Swift 1.2 SZ4 5-door
supermini Swift range is
topped-off by the hard-charging
134bhp Sport model
have to go that high up the
line to have fun in a Swift. Even the
56.5mpg, 1.2-litre model can bring
a smile to your face while performing
its everyday duties...
WITH JUST 92BHP and 87lb ft of torque you might think we're having a laugh
we're not; we're deadly serious. A week of hard-driving
behind the wheel of the recently revamped Swift, in all sorts of challenging
weather, point-to-point on country backroads as well as more regular blacktop,
has once again proved that it's not so much what's under your bonnet as what's
under the bodywork that counts.
Schumacher was fond of telling how he first learnt to 'carry speed' driving
a Fiat 500. And the Swift even the 'bread-and-butter' versions
has a chassis that lets you do just that. Given the right underpinnings,
1,242cc and 92bhp is more than enough to get the job done well
103mph and zero to 62mph dusted in 12.3 seconds.
backroads you can track through tricky hairpins and storm through sweeping bends
safe in the knowledge that the Swift's chassis can handle getting you through
Schumacher was fond
of telling how he first
learnt to carry speed
driving a Fiat 500.
And the Swift even the
version has a chassis
that lets you do
Okay, you might not be travelling at the velocity of an Evo, but nevertheless
there's a genuine satisfaction to be had by getting your lines right and carrying
your speed with you. Do so and you can cover ground surprisingly swiftly.
The Swift's tidy body control and good grip keep it stable however you punt
it, and it feels secure at speed. Plus the electrically-assisted steering comes
with crisp turn-in and is as quick as a kitten. Add in decent brakes with good
brake pedal feel and you have a well-rounded, wieldy, and fun driving machine.
In fact, very much like the 1.2's big brother, the harder-charging 1.6 Swift
The 1.2-litre dual VVT (Variable intake and exhaust Valve Timing) petrol engine
under the Swift's bonnet is a little gem; it spins sweetly, willingly delivering
pulling power across a broad range although it really hits the spot around 4,500rpm.
And even when you cane it, it never sounds thrashed only eager.
Although top gear is numbered 'five' and not 'six', motorways can be cruised
calmly 70mph calls for 3,000rpm in top, keeping it all pleasantly
stress-free on long trips. Whatever your driving style, this 1.2 will be happy
to play along.
And while you do need to work the 1.2-litre's gears if you want the pace, the
five-speed manual 'box is a team player, pitching in with fast and light changes
made even better by a short throw and a light clutch action.
On several solo trips through the narrow, serpentine (and sometimes dangerously
deceptive) country lanes criss-crossing the Kent countryside between Hastings
and Sandwich in unrelenting rain, the 1.2 Swift proved to be a thoroughly entertaining
and reassuringly predictable companion with the audio system mute
every mile of the way.
More good news none of the above generates a hidden ride penalty.
The ride does have a firm-ish edge but the suspension is compliant enough to
absorb the fallout from even quite bad potholes without jarring. Good enough
to make the Swift a car you, and your passengers, will like travelling in on
a regular basis.
a ride is easy whichever of the doors you use, front or rear,
all open wide to let you into the Swift's well-equipped cabin. Standard kit
on our Silky Silver metallic SZ4 test car was pretty comprehensive with keyless
entry, push button start, automatic AirCon with pollen filter, and a MP3/WMA-compatible
CD tuner with four speakers and two tweeters.
On solo trips through
the serpentine country
the Kent countryside in
unrelenting rain, the
Swift proved to be an
companion with the
audio system mute every
mile of the way...
You also get steering wheel-mounted controls on a three-spoke, leather-wrapped
steering wheel, Bluetooth integrated audio unit with music streaming, USB, cruise
control, four power windows (one-shot up/down for the driver), electrically-adjustable
and heated door mirrors, green tinted glass along with rear privacy glass, and
Safety items are numerous: a five-star NCAP rating, LED daytime running lights,
Electronic Stability Program, seven airbags (with one for the driver's knee),
foot-protecting brake and clutch pedals, height adjustable front belts, Isofix
child seat anchorages, childproof rear door locks, headlamp levelling, front
fog lamps, rear wash/wipe, auto lights, and ABS with EBD and Brake Assist.
