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Driven: 2021 Suzuki Swace SZ5. Image by Suzuki.

Driven: 2021 Suzuki Swace SZ5
Suzuki has rebadged a Toyota Corolla to create this hybrid estate car, but does it make sense with the budget brandís logo on the nose?

   



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2021 Suzuki Swace

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Suzuki is making a habit of rebadging Toyota's popular models to create cars all of its own. Some would call the approach, which has already spawned the RAV4-derived Across and this, the Corolla-based Swace, an exercise in laziness, but is it really a stroke of genius? We tried the Swace hybrid estate to find out.

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2021 Suzuki Swace
Price: Swace from £27,499, SZ5 from £29,299
Engine: 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol hybrid
Transmission: CVT automatic, front-wheel drive
Battery: 0.7kWh
Power: 122hp
Torque: 142Nm
Emissions: 103g/km
Economy/Range: 64.2mpg
0-62mph: 11.1 seconds
Top speed: 112mph
Boot space: 596 litres

Styling

The Swace is clearly related to the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports, but at least Suzuki has made an effort to differentiate its hybrid estate from the car on which it is based. There's a slightly pointier front end and some new lights, but even that can't hide the Toyota roots. That said, the Corolla is hardly an ugly car and the Swace is relatively good looking as a result. It won't win any design prizes, but it won't put any prospective customers off, either, and that's more than can be said for some Suzuki products.

Interior

The Suzuki Swace's cabin isn't the most inspiring in the class, but it's a vast step forward compared with the interiors of most Suzukis. Like the exterior, the cabin is a straight rip from the Toyota Corolla, from the iPad-style touchscreen on the dashboard to the buttons on the steering wheel. Only the badges differ from those found in the Toyota.

While that means the Swace is one of the most comfortable and best-built models in the Suzuki range, it does have its drawbacks. Chief among these is the touchscreen, which feels a little outdated by modern standards. The graphics are blocky and uninspiring, and while the menus are fairly logical, the clunky responses make it challenging to use on the move. At least it comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard, making it a little more user friendly.

Practicality

Like the Corolla Touring Sports, the Swace is certainly a practical car. Because it's only available in estate form, it comes with a massive 596-litre boot that'll prove more than big enough for most customers. Everything from school bags to holiday luggage will be swallowed with ease, and there's always the option to fold the rear seats if you desperately need more space. Cabin space is good, too, with tons of rear legroom and sufficient headroom for most adult passengers to sit comfortably.

Performance

Unlike the Corolla, the Swace is only available with one engine option. Disappointingly, it's the lower-powered 1.8-litre, which comes with 122hp and 142Nm of torque, as well as a continuously variable transmission, rather than a proper automatic. As a result, performance is hardly spritely. The sprint (we use the term loosely) from 0-62 takes 11.1 seconds and the top speed is 112mph, but the Swace feels quick enough for most customers' needs. It's more than happy at motorway speeds and it accelerates quickly enough. But the real advantage is the efficiency. Despite the tiny battery, the Swace uses battery power more often than you expect, allowing you to regularly exceed 60mpg.

Ride & Handling

Naturally, the Swace feels very similar to the Toyota Corolla on the road, and that's no bad thing. It's reasonably comfortable, particularly at speed, and the suspension does a decent job of soaking up most bumps in the road. It isn't perfect, thanks partly to the shocking state of UK roads, but it's better than some of its rivals. Unfortunately, though, it isn't especially exciting to drive. The steering is a bit numb and although grip is sufficient, the body roll will deter drivers from getting too ambitious with their cornering speeds. If you want a relaxed car for cruising about in, though, the Swace will do the job nicely.

Value

Swace prices start £27,499, making it considerably cheaper than the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports, which comes in at around £30,000. For that money, you get the basic SZ-T model, although that still comes with the eight-inch touchscreen, heated front seats and two-zone climate control. Moving up to the SZ5 we tested gets you front and rear parking sensors, as well as some other safety gizmos and a heated steering wheel, all for £29,299. And yes, that's still less than you pay for the cheapest Corolla Touring Sports.

Verdict

While the Swace may not be particularly exciting, it's a surprisingly likable car, even with all the obvious Toyota influence. Admittedly, it's a crude copy of the capable Corolla Touring Sports, but the Toyota is a massive £3,000 more expensive, and that makes the Suzuki look like excellent value. For families who just want an efficient, practical way of getting from A to B, it ticks a lot of boxes.



James Fossdyke - 10 Oct 2022



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2021 Suzuki Swace 1.8 Hybrid SZ5 CVT. Image by Suzuki.2021 Suzuki Swace 1.8 Hybrid SZ5 CVT. Image by Suzuki.2021 Suzuki Swace 1.8 Hybrid SZ5 CVT. Image by Suzuki.2021 Suzuki Swace 1.8 Hybrid SZ5 CVT. Image by Suzuki.2021 Suzuki Swace 1.8 Hybrid SZ5 CVT. Image by Suzuki.

2021 Suzuki Swace 1.8 Hybrid SZ5 CVT. Image by Suzuki.2021 Suzuki Swace 1.8 Hybrid SZ5 CVT. Image by Suzuki.2021 Suzuki Swace 1.8 Hybrid SZ5 CVT. Image by Suzuki.2021 Suzuki Swace 1.8 Hybrid SZ5 CVT. Image by Suzuki.







 

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