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First drive: 2024 Suzuki Swift. Image by Jordan Butters.

First drive: 2024 Suzuki Swift
With a new look, new tech and better performance, will the Swift become a leader in the small hatchback class?

   



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2024 Suzuki Swift Mild Hybrid

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With the Ford Fiesta now dead in the water, the sharks are circling. The likes of Peugeot, Renault and Vauxhall have all updated their small hatchbacks to compete for buyers' affections, and now it's Suzuki's turn. The old Swift was a cheap, reliable and surprisingly enjoyable choice, but the new car promises more modernity, more tech and more efficiency. Will that be enough to make it one of the best in the business?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2024 Suzuki Swift 1.2 Mild Hybrid Ultra
Price: From £18,699
Engine: 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine with mild-hybrid system
Transmission: five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power: 82hp
Torque: 112Nm
Emissions: 99g/km
Economy: 64.2mpg
0-62mph: 12.5 seconds
Top speed: 103mph
Boot space: 265 litres

Styling

By Suzuki's own admission, the new Swift's design is merely an evolution of the old Swift's design. To our eyes, it's a bit more awkward, with the clamshell bonnet jarring with the new headlights, while the grille carries on more or less unchanged. It looks like a knock-off of itself. The basic shape isn't too bad, though, and familiarity may breed some more affection for a characterful small car. The new paint colours are more of a triumph, though, with a three-layer blue that's deeper and more lustrous than before, and a rich red, but the Cool Yellow (that's more of a metallic sage green) is more of an acquired taste.

Interior

Suzuki is clearly quite proud of the new Swiftís cabin, which is a much more inviting place than it was before. A new design incorporates pale dashboard trim and chrome-effect parts, as well as some 3D-textured trim and embossed fabric upholstery. The overall look is much more modern, and improved materials make it feel more upmarket, even if it still feels more functional than fancy.

Also adding to that effect is the new touchscreen, which is more heavily angled towards the driver and offers far more functionality than the old screen. That isnít to say itís perfect ó it still feels a bit olde worlde ó but it does everything you want it to and it comes with wireless smartphone integration technology, which makes life a bit easier. Unfortunately, Suzuki hasnít paired the system with a digital instrument display, but the conventional dials are supplemented by a kind of glorified trip computer.

Practicality

The Swift's cabin is reasonably spacious, with lots of room for two adults up front. It's a shame the company persists with ratchet-style seat adjustment, rather than the more comfortable 'infinite' option, but the seats are really comfy, and even for those in the rear, space is adequate. Two average-size adults will get in there easily without banging their knees or their heads, although very tall passengers might not want to spend too long a journey back there. In that, it's much the same as its predecessor, and the same's true of the boot. The 265-litre capacity isn't great, however, and modern iterations of the Seat Ibiza and VW Polo offer almost 100 litres more space.

Performance

At the heart of the new Swift is a new, three-cylinder petrol engine with the lightest possible dusting of mild-hybrid tech. You barely notice it, but the system just helps the engine out when it's under load, improving efficiency and allowing the new car to be 17 per cent more efficient than its predecessor.

That means you'll get 64.2mpg from the Swift on the official economy test, and you'll easily surpass 50mpg in the real world. CO2 emissions of 99g/km are pretty impressive, too. However, if you choose the optional CVT transmission or the all-wheel-drive system, you lose some of that economy. But even emissions of 110g/km and 57.6mpg economy (for the all-wheel-drive car) seem pretty reasonable to us.

While you might notice the effect of that efficiency on your bank account, you probably won't notice the uplift in power. Yes, the new Swift has 82hp, which isn't very much, but then it doesn't weigh very much, with a kerb weight well below one tonne. Suzuki says the new engine gets the car from 0-62mph in 12.5 seconds, but it feels much faster than that, while the five-speed manual is precise and smooth. Combine all that with the playful snarl of the three-cylinder petrol engine and it's quite an enjoyable thing to wring out, even if the performance is more brisk than rapid.

Ride & Handling

One of the best things about the old Swift was the way it drove, and Suzuki claims to have made improvements for the new generation. The steering is a little sharper, it's true, but overall, the car has much the same character as its predecessor. It's nippy and manoeuvrable in town, and it's good fun on a country road, but it's never quite as engaging as the old Fiestas were.

The suspension keeps the car reasonably level through corners, though, and grip is ample, but that comes at the cost of ride comfort. Small cars rarely waft like limos, but the Swift feels a bit craggy around town, with some bumps making quite a harsh impact on your spine. Speed up, though, and things soften a little, and the Swift never feels unsettled by bumps in the middle of a corner, which gives it this lovely, stable feeling.

But perhaps the best thing about this generation of the Swift is the improvement in refinement at motorway speeds. There's a bit of wind noise, but the engine is much more hushed than its predecessor and the stability shows through, making it a more relaxing thing to drive long distances.

Value

Swift prices start at £18,699, which pays for the entry level Motion model with a manual gearbox. Suzuki expects it to be the best seller, and with good reason. A reversing camera, parking sensors and touchscreen infotainment system all feature as standard, along with alloy wheels, cruise control and heated front seats. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity feature, too, along with satellite navigation and a heap of safety tech.

Even if you want the Ultra model, which gets climate control and electric door mirrors, you'll only have to pay £19,799. And if you want an automatic gearbox or all-wheel drive, the Swift will still only cost just over £21,000, making it cheaper than a basic Toyota Yaris.

Verdict

The new Swift carries on where the old car left off, promising greater efficiency and more tech, while the price remains as competitive as the reliability will undoubtedly be. It isnít the best small hatchback on the market Ė the cheap materials and the tiny boot see to that Ė but with its lengthy equipment list, itís one of the best-value cars in its class.



James Fossdyke - 22 Mar 2024



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2024 Suzuki Swift Ultra 1.2 Mild Hybrid. Image by Jordan Butters.2024 Suzuki Swift Ultra 1.2 Mild Hybrid. Image by Jordan Butters.2024 Suzuki Swift Ultra 1.2 Mild Hybrid. Image by Jordan Butters.2024 Suzuki Swift Ultra 1.2 Mild Hybrid. Image by Jordan Butters.2024 Suzuki Swift Ultra 1.2 Mild Hybrid. Image by Jordan Butters.

2024 Suzuki Swift Ultra 1.2 Mild Hybrid. Image by Jordan Butters.2024 Suzuki Swift Ultra 1.2 Mild Hybrid. Image by Jordan Butters.2024 Suzuki Swift Ultra 1.2 Mild Hybrid. Image by Jordan Butters.2024 Suzuki Swift Ultra 1.2 Mild Hybrid. Image by Jordan Butters.2024 Suzuki Swift Ultra 1.2 Mild Hybrid. Image by Jordan Butters.








 

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