It’s the all-new Suzuki Swift MkIV and this is very good news if you’re a regular follower of Top Gear, because the Swift Sport has always been one of our favourite everyday performance champions. No Sport to tell you about yet, sadly (although after a bit of gentle torture a Suzuki PR person did admit “the Sport is definitely on the way”), but there’s enough in the make-up of the regular hatchback to make us a bit excited about the forthcoming warm version of the Japanese supermini. More on that in a moment. (READ: Suzuki Jimny 2019 Acceleration Price)
First, however, we probably need to clarify Suzuki’s range for you, as you’re no doubt wearing a puzzled expression, while possibly uttering the words ‘but I thought Suzuki already had a supermini, in the form of the Baleno?’ You’re right. But Suzuki would not be alone in offering a multitude of small cars of varying shapes that all seem to be of the same denomination. Look at Vauxhall, for instance: it has the Adam, the Corsa and the Viva. Ford similarly has the Ka+ and the Fiesta, as well as the EcoSport. Seems you just can’t get away with one supermini-sized offering any more, so Suzuki is hedging its bets and banging out three of the blighters, in the form of the Baleno, Ignis micro-SUV and this Swift, its longest-serving hatchback.
The Swift therefore fulfils a function whereby it provides a more chic and compact supermini as a counterpoint to the spacious-but-bargain Baleno, which is perhaps a more (how can we put this?) rational car. So you get some classic Swift design features, like the wraparound windscreen and the sloping roof, plus distinctive C-pillar treatment that now has a ‘floating roof’ effect. Even the light clusters front and rear aren’t that much different to the old car’s units, although the ‘smiling mouth’ lower front grille is not going to meet with universal rapture.
Nevertheless, the Swift is smaller (10mm shorter, 15mm lower, although 40mm wider) and considerably lighter than its predecessor, and it sits on the company’s ‘Heartect’ platform, used for the Baleno and Ignis. But a 20mm-stretched wheelbase means there’s plenty of space within and a boot that’s bigger by 54 litres than the old car’s cargo bay, standing at 265 litres with all seats in situ. That’s some clever packaging work.
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Two engines, the 1.2-litre Dualjet normally aspirated four-cylinder petrol and the much more charismatic 1.0-litre Boosterjet three-cylinder motor do the donkey work and both of them can be mated to the Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki (SHVS) system; this doesn’t add anything in terms of outright torque or performance, but it does marginally cut the emissions and gives the combined economy a little tickle upwards. The 1.2 SHVS is also an Allgrip 4×4 model, while the 1.0 SHVS is the only Swift that comes with the option of an automatic transmission. So, with all this in mind, what’s it like behind the wheel?
Suzuki Swift hatchback running costs
The Swift looks incredibly good value when viewed next to its main rivals at list price. It’s cheaper to buy than a Ford Fiesta, VW Polo, Skoda Fabia and comes with more equipment across its trim levels, too. It’s a little early to confirm whether finance deals will be better than rival ones, but with resale values looking fairly strong at this stage and with these low prices there’s no reason to think they won’t be competitive.
With such small engines, no version of the Swift is thirsty, the worst performer is the Boosterjet auto that gets an official combined 56.5mpg on the official economy cycle and emits 114g/km of carbon. If you can change your own gears, the Boosterjet manages 61.4mpg and 104g/km or 65.7mpg and 97g/km with the SHVS system – and is the best bet for company car drivers. The 1.2 Dualjet matches the fuel economy but is 1g/km worse at 98g/km. Even the 4WD 1.2 is good for 101g/km and 62.8mpg.
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While the Swift’s servicing costs are about average at this level, it’s worth pointing out that its insurance costs are unusually high. It’s due to expensive repair costs, and hence a high group rating. Suzuki is aware and trying to sort out it, so it could lower over time.