£9,249 - £14,599 Price range
4 - 5 Seats
50 - 65 MPG
Expect to see a lot of hard and cheap plastics around the interior, but after all the Swift is a cheap car and the quality is largely improved over the old model. Passenger space is good, especially the knee and headroom, but the boot isn’t best in class.
Being cheap does not mean it’s bad to drive, though. On the contrary, the Swift is fun in corners. The Swift Sport is frequently compared with the best in class in terms of driving. There is a lot of wind noise at motorway speeds, but the car compensates with fluid and fun handling on twisty roads. The 4×4 model offers winter traction, but the added weight is detrimental to performance.
There are only three engines to choose from – two 1.2-litre models and a sporty 1.6. The basic 1.2 impressed testers with its blend of efficiency and performance while the larger engine is praised on its eager character and nice sound. An automatic gearbox is available for the 1.2-litre and is well received by critics.
For such a low asking price, the Swift is well equipped and all models get air conditioning except the most basic SZ2. The popular Swift Sport comes with sports seats, powerful HID headlights and a six-speed gearbox.
Suzuki is planning to launch an all-new model in 2017 – see what it will look like with our dedicated Suzuki Swift price, specs and release date article.
The Swift is a cheap car, so it’s inevitable that the cabin is built out of hard plastics. However, they’re of a higher quality than they were on the previous car and it’s built to a good standard. The dashboard design is simple but effective and all controls are intuitive. Visibility is praised with the upright windows giving you a good view all round.
Suzuki Swift passenger space
The Swift trails behind many of its rivals when to comes to interior space. Coming in for most criticism is its limited rear headroom that means taller adults will get sore necks on longer journeys. kids will fit fine, though, and Suzuki has given the car two Isofix child-seat mounts in the back, combine them with the option to have five doors and the Suzuki makes a strong case for itself if you have a young family.
Suzuki Swift boot space
The Suzuki’s 211-litre boot is smaller than in direct rivals such as the Ford Fiesta and Skoda Fabia, in fact even the tiny Volkswagen Up has a larger carrying capacity. Folding the rear seats down reveals a total capacity of 959 litres.
One major area where the Swift is an improvement over its predecessor is in refinement. There’s still a bit of wind noise at higher speeds, but overall most of the testers thought it was a quiet and comfortable car, given its size and price.
Due to its short overhangs and good visibility, the Swift is also easy to drive in town, with the ride dealing well with all but the worst bumps in the road.
It’s also an excellent car on twisty roads, thanks to the direct steering and eager engines – in terms of being fun to drive it’s right up there with Ford’s excellent Fiesta.
Pick the Sport model and you’ll have one of the finest-driving small hatchbacks on the market thanks to a punchy engine and suspension that helps the Swift dart into corners like a go-kart, while still providing a comfortable ride. Less impressive is the 4×4 model because although the extra winter traction is useful, the car’s added weight contributes to a slightly dulled drive and slower performance.
Suzuki Swift 4×4
A relative rarity in a car the size of the Swift is the option to fit four-wheel drive. It makes the car slower and more expensive to run, but the extra grip it offers makes sense if you live in a rural area where you’re likely to encounter slippery roads on a regular basis. Raised suspension means it can also handle rough, heavily rutted tracks.
There are only three engines on offer in the Swift now, with a pair of 1.2-litre petrols powering the regular Swift range and a 1.6 petrol for the Sport model. The basic petrol manages respectable fuel economy of 56.5mpg, while CO2 emissions of just 116g/km means that road tax costs £30 annually. With 89hp it has plenty of power for town driving and motorway cruising, but you’ll need to take care when performing high-speed overtakes.
New to the range is the 1.2-litre Dualjet engine, which is only available on SZ4 trim. It’s actually slightly slower than the more basic car, but you do get lower running costs – fuel economy rises to 65.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 99g/km mean taxing the car is free. It also gives the Swift a little more torque lower down in the rev range, meaning that it’s even easier to drive around town and nip into gaps in traffic without having to change down a gear.
We tested a Swift fitted with the 1.2-litre Dualjet engine in 2015 and were impressed with its ability to quickly pull the car from 40mph up to motorway speeds without a struggle. It doesn’t quite have the punch of rivals’ turbocharged engines, such as the 1.0-litre Ecoboost in the Ford Fiesta, but as long as you’re happy to let the engine rev the Swift can offer decent acceleration.