You sit well off the floor in the wide, sensibly bolstered front seats, which
are nicely accommodating and upholstered in smart black fabric with tasteful
blue-and-grey pinstriped centre panels. Outer armrests on the doors are welcome,
and the Swift's high roofline also means headroom's not an issue.
The driving position is spot-on thanks to seat height adjustment and plenty
of reach and rake for the multifunction (voice, phone, cruise, and audio) three-spoke
steering wheel. Visibility out is excellent, helped by large glass areas and
slim pillars placing and parking the Swift is a doddle.
All trim materials look good, as does the dash with everything laid out logically,
and fit and finish is neat. Plus there's plenty of in-cabin storage including
a large glovebox, cupholders, deep centre console, a lidded bin in the top of
the fascia, and capacious bottle-holding pockets on all doors.
Rear passengers have enough leg room and plenty of space for their feet as well
as outer armrests, and the rear bench is comfy and will accommodate three. Travel
in the back and you sit higher than those up front, with air above your head,
and can enjoy the views out through the privacy glass.
two extra doors it's now easier to carry three in the rear cabin; but they'll
have to travel fairly light boot space is 211 litres although
528 is available if you aren't using the rear seats. Folded down they offer
a flat loadbay; the small 'step' between the folded seats and the boot floor
is not a problem.
This Suzuki 1.2 four-pot
is one of the cleanest
petrol engines on
the market; its 116g/km
of CO2 attracts an annual
road tax bill of just £30.
Its also refreshingly
miserly with unleaded
at the end of a weeks
spirited testing, our 1.2
had averaged 49mpg...
As they're split 60:40, there's always the option of mixing-and-matching people
and packages with one or two travelling south of the driver and front passenger.
Access to the regular-shaped boot is helped by a high-opening tailgate. And
Suzuki give you a real spare wheel and tyre, albeit a space-saver. Still, better
by far than a can of puncture sealant. The lightweight rear parcel-shelf-cum-luggage
cover is easily removed; in situ it's hollowed out so light items can be carried.
This Suzuki 1.2 four-pot is one of the cleanest petrol engines on the market;
its 116g/km of CO2 (one of the lowest in its class) attracts an annual road
tax bill of just £30. In addition it's refreshingly miserly with unleaded: officially
46.3mpg urban; 56.5 combined; and 64.2 extra-urban. At the end of a week's spirited
testing, our 1.2 had averaged 49mpg a real-world figure that should
For the record, the Swift recently received some cosmetic upgrades (too subtle
to qualify as a makeover) and specification changes as well as the introduction
of two extra models to the line-up the 4x4 five-door 1.2-litre
and the five-door 1.6-litre Sport. Styling refreshments to the regular Swift
include a new design front bumper and grille with silver detailing, a new LED
high-level brake light, and new design alloy wheels. As the wisdom says: If
it ain't broke…
The Swift delivers a genuinely enjoyable drive for those who appreciate such
things; even if you don't like grinning when you're driving, it still satisfies
as a great everyday car that's usefully compact for today's cluttered roads
while at the same time being accommodating enough to successfully deliver on
all real-life's motoring requirements.
And, as a racing driver once remarked, it's more satisfying to get speed out
of a 'slow' car that have it all handed to you by a big, lazy V8. A sentiment
thoroughly confirmed by a spirited drive in the 1.2-litre Swift. MotorBar
Swift 1.2 SZ4 5-door | £14,369
Maximum speed: 103mph | 0-62mph: 12.3 seconds | Average Test MPG: 49mpg
Power: 92bhp | Torque: 87lb ft | CO2 116g/km