NEW SUZUKI SWIFT IS SOPHISTICATED

Suzuki_Swift_front - CopyThe new Suzuki Swift looks like a Suzuki Swift. To anyone not into cars this will seem a daft statement. But this little Suzuki is starting to make a lasting name for itself in the styling stakes.

It’s perhaps not in the Beetle or Mini category yet, being only 12 years of age, but may we forecast the Swift will continue to keep its very successful theme for many years to come? Obviously, with updates along the way.

Swift’s profile remains the same, the headlights continue the vertical headlight look, the grille is more upright but keeps in-theme. The biggest changes are to the C-Pillars, these have interesting new two-part upper edges that include the door handles. Not sure that we like the C-pillar style at first sight, but it may grow on us.

Yep, new Swift is the same – but different. As the sixth millionth Swift will soon come down the Japanese assembly line this is a pretty smart move.

New Swift is remarkably sophisticated for its class, carrying safety and technology features often only seen on larger, more expensive European cars.

Changes under the skin of new Swift are significant. It sits on an all-new platform that’s stronger and more rigid than the one it replaces, yet is 30 kilograms lighter. This adds stiffness to the body, providing a stable platform for the redesigned suspension, as well as improving noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels.

Though shorter and lower than before the gen-three Suzuki Swift is significantly wider and sits on a longer wheelbase. This makes for added interior and boot space. However the seats have been lowered to keep headroom the same as before and the lower seats may make it more difficult for those who are no longer young to get in and out. Try for yourself.

Swift comes in four models: GL, GL Navi, GL+ and GLX. Prices start at just $16,990 and go up to $22,990. A full list is provided in the attached table.

There are two engines: a naturally-aspirated 1.2-litre four-cylinder with 66 kW of power, and 120 Nm of torque at a high 4400 rpm. This is a relatively basic engine, though it does have twin injectors in each cylinder (gaining the tag of Dualjet).

Suzuki_Swift_rear - Copy

In the GL this engine sits beside a five-speed manual or a CVT automatic. The auto is a heavily revised version of the previous CVT, with a wider spread of ratios from lowest to highest. The GL Navi and GL+ only have this automatic transmission.

Only offered in the topline Swift GLX is a European style 1.0-litre turbocharged triple (tag: Boosterjet). It provides a pretty reasonable 82 kW of power. But its big feature is strong torque of 160 Nm all the way from 1500 to 4000 revs. Thus it’s likely to be at maximum torque virtually all the time for most drivers.

Interestingly, Suzuki has chosen not to go for a CVT auto with this engine, instead using a conventional torque-convertor unit with six forward ratios.

Safety has received high priority, with all models in the new Swift range having dual front airbags, front side airbags, curtain airbags and three child-seat tether anchorages. ABS brakes with BAS. Electronic Stability Control (ESP). Models from GLX upwards have a sophisticated suite of additional safety items: Collision mitigation braking system, Lane Departure Warning (however this only works at speeds of 60 km/h and above, which doesn’t quite make sense).

DRIVING
At this stage we have only been able to test the gen-three Suzuki Swift at the Mount Cotton Training Centre near Brisbane. That was to let us test the new safety systems in controlled conditions. We will book ourselves into a couple for conventional road tests soon and bring you details immediately afterwards.

The 1.0-litre turbo-petrol unit is a real delight to sit behind. Responsive, willing and more than happy to rev it’s a real beauty in the lightweight Swift.

Suzuki cleverly brought along example of gen-two Swifts to compare with the new model. Good as though that 2011 was in its day the new series is significantly better in many ways.

It’s smoother and quieter inside. Comfort is good and there’s a really sophisticated feel that’s sees the little Suzy way above its class. Road noise was noticeably lower in the new model. Handling is sharper with good steering feel and less tyre squeal when pushed hard (don’t forget we were on controlled roads).

All-in-all this is a sophisticated small car that will be at home not only in its native territory of the suburbs, but also on country trips.

The complete 2017 Suzuki Swift range is:
GL: $16,990 (manual), $17,990 (automatic)
GL Navi: $18,990 (automatic)
GL Navi+: $19,990 (automatic)
GLX: $22,990 (automatic)
Note: These are driveaway prices and include government or dealer delivery charges.

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