Suzuki Swace review
The Suzuki Swace is basically a Toyota Corolla Touring Sport with different badges, so it’s efficient and spacious
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The Suzuki Swace is a bit like one of those actors who you’ve definitely seen in something else before, but you can’t quite put your finger on what.
That’s because, behind Suzuki’s very mild restyling, it is effectively a Toyota Corolla Touring Sports. You see, the Swace exists because Suzuki did a deal with Toyota to sell a rebranded version of the Corolla (along with the Suzuki Across, which is basically a RAV4). That saves Suzuki a boatload of cash in designing its own car, but also as both cars are hybrids it helps the firm reduce emissions.
While Suzuki raided Toyota’s substantial larder to create the Swace, it didn’t take everything. For starters, it’s only available as an estate, whereas the Corolla can also be had as a hatchback and a saloon. The Suzuki also only gets one engine option rather than the wider choice Toyota offers, which is a shame.
The Swace comes fitted only with Toyota’s 1.8-litre petrol hybrid system. This combines a 102hp four-cylinder petrol engine with a 53hp electric motor, which drives through a CVT automatic transmission, although the Swace can also drive on EV power alone for short distances.
The Swace covers the 0-62mph sprint in 11.1sec and will carry on to a top speed of 112mph. That’s pretty far from fast, and sure enough if you need oomph in reserve for an overtake you may find the Suzuki lacking. But off the line it feels quicker than the figures suggest thanks to the lack of any gearchanges from its CVT transmission and the instant electric motor torque.
The trade-off is that the Swace is very fuel efficient. Officially it’ll average over 64mpg, and even if you drive without any thought of saving petrol 50mpg+ is easily achievable. It’s not exactly exciting, though, and while it’s refined and smooth in gentle driving the engine sounds a bit like a farmyard animal in pain if you use all the performance.
While this means you’re not likely to be throwing the Swace around like a hot hatch, its good to know that it’s pretty composed and capable to drive. It’s good at ironing out the worst potholes Britain has to offer but combines that with a controlled feel, meaning it doesn’t wallow about or float too much. The steering is accurate, too, although ultimately a Ford Focus Estate is much better at keeping its driver entertained on a twisty road.
As for styling, the Swace bears a strong resemblance to the Corolla Estate (which you’d expect given they’re the same car), but with Suzuki tweaks. These include a modestly different front bumper and grille. The back end of the car is pretty much identical, bar the badging. In the metal, it’s somehow more anonymous-looking than the Corolla.
Perhaps the biggest downside, though, is that the Swace doesn’t get the same five-year warranty as Toyota offers in the Corolla as standard. It’s only three years, and you’ll need to pay for the extended warranty if required. Given the Swace is also the same price as the Corolla, ultimately it’s difficult to recommend over the original.
If you’re dead set on a Suzuki Swace, why not check out our deals page here to see how much you could save on one?
The Suzuki Swace is the Corolla's twin brother from another mother, so it's just as well the Toyota is a decent estate car.
Surprise, surprise, the Suzuki Swace’s cabin is a lot like that of its Toyota…well, you get the drift by now. It’s not as elegant to look at as Volkswagen Golf Estate’s interior, but it feels like it’s been built with long-lasting solidity more than fashion in mind.
Space is good, too: there’s more legroom than most alternatives, and while headroom isn’t quite as generous there’s room for three children to sit comfortably side-by-side, and three adults can stand short journeys without arguments.
The story is largely the same regarding the Swace’s boot. Yes, it’s ahead of alternatives such as the Renault Megane Sport Tourer, but it’s smaller than cars such as the huge Skoda Octavia Estate. On the upside, you can store the parcel shelf under the false boot floor and a mountain bike fits easily once you fold the seats.
There are two trim levels available, SZ-T and SZ5, both of which are well kitted out. SZ-T models come with 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights with automatic full beam, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, plus lane-keep assist and a pre-collision safety system.
To this, SZ5 adds front and rear parking sensors, wireless smartphone charging, bi-LED projector headlights, a blindspot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert and a parking-assist system.
Both cars also have radar-guided cruise control, lane-departure warning, road sign assist, automatic door locking and tyre-pressure monitoring.
