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First drive: 2023 Suzuki Swace. Image by Suzuki.

First drive: 2023 Suzuki Swace
The new Swace has just been treated to a new touchscreen and an updated hybrid system… Sound familiar?


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2023 Suzuki Swace

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

If the Suzuki Swace looks familiar, that might be because it's essentially a rebadged Toyota Corolla Touring Sports. Although when we say rebadged, we should say partially rebadged, because only the Suzuki and Swace logos are new. Even the 'hybrid' legend on the wings is identical.

Anyway, we digress. Because the Corolla has been updated, so too has the Swace, which gains an upgraded hybrid system and some fresh interior tech. So far, so familiar to anyone who's read our review of the latest Corolla. But is the slightly cheaper Swace the hybrid estate you should really choose, or is the Corolla a more rounded package?

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Suzuki Swace Ultra 1.8 Full Hybrid
Pricing: £31,399 as tested
Engine: 1.8-litre four-cylinder 'self-charging' hybrid
Transmission: e-CVT automatic, front-wheel drive
Body style: five-door, five-seat estate
CO2 emissions: 102g/km
Combined economy: 62.7mpg
Top speed: 112mph
0-62mph: 9.4 seconds
Power: 140hp
Torque: 250Nm
Boot space: 596 litres


Because Toyota didn't change the Corolla's styling very much when it introduced the latest update, the same goes for the Swace. In fact, the new model looks more or less identical to its predecessor, with only some clever LED headlight designs to mark the range-topping model out from the entry level version. And as both come with 16-inch alloy wheels, it really isn't easy to differentiate between the two. But there is some difference between the Suzuki and the Corolla, thanks to the redesigned front end. There's even an argument to say the Swace is better looking than the Corolla Touring Sports.


Like the Toyota, the Swace's cabin hasn't changed much, but the chief upgrades are to the on-board technology. That means the Suzuki now gets a new digital instrument cluster and a new central touchscreen infotainment system, both of which are effectively inherited from the cheaper versions of the Corolla.

The instrument display is arguably the highlight, offering a much more modern image than the old screen, with more configurable displays and a brighter feel. It isn't as good as the screen you'll find in a Skoda Octavia, but it's an improvement nonetheless.

As is the new touchscreen, which is considerably more appealing than that of the old Swace. It's more modern and easier to use, although it still has some limitations. Chief among these is a lack of functionality, which means it's only really much use in conjunction with the Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone integration systems, both of which are fitted to the Swace as standard.

As a result, the cabin is still a carbon copy of the Corolla's, and that's good news for those more used to conventional Suzuki products. The Swace's interior feels well built and robust, if a little uninspiring, but that's a vast improvement compared with the likes of the Vitara and the Swift, both of which feel decidedly cheap.


There isn't much point to an estate car if it isn't practical, so it's a good job the Swace delivers all the space you expect. There's loads of legroom in the back, and only very tall passengers will struggle with rear headroom, making the Suzuki well suited to family life, even for those with older children. The boot is massive, too, at 596 litres, so you should be able to get all the family's luggage in without any trouble at all.


One of the criticisms of the old Swace was that it was only available with the 1.8-litre hybrid system, unlike the Corolla, which offered a choice of 1.8- and 2.0-litre systems. That's still the case with this new Swace, but the handicap is less pronounced because of the work Toyota has done to that 1.8-litre system.

In essence, Toyota has lightened it, tweaked the cooling and fitted a new motor-generator, as well as fitting a smaller and lighter battery with a higher output. That has allowed the power output to increase to 140hp, which makes the Swace considerably more potent than its predecessor. In fact, it gets from 0-62mph almost two seconds faster.

All of which means the Swace feels like less of a cheap-and-cheerful version of the Corolla, because it's more powerful and more refined, but crucially it's no less economical. The official figures suggest you'll get almost 63mpg, and our test showed fuel economy of more than 50mpg would be possible without really trying. Low emissions of 102g/km will certainly appeal, too.

Ride & Handling

Like the new Corolla Touring Sports, the new Swace doesn’t feel all that different to its predecessor in terms of ride and handling. Although Suzuki would say the Swace didn’t really need to change very much anyway, and the Japanese company would probably have a point.

Yes, the Swace will never be exciting, but it’s quite an easy car to drive around town, and the ride is pretty good, even if the odd pothole makes its presence felt more than you might like. The seats are comfy, too, so it’s quite a pleasant car in which to cruise along the motorway.

Of course, that means those who really value cornering ability will want to look elsewhere – the Swace rolls a bit in the bends and the steering is a bit too light – but then how many petrol-heads really buy hybrid estates?


Suzuki puts quite a lot of emphasis on value, and at £28,999, the cheapest Swace does look pretty inexpensive – especially when the Corolla Touring Sports range starts at £31,545. Admittedly, the basic Motion isn’t especially well equipped, but even that comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, two-zone climate control and the digital instrument display, as well as keyless entry and a rear parking camera. Moving up to the £30,799 Ultra adds front and rear parking sensors and wireless phone charging, bringing the Swace into line with the basic Corolla.


Like the new Corolla, the new Swace is an even more compelling prospect than its predecessor, but it’s held back by its close relation with the Toyota. Given the greater choice of powertrains and specifications, as well as its better warranty, the Corolla is the obvious choice, but those loyal to the Suzuki brand – thanks in no small part to the dealer network, there are plenty of customers who fall into that category – will stand by the Swace, and they won’t be disappointed with the changes.

James Fossdyke - 2 May 2023    - Suzuki road tests
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- Swace images

2023 Suzuki Swace 1.8 Full Hybrid Ultra. Image by Suzuki.2023 Suzuki Swace 1.8 Full Hybrid Ultra. Image by Suzuki.2023 Suzuki Swace 1.8 Full Hybrid Ultra. Image by Suzuki.2023 Suzuki Swace 1.8 Full Hybrid Ultra. Image by Suzuki.2023 Suzuki Swace 1.8 Full Hybrid Ultra. Image by Suzuki.

2023 Suzuki Swace 1.8 Full Hybrid Ultra. Image by Suzuki.2023 Suzuki Swace 1.8 Full Hybrid Ultra. Image by Suzuki.   


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