Suzuki Swift

The Essentials

  • Price from £10,660
  • What Car? says: 3 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 67.3mpg
  • What is it? The Suzuki Swift offers sharp styling and handling in an affordable package, but falls down in several key areas

Great

  • Looks good and is fun to drive
  • A bargain to buy and won't break the bank to run
  • Top marks for safety

Gripes

  • Petrol engine needs cajoling to perform
  • Rival superminis offer more bag space in the boot
  • Interior quality is a letdown
  • Drive

    Handling has the fun factor, but the petrol engine is a bit weedy

  • Inside

    Lots of adjustment to get you comfy behind the wheel and a great view out - what's not to like?

  • Safety

    Very impressive: standard stability control, seven airbags (including one for the driver's knees) and top marks in crash tests

  • Reliability

    Solid, but not exactly special

  • Space

    Passengers can stretch out in comfort but the luggage will have to squeeze up

  • Standard and extras

    Basic cars get some decent kit, but you'll need to upgrade for goodies like alloy wheels, air-con or Bluetooth

  • What's it like to drive?

    The little Suzuki is a hugely entertaining to drive. Grip is good and so is body control, which makes the Swift feel really darty and agile. The steering, on the other hand, could do with a bit more feedback. The ride has a firm edge, too, and all versions are noisy.
    The 93bhp 1.2-litre petrol unit feels a bit sluggish unless you give it plenty of revs. The 1.3 diesel has less power - just 74bhp - but thanks to its good slice of low-end pull, it feels perkier than the 1.2 petrol. The range topping Sport model has a 134bhp 1.6, which gives junior hot hatch pace.

  • What's it like inside?

    The Swift's high roofline means you'll have bags of headroom whichever seat you're sitting in, but rear legroom isn't great compared to the roomiest superminis. Plenty of other superminis have bigger boots, too, and folding the rear seats down leaves a big step in the boot floor.
    The big windows and skinny pillars mean you get a great view of the road, and getting comfortable is easy (in all but the entry-level car) because there's reach- and rake adjustment for the steering column, plus a seat-height adjuster. The dash is reasonably simple, too, so finding most functions is a doddle.
    The Swift comes in three trim levels. The most basic SZ2 cars have powered front windows, remote central locking, electric door mirrors, and a CD player with USB connection and steering wheel controls. SZ3 models add air-con and alloys.

  • How reliable is it?

    Suzukis aren't as reliable as some Japanese brands, and the Swift achieved only an average score for mechanical reliability in the most recent JD Power ownership satisfaction survey.
    All Swifts will come with an impressive collection of standard safety kit, which includes stability control and seven airbags (one of which protects the driver's knees in a smash). That helped the Suzuki achieve an impressive 94% for adult safety and 82% for child protection in its Euro NCAP crash test - a Hyundai i20 managed 88% and 83% respectively.

  • Should I buy one?

    Affordability is one of the little Suzuki's big selling points, and the pricing reflects that - the Swift undercuts most rivals by a fair wedge. Discounts probably won't be huge, but resale values should be pretty good. We'd recommend sticking with the entry-level 1.2 petrol, unless you're looking for a junior hot hatch, in which case the 1.6 Sport is an absolute gem.