Almost every car manufacturer in the world has its own global car. In the case of Suzuki, it is Swift, which enjoys popularity in Europe, primarily due to its compact size, quality and very reasonable price. Because all of this, it can be said that the previous generation has been a hit. Swift has been sold in over 100 countries around the world, from November 2004 until July 2010. More than 1.9 million units were produced in seven factories around the world.
After five years of successful life in the market, there came the time for replacement. The basic ideas that the people from the Japanese company had on mind in developing the new model were based on better driving performance, lower CO2 emission, modern design and better material quality and finish considering interior. Anyway, one should really make an effort to make a better car than the already excellent predecessor and justify the name “Swift”.
Design with Character
Given that the design of the previous generation had more personality than many more expensive, rarer and larger cars, the creators of the new model had had relatively difficult task to justify the expectations. The basic design elements that define the body shape, sharp angles of A pillar and sloping roof line were retained, while the details were enhanced.
Although very similar at first glance, the differences become very evident when they stand side by side. The elongated light clusters, combined with the more robust design give the impression of a more dynamic and modern car. However, in terms of dimensions, the changes are measured in millimeters. The biggest step concerns the length (+90 mm) and wheelbase (+50 mm), while the height (+10 mm) and width (+5 mm) remain almost unchanged. So, with its length of 3.85 m, 1.69 m width and 1.51 m height, Swift is still one of the most compact B segment models.
Although the silhouette retained the proportions of the previous model, its interior is completely different story. This claim is primarily related to changes in ergonomics. The previous generation of this model was characterized by the low positioned instrument panel and high seating position. It is completely different in the new model. Besides the obvious changes in design and used materials, the driver can sit lower or “deeper” in the new Swift, if he wants to, of course. The steering wheel is depth-adjustable now, which in conjunction with the previously mentioned solutions significantly improves ergonomics i.e. possibility for some taller Europeans to drive more comfortably. On the other hand, the trunk volume is 211 liters, and you should not expect a lot of room for your knees.
The instruments appear like they have been taken from a car that belongs a class higher, and the board computer display is located where it should be – between the tachometer and speedometer. We mention these details deliberately, because they were in some way spoiling the image of this excellent model. For example, the board computer display (along with the function regulating button) was previously located in the middle of the dashboard, away from driver’s hand and pretty unreadable on a sunny day.
When the driver is placed in the relatively soft, well sized and comfortable seat, the conclusion that comes first in mind is that he is dealing with a completely new and improved model. GS trim package only reinforces the impression for not only necessary things are available for the driver, but some details that are not a usual occurrence even in D segment limousines either. This primarily refers to the whole set of equipment which includes “smart key”, Bluetooth connection, steering wheel cruise control, excellent sound system with USB port and aluminum 16-inch wheels. You should pay some 1500 euros more, but it is worth every cent.
However, even the standard GLX trim levelf is not bad at all. It offers remote central locking key, board computer, heated seats, electric side mirrors and front electric package, MP3 audio system with six speakers in addition to the manual air-conditioning. This includes ABS with EBD and BAS, seven airbags, and what is more important – ESP which has a very subtle and effective operation. We should not forget that the Swift scored 5 stars EuroNCAP safety rating.
The Swift we drove came in GS trim with the only engine in offering, according to official price list in our market. It is a new four-cylinder 1.2 unit (1242 cm³) that produces pretty good 94 hp at 4800 rpm with 118 Nm torque. One of its strongest points is the fuel consumption that we could grade as “ridiculous”. Even in the city, the fuel consumption can be kept below 6 liters (100 km). On the open road it can deliver 100 km with less than 5 liters of gasoline. Those values that board computer displayed we could usually see only in similar models with diesel engines.
too similar to the predecessor
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GS
As previously mentioned, the engine wakes up by pressing the button with a little “bass” which comes from the exhaust pipe. In addition, the new Swift is noticeably quieter and more refined. Although the rear suspension is a little bit stiffer than it used to be in the previous model, it is both more comfortable and more stable, far more than it could be concluded by looking at its dimensions. It copes with city driving well thanks to the compact dimensions and does not suffer from poor visibility either, due to the sharp angles and relatively small thickness of the roof pillars.
What built the Japanese cars reputation were powerful and reliable engines. The Swift is no exception either. However, the 1.2 engine is slightly less flexible than the previous generation, but it is noticeably more efficient and of course, cleaner. That is why it seems that the engine has two modes of operation – below and above 3500 rpm. When it “spins” over the defined limits, the Swift demonstrates the performance and sound that cannot be accurately defined by the factory data that it needs 12.3 seconds to reach 100 km/h, because it seems that despite the slightly longer gear ratios it can be a little faster.
The chronometer “said” – 11.8 seconds, while we were not able to check out the official top speed of 165 km/h. Judging by how it reached the values limited by law, we had a very strong reason to believe that it could do better.
Soft suspension has not compromised its behavior in curves, and we would claim it was one of the best in the class if we did not drive MINI. Only few cars of its class and price are so comfortable and with such good driving characteristics at the same time. The same can be said for the transmission and other commands that are “smooth as butter”. The brakes deserve superlatives as well.
The new Swift is a car with the authentic design, undisputed quality, excellent driving characteristics and rich trim level. And, all that at an affordable price! If any of the eminent and established European models had the same trim and adequate engine, its price would be at least a couple of thousand euros more than 11.350 euros which should be set aside for a base four-door model. Who thinks that “bigger is better” and who considers boot capacity as an important parameter may continue the search. Those who see beyond a few insignificant flaws will be rewarded with a really good car.
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