Suzuki Swift automatic
There is a four-speed automatic available on the Swift, and those who tried it out had nice things to say. It’s smooth in its operation and the overdrive feature means it’s just as effortless on motorways as the manuals. However, it’s only available on the top-spec 1.2-litre petrol model, and adds about £1,000 to the Swift’s list price.
Suzuki Swift Sport engine
The 1.6-litre engine in the Swift Sport produces 134hp; not a huge figure but combined with the Suzuki’s light weight it offers decent performance, getting the car from 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds on the way to a top speed of 120mph. The Sport is the only Swift model to come with a six-speed gearbox and, alongside making for a better motorway car, its swift precise action means it is also fun to use.
The 1.2 petrol powered Swift does get some fairly positive reviews. Being the smallest engine in the range, the tiny motor does have a slight lack of grunt, but its cheap running costs and eager-to-rev nature does make the entry level Swift an enticing prospect.
With only 98bhp on offer at the higher end of the rev scale, the 1.2 unit needs to be worked fairly hard to keep up with the traffic, especially during overtaking manoeuvres on motorways. However, it’s still a fairly comfortable and refined car for its class, and the Swift’s peaky power delivery and high-revving engine makes it a fair bit of fun on twisty roads. Fuel economy is also a plus-point, with up to 56 mpg being possible.
It’s not the most refined car in its class, and there are rivals that offer a better compromise between handling and ride quality. However, the Swift is far from a bad car, and in some cases is cheaper to buy and run than a few of its premium competitors. If you can live with the slightly lethargic performance, the Swift is a car that’s certainly worth having a look at.
Testers describe it as "lethargic" and "weedy", neither an adjective you want from a model designed to get you out of tricky spots. It's a "sweet-spinning" unit and the extra traction is welcome, but you'll add two seconds to the 1.2's 0-60 time and shave 5 mpg off the fuel economy.
In the end, you may be better off saving the money and putting winter tyres on a regular Swift, as one tester recommends.
Available only in SZ4 trim, you get 74 horsepower and a 12.7-second 0-60 sprint - a little slower than the petrol, but still respectable. Its real benefit is economy, of course - 72.4 mpg combined and a £20 tax bill mean running costs should be low. The only real issue is that purchase price and the high trim level - you'd need to do tens of thousands of miles to recoup the difference to one of the cheaper petrol offerings - and the fun-to-drive Swift Sport is cheaper too.
Power comes from a 1.6 naturally aspirated petrol engine with 134bhp on tap. It’s not the quickest car in the world, but the motor loves to rev, and the light weight makes it a hoot in the corners. It’s also quite good on the motorway – the ride is now fairly comfortable, and the long sixth gear makes it a moderately refined cruiser. Fuel economy has been improved over the old car, with a claimed figure of 44 mpg and a very tax friendly CO2 output of 147g/km.
It does, however, have its faults – some testers did reckon it could benefit from a bit more power additional power, and it’s not as cheap to buy as its more hardcore rival, the Renaultsport Twingo. However, the Swift Sport comes with lots of kit, decent space and impressive refinement for a sporty supermini. Overall, it’s a best of both worlds hot hatch that’s easy to recommend.
The range received a facelift in 2013 but it hasn’t been tested under the most recent (and stricter) standard.
The ordinary Swift is quite an affordable car, running from around £9k-£14k depending on how you choose to specify it. It’s fairly well appointed for such a cheap car in any case, with seven airbags, front fog lights, keyless entry and ignition as standard, and air-con being available on all but the most basic SZ2 models.
Coupled with decent fuel economy, low road tax and cheap insurance, it will be relatively inexpensive to run too.
Despite the visual similarities and seemingly minor updates, the new Swift is a substantial improvement over the old car. The ride and interior build quality are all better than before, there’s slightly more space on offer and it’s as fun and as affordable as ever.
It may not be the absolute best in its class, but it’s proof that you don’t need to spend loads of money to get a good new car. The Swift does nothing badly and yet is characterful and charming – and as good to drive as anything in the class.