site search by freefind
MotorBar: 1200+ unique in-depth car reviews. Plus travel & destinations, and 1000 DVD and CD reviews. Online for 14 years. Written by experts.
Suzuki Swift 4x4 1.2 Dualjet SZ4 5-door

Click to view picture gallery“With all-wheel drive traction
  underpinning its smart five-door
  supermini body and a generous
  helping of kit, Suzuki
s latest
  addition to the popular Swift range
  is big on appeal...”


IF THAT'S NOT ENOUGH to spark your interest there's more that's new including cabin updates plus the introduction of a new Dualjet powerplant that offers both better economy (up by 7.5%) and tax-reducing emissions (0 road tax for the first year and then just 30 thereafter) from its four-cylinder 1.2-litre engine.

Punching out 88bhp, this normally-aspirated petrol engine also generates a useful 88lb ft of torque with an official Combined Cycle fuel consumption figure of 58.8mpg. In real-life driving conditions we recorded a very impressive 47.7mpg — and that was making full use of its revvy character. For the record, an economy enhancing Auto Stop/Start system is standard-fit and 50mpg+ should be within easy reach of most drivers.

This Dualjet is
a likeably eager unit
and revs happily,
and it feels quicker than
its 0-62mph time
of 13.4 seconds implies.
Better still, we recorded
a very impressive
47.7mpg — and that was
making full use of its
revvy character...”
This Dualjet is a likeably eager unit and revs happily, and it feels quicker than its 0-62mph time of 13.4 seconds implies. Accessing the power is easy enough because when you need to work the engine you'll find the slick and accurate manual gearbox with five well-spaced cogs a willing accomplice, making quick down-changes for safe overtaking a breeze. Equally, pootling along in slow-moving traffic at low engine revs is also taken easily in this 1.2's stride, as too is keeping up with fast-moving motorway traffic.

For the technically interested, the 1.2-litre Dualjet petrol engine incorporates Suzuki's latest technology, using twin fuel injectors (hence the 'Dualjet' name) very close to the engine inlet valves which allows for a finer fuel atomisation and which in turn provides a more effective transfer into the cylinder. Internal modifications to the engine include the use of a new type of inlet port and combustion chamber with other mechanical parts also modified to reduce frictional losses and facilitate smoother running. If you're not into the nuts and bolts of what's going on under your bonnet, don't worry — all you really need to know is that the Dualjet technology works very well.

Entry into the welcoming and roomy-feeling cabin is easy and the seats, upholstered in a fabric that won't burn in summer nor strike cold in winter — their blue-and-grey striped centre panels add a touch of colour to the cabin's black keynote finish, as do satin-silver trim highlights.

The seats themselves are nicely supportive with effective side bolstering and height-adjustable seatbelts to make sure you're comfortably belted-up. Above your head is a full fist of headroom and the driver can rachet up the seat quite a way. Visibility is excellent in all directions, helped by large glass areas. Placing — and parking — this 3.8 metre-long supermini is a breeze.

The satisfyingly grippy, leather-rimmed multifunction three-spoke steering wheel enhances the spot-on driving position and houses buttons for the cruise control, voice, phone and media while the trip display between the clear dials shows all the essentials: external temperature, average mpg, range, etc. The Start/Stop engine button is easily found on the fascia.

Getting around
is not only a pleasure in
the Swift 4x4 but super
easy even when you have
no idea how to get
somewhere because the
SatNav delivers
foolproof spoken
directions as well as
making absolutely clear
on the crisp 3D
mapping exactly where
it is you are...”
Getting around is not only a pleasure in the Swift 4x4 but super easy even when you have no idea how to get somewhere because the SatNav delivers foolproof spoken directions as well as making absolutely clear on the crisp 3D mapping exactly where it is you are.

Nice touches include the speed warning taken from roadside signs and below it your current road speed which flashes red if you exceed the posted limit. You next manoeuvre is also clearly highlighted.

