it’s not actually all that heavy a car to start with – 1020kg for the equivalent 2WD car – but it’s only an increase equivalent to an adult passenger.
This puts a surprisingly small dent into fuel efficiency and emissions ratings, up 10g/km from 116 to 126 over the standard 1.2 and around 50.5mpg combined.
The new car is included in Suzuki’s current VAT-free promotion, so the range starts from 11,516 for the 1.2 SZ3. This promotion ends at the end of September, so expect a hike to 13,819 thereafter.
Available from: Now
Prices from: 11,516 (to September 30th)
Suzuki’s four wheel drive systems are generally well-received – even the very badly rated Jimny is praised for off-road use – so there’s no fears about the useability of the Swift 4×4.
The question mark hangs over the usefulness. Suzuki already sells a useable and cheap small 4WD in the shape of the SX4. It may be a good foot longer and a margin more expensive (4WD is only available in SZ5 trim) but it’s more of a proper small SUV than the Swift. It’s also in Suzuki’s VAT-free promotion, so can be grabbed for 13,249 at the moment.
The inch lift and a 4WD system doesn’t make for a proper off-road car, but if you’re just looking for a slightly more surefooted small hatchback – for occasional rutted path use and cold snaps – without the bulk of an SUV, the Swift 4×4 certainly fits the bill.