Suzuki Swift 1.2 Hatchback Review

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The Suzuki Swift is an admirable little car. It's well-equipped, has a sporty drive and boasts interior space rivaling many bigger cars. Like most things in South Africa, inflation and exchange rate have made the great Suzuki Swift 1.4 hover dangerously close to the R200 k mark.

In an effort to counter spiraling costs, Suzuki South Africa launched the 1.2 entry-level model as well as the sedan Dzire, which we drove at the launch earlier in 2014. I'm behind the wheel of the Swift 1.2 hatchback and despite it coming in substantially cheaper than its bigger-engined sibling, offers just as much fun and specification.

Engine and economy

There's a rev-happy 1.2-litre engine under the curved bonnet and it delivers 63 kW and 113 Nm. There's a great five-speed manual gearbox and changing gears in the Swift is an effortless affair. Drive enthusiastically and the car responds with eagerness. At sea level, the car has a sporty drive and it's most enjoyable. Few entry-level cars are this fun to drive.

Entertaining drive

Thanks to a superb chassis, the Swift 1.2 can be driven briskly and loves being thrown around corners. The best part is you can drive like a hooligan and won't be punished with ridiculous fuel consumption. Suzuki claims  5.7l/100 km on the combined cycle, but on our test route down to Cape Point and back, the car returned 4.7l/100 km - a fantastic result.

Space and specification

Being a Suzuki, specification is quite generous. There's a USB port with radio controls on the steering wheel, trip computer with consumption readouts, central locking, electric windows and front fog lamps. Safety wise, there's ABS with brake assist and dual airbags for the driver and passenger.

The cabin is spacious and airy, and taller folk will not be uncomfortable in the Indian-built Suzuki Swift 1.2. The boot size may be a little on the smaller side, but you can increase its dimensions by folding the seats down.


As far as entry-level cars go, I find the Suzuki Swift 1.2 a near-perfect offering. It's fun to drive characteristics thrown in with fair specification and outstanding fuel economy. If you can look past the Made In India sticker, this should be on your shopping list if you're after a fun and affordable car.

Suzuki Swift 1.2 Price in South Africa

R136 900 puts you behind the wheel of the Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL manual. There's a lower-specced 1.2 GA available for R126 900 which does away with the radio. The price includes a warranty against any defects for a period of 3 years or 100 00 km. There's also a three year anti-corrosion cover as well as a 2 year / 30 000 km service plan.

Second Opinion

The Suzuki Swift 1.2 is happy to have you rev the nuts off of it all day long and it's actually quite rewarding and entertaining to do it. Contrarily if you drive it respectfully it's super fuel efficient. It's a true Japanese simple hatchback - built to outlast its competition - Ashley Oldfield

Suzuki Swift 1.2 quick specs

Engine  1.2-litre four cylinder petrol
Power  63 kW
Torque  113 Nm
Transmission  Five-speed manual
Wheels  14-inch steel wheels
0-100km/h  12.5 seconds (estimate)
Fuel economy  5.7l/100 km (claimed)

We like: . Fun to drive . Value for money . Exceptionally light on fuel . Doesn't feel cheap

We dislike: . Boot is a little small, but that's a minor gripe

Also consider: . Hyundai i10 . Renault Sandero . Ford Figo . Toyota Etios . Volkswagen Polo Vivo