SUZUKI SWIFT 2005 – 2012

2006 Suzuki Swift

2006 Suzuki Swift

Suzuki Swift was a big seller in Australia in the 1980s and ‘90s, but was inexplicably discontinued in 2000. Realising they had made a mistake the importers introduced an all-new Swift in February 2005.

The older Swifts, which incidentally were also imported by Holden and badged as Barinas are also worth consideration but are so different to the later models that we will cover them in a separate used-car feature.

The 2005 Suzuki Swift is significantly bigger than the original ones, giving it a better ride and a more relaxed interior. The chunky lines of the body greatly appealed to many and the new Swift was a hit from day one. A set of bigger wheels and tyres works wonders in the visual stakes, and adding the right body kit further improves them.

2011 Suzuki Swift

2011 Suzuki Swift

The Suzuki Swift isn’t only about looks, though. It has a better suspension and steering than most cars in this class and provides driving pleasure to those who like sharp steering. Good throttle response from the engine is another fun factor.

Swift has good interior space for a car in this class. Obviously there isn’t space for large adults, but the little Suzuki lets you juggle the seats to get the best from the interior space. The front seats have a good spread of fore-and-aft adjustment and the driver’s seat can be raised and lowered.

Boot space is good for a car of this size, though small in absolute terms. There’s the usual option of folding down the seat back in various ways to make it a better luggage carrier.

2009 Suzuki Swift RE4

2009 Suzuki Swift RE4

Two adults and a couple of kids fit nicely, though the most common use of Swift is for a single or couple.

A major model change in June 2011 retained the same cheeky look as the 2005 model, but is a little larger, with more space in the back seat.

Unlike many so-called ‘sports’ models, the Swift Sport actually has added engine and dynamic performance than the standard series. It has a larger engine, at 1.6 litres, to back up its firmer suspension, sporty body kit and enhanced interior.

The Swift Sport engine is a punchy unit and while it doesn’t exactly turn the Swift into a hot hatch it offers enjoyable performance at an extremely modest price.

Power comes from a twin-cam, multi-valve engine, with a capacity of 1.5 litres in most of the original Swifts. The engine size on these standard cars was reduced to 1.4 litres in the 2011 Swift, but the new design of engine provides pretty much the same performance and uses less petrol.

Many Swifts in Australia have a five-speed manual gearbox, there’s also the option of a four-speed automatic transmission, the latter is not offered in the Swift Sport.

Though this is a small car there’s generally good underbonnet space so it’s possible to do a fair bit of repair and servicing work yourself. Please leave anything that could affect safety to the professional mechanics.

There are a reasonable number of Suzuki dealers in Australia, though they tend to be concentrated in the metropolitan and major country cities.

This little Suzuki has a simple design so most mechanics will have no trouble looking after it if you’re in an area without an official dealer.

We have heard of no real problems with spare parts supply and the prices aren’t too bad for a fully imported car.

Insurance costs are towards the lower end of the scale and we don’t know of any companies that charge extra for the Sport version. However, the Sport may attract attention if you do make a claim and therefore increase next year’s premiums.

Be wary of a Swift that has been modified in the body and mechanicals as these may indicate it has had a hammering by a look-at-me driver.

Look for body damage and/or signs of it having been repaired.

Check that the engine starts within a second of you turning the key, even if it’s completely cold in the morning.

Manual gearchanges should be light, easy and quiet. Anything else should immediately make you suspicious.

Automatic transmissions that skip up and down through the gears too often may have problems.

Make sure the brakes pull the car up evenly and that none of the wheels lock up before the others.

If ABS is fitted check that there’s a pulsing through the brake pedal under hard application.

Budget on paying from $5500 to $9000 for a 2005 Suzuki Swift; $7000 to $10,000 for a 2006 Swift S; $9000 to $14,000 for a 2007 Sport; $10,000 to $14,000 for a 2011 GL; $13,000 to $18,000 for a 2012 GLX; and $15,000 to $22,000 for a 2012 Sport.

Cars with excessive modifications may have been driven hard and often sell for less than unchanged originals.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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