Not the roomiest family estate money can buy, but it’s easily spacious enough for most needs
The Suzuki Swace caters pretty well for passengers in terms of outright space. Certainly those in the front will have no complaints: there’s plenty of adjustment in the seats, it’s easy to find a comfortable driving position and headroom isn’t restricted, either. The cabin is decently wide, too.
It’s a similar story in the back, where legroom is sufficient for two six footers to get comfy for long journeys. Three can fit as the middle seat isn’t too narrow, but three children would definitely be happier back there than three adults. The transmission tunnel isn’t bulky, though, so it’s easier for those in the middle to get their legs in a better position. When the middle seat isn’t in use, all models have an armrest that folds down to reveal a pair of cupholders.
One thing worth noting, however, is that those two front seats have integrated headrests, which can make it a bit more claustrophobic than other cars in the rear.
Storage is respectable in the Suzuki Swace’s cabin, if not really remarkable in any area.
For starters, the door bins aren’t especially large – bigger bottles won’t fit with ease – but the trade-off is a good sized glovebox and a number of trays and cubbyholes to store loose items. There is of course a centre armrest with a bit more stowage space, too.
Interestingly the door bins in the rear are pretty much the same size as those in the front, so those in the back won’t feel short-changed.
Unsurprisingly given the body size is identical, the Suzuki Swace’s boot swallows as much stuff as the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports on which it’s based.
That means a very competitive – but not truly outstanding – capacity of 596 litres with the rear seats up. To put it into perspective, that gives it a bigger boot than the estate versions of the Ford Focus, Renault Megane and Vauxhall Astra. It’s behind the VW Golf and Seat Leon estates, however, while the 640-litre load space of the Skoda Octavia estate is usefully bigger.
Nevertheless, the Swace’s boot is usefully large with a wide opening to make loading stuff in and out easier. It also has an adjustable boot floor as standard, so you can either hide items under the floor away from prying eyes, or use it to create a fully flat load bay. The only black mark is a simple 60/40 split for the rear seats when folded, as opposed to the more useful 40/20/40 split some alternatives offer.
Feels identical to a Corolla Touring Sports to drive, which is decent enough – but you can’t have the more powerful hybrid model
You’re not exactly spoiled for engine choice with the Suzuki Swace: you get one option, and you can like it or lump it.
It’s the 1.8-litre version of Toyota’s well-proven hybrid system, combining a 102hp four-cylinder petrol engine with a 53hp electric motor. The combined output (with both power systems working together) is a modest 122hp, however.
That’s not a huge figure in the context of family estate alternatives, and as such the Swace’s performance isn’t exactly going to pin you into the back of your seat. Happily, with the instant shove from the electric motor assisting the engine it feels sprightly enough off the line and adequate in most situations. It’s just not ideal for quickly getting up to speed on motorway slip roads or overtaking.
Fundamentally it’ll be fine for most needs, but it’s a shame Suzuki couldn’t get hold of the Corolla’s 177hp 2.0-litre version of the hybrid system, which offers noticeably less strained performance at higher speeds. At least this 1.8-litre version is excellent around town, where its CVT gearbox (which operates like it has one gear for every scenario) is exceptionally smooth at low speed driving.
Being a hybrid, it offers a bit of all-electric range, where the car’s battery can solely power the car. It does this for much shorter distances than a plug-in hybrid – a couple of miles at the most – but the trade off is there’s no need to find a charge point to top up the battery. The system charges itself, balancing between petrol and electric to give the maximum possible efficiency.
We found anything between 50-60mpg is easily achievable in everyday driving, varying between motorway and town use. That’s a match for an equivalent diesel, which is very good.
The Suzuki Swace is not a performance car by any means. Comfort is what’s generally on the menu thanks to an isolating ride and rather small wheels on both variants.
The Swace does a very good job of gliding over scarred roads and potholes without sending big jolts through the cabin. However, unlike some really softly sprung cars it doesn’t feel floaty or lean too much in the bends.
The steering is nicely direct and accurate without making the car feel nervous on the motorway, while there’s plenty of grip and a general feeling of composure. It doesn’t feel as agile or fun as a Ford Focus estate, but it isn’t bad at all.
Wind and road noise are also kept nicely at bay. The only real intrusion is the drone of that engine if you prod the throttle a bit more vigorously.
Glamorous and sexy it isn’t, but quality is good inside the Suzuki Swace and we’ve no complaints with ease-of-use
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