Suzuki – the fastest-growing automotive brand in the country – has updated its top-selling model, the Swift. We headed out to Gordon’s Bay to give it a whirl.
What’s new on the Suzuki Swift?
Even Suzuki regards this update to its popular compact hatchback/budget car as "minor". The revision incorporates a few new colours (including some 2-tone options on the GLX derivatives) and a new 15-inch alloy wheel design. If you have a look at the front grille, you’ll notice the addition of a chrome strip that looks a little like a French moustache... that’s also part of the update.
A big move on the safety front is the inclusion of electronic stability control across the range. Hill-start assist is now included on the AMT (automated manual) derivatives, which makes the task of pulling away on an incline a much simpler affair. Rear parking sensors have been added to GA and GL versions, while the GLX is additionally fitted with a reverse-view camera.
The silver strip midway through the bumper is part of the minor visual update.
Aside from the minor inclusions, the rest of the package remains unchanged; it's powered by the simple naturally aspirated 1.2-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine with 61 kW and 112 Nm of torque. It’s a very fuel-efficient powerplant that enables the Swift to regularly return average consumption figures well in the ballpark of the manufacturer's claim of 4.9 L/100 km.
As for pricing, in spite of the raft of new updates, Suzuki SA has instituted no more than an inflationary increase across the Swift range. The Swift has always been a budget car that offers customers excellent value and has walked away with a trio of consecutive #CarsAwards Budget Car of the Year wins.
What’s the Suzuki Swift like to drive?
New 16-inch alloy wheels and two-tone paint schemes are now part of the Swift's offering.
Suzuki may be a value-for-money-oriented car brand (most of its models – at the very least, the top-selling ones – can be grouped into "budget car" segments), but the Japanese firm certainly knows a thing or two about how to make a small car fun to drive. The Swift Sport is an absolute hoot to drive, but even when at the 'wheel of a 63-kW 1.2-litre version, there’s still some fun to be had.
It’s a light car and quite agile because of its low kerb weight, but, unlike some of its competitors, it doesn’t feel ungainly or tinny. The 5-speed manual has such a natural and quick shift action; you can’t help but enjoy making snap(py) shifts. At 120 kph, the revs are a little on the high side (at about 3 500 rpm), which brings with it a bit of engine noise, but as a city runabout, the Swift’s eager to just get on with it.
What’s connectivity like in the Suzuki Swift?
The top-spec 1.2 GLX comes standard with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that’s identical to that seen in the updated Ignis and the Vitara Brezza. There’s a USB port that enables Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity, whereas the 1.2 GL features a standard CD player radio with Bluetooth connectivity and a USB port, while the 1.2 GA has a simple radio without mobile connectivity options.
Is the Suzuki Swift spacious and comfortable?
The GLX interior now features a reverse camera built into the infotainment system.
The 1.2 GLX is well-appointed with a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear lever. The steering column is height- and reach-adjustable and, impressively, the driver's seat is height adjustable too.
In terms of overall dimensions and, therefore, interior space, the Swift is on the smaller side, at least compared with its rivals (which admittedly are more expensive) and has a fairly meagre claimed luggage capacity of 268 litres. Passenger space up front is acceptable, however. There are 2 cupholders in front of the gear lever, a small shelf for a smartphone, as well as door pockets.
The rear legroom is tight, especially when you're seated behind taller drivers, but the seatback’s not uncomfortably tight against your knees if you're an adult aft passenger of average height.
Is the Suzuki Swift safe?
The addition of electronic stability control will almost certainly increase the Swift's appeal in the eyes of safety-conscious buyers, because it reduces the risk of getting into a road accident in the first place. Dual front airbags are standard as is ABS/EBD. The only addition we'd like to see at this end of the market is the inclusion of curtain airbags, but as it stands, the Swift offers as much safety kit as its rivals.
Rear parking sensors across the range, as well as the aforementioned reverse-view camera for the 1.2 GLX, are great additions and should reduce those frustrating bumps and scuffs that inevitably occur.
Suzuki Swift pricing and after-sales
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GA MT - R180 900
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL MT - R199 900
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL AMT - R214 900
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GLX MT - R218 900
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GLX AMT - R234 900
The retail price includes a 5-year/100 000 km promotional warranty and 2-year/30 000 km service plan.
The Swift remains an excellent value for money offering that's fun to drive.
This update to the Suzuki Swift incorporates changes that really are minor, but it was certainly worthwhile to add electronic stability control to the local line-up... A safer car is a better car. Obviously, Suzuki didn’t want to mess with its winning Swift formula, or the range's price list, for that matter, so it remains a great buy and excellent value-for-money proposition for those shopping in the budget-car segment.