For a compact car the Swift packs in a lot of kit. Top-spec SZ4 models come with keyless entry and an engine Start/Stop button, touchscreen SatNav, automatic AirCon with a pollen filter, Bluetooth integrated audio unit with music streaming and DAB digital radio, MP3/WMA-compatible CD tuner with USB port, electric windows (the driver's has one-shot operation), electrically-adjustable and heated door mirrors, cruise control, rear privacy glass, LED daytime running lights, tyre pressure monitoring, auto lights, a rear wiper (with intermittent setting), seven airbags including one for the driver's knee, an Electronic Stability Program, and a set of smart 16-inch alloy wheels.

City-friendly external dimensions don't make it a squeeze inside the Swift, even in the back cabin. You'll find plenty of room for feet — even size 11s! — and air between your head and the roof. The backrests are set at a relaxing angle and three headrests are fitted for when 'five' not 'four' is your payload.

Bottle-holding door bins, indispensable in the hotter weather, are present and correct, along with usable outer armrests. Rear passengers sit higher than those travelling in the front so views out are good. Childproof rear door locks and ISOFIX child seat fittings add to the driver's peace of mind if youngsters are aboard.

The keyless locking extends to the tailgate, which is handy. With 211 litres available in the deep, well-shaped boot, storing personal luggage is not a problem; drop the 60:40 split/ folding rear seatbacks and you'll free up a 533-litre loadbay. And if that's not sufficient you can always tow — as much as 1,000kg braked. The boot's underfloor area is also home to a temporary spare wheel.

While the range-topping
1.6 Swift Sport
is a real hoot to sling
around, four-wheel
drive allows the 1.2
to punch well above its
weight in the handling
stakes.
Added to that, the 4x4’s
ride quality won’t let
second-rate blacktop
spoil your journeys...”
The Swift's four-wheel drive is seamlessly integrated into the powertrain. Providing the Swift 4x4's all-wheel drive is a well-proven, fully automatic permanent 4WD system which transfers additional torque to the rear wheels whenever required. And, thanks to the use of small and lightweight components, the Swift 4x4 weighs-in at just 65kg more than an equivalent 2WD petrol model.

Along with the all-wheel drive bits under its skin, the Swift 4x4 also sports some visual 'all-terrain' clues — for a start there's an increased body ride height of 25mm (giving it 160mm of ground clearance) enhanced by black wheelarch extensions and black side skirts plus front and rear skid plates that offer extra protection over rough ground.

Even in 2WD guise the Swift is a fun steer with competent and predictable handling that keen drivers can joyfully exploit. The 4x4 difference is most noticeable when pressing on with all-wheel drive traction; front-wheel understeer is replaced by even more grip — use the willing revs and well-stacked gears with verve and the Swift 4x4 responds in kind, sticking to the road and your chosen line through the twisties. Obviously the benefits aren't just there for some 'yee-haa' driving moments, but add extra full-time safety in wet, icy and snowy weather.

If you thought the 4x4's raised suspension might be a downside along winding roads and through bends, we're pleased to say it's not — body lean is well contained and you can fully exploit the extra grip, helped enormously by sharp steering that faithfully conveys your inputs to the road.

While the range-topping 1.6 Swift Sport is a real hoot to sling around, four-wheel drive allows the 1.2 to punch well above its weight in the handling stakes. Added to that, the 4x4's ride quality won't let second-rate blacktop spoil your journeys. And when it's time to brake the stopping is reassuring courtesy of discs all-round (ventilated at the front) with aluminium-alloy callipers.

Four-wheel drive superminis are as rare as hen's teeth but despite that the Swift 4x4 comes at a fair price and promises affordable running costs. Perfect for townies, cool enough for urbanites and an excellent choice for isolated country folk who need to tackle rough terrain and wild winters. Its USP is that as well as being thoroughly all-weather practical it's also fun to drive and, for something with just 88bhp under the bonnet, the Swift 4x4 is as entertaining as it is economical. ~ MotorBar

Suzuki Swift 4x4 1.2 Dualjet SZ4 5-door | 14,199
Maximum speed: 103mph | 0-62mph: 13.4 seconds | Test Average: 47.7mpg
Power: 88bhp | Torque: 88lb ft | CO2: 111g/km