I’ve long thought that Suzuki was close to cooking up the ideal supermini with the Swift. The recipe of sharp handling, slick gearchanges and passenger space that belies its size has always put it close to the market leaders.
But now, the brand may well have found the final ingredient in the shape of its new 1.2-litre Dualjet engine.
The key changes over the previous unit are a drop in emissions – down from 116g/km to 99g/km – which means you’ll pay nothing in vehicle excise duty, plus a small increase in torque and minor drop in power.
While buyers will notice the positive effect it has on their wallets, they’re less likely to feel the performance tweaks.
That’s by no means a bad thing, though. The 1.2-litre petrol in the Swift has always been a free-revving, fun engine that makes the car ideal for nipping in and out of town traffic, although it’s a bit sluggish on motorways.
And that holds true with this new addition. Having spent the previous six months in the rather bulky Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, I’ve found getting back into a supermini a bit of a treat.
My commute from north London to the office in the centre of the capital isn’t always the easiest, but the Swift comes into its own skipping past a bus blocking a lane or nipping around a car trying to turn off a main road.
Another of my early journeys was a two-hour drive up the M1. While it managed the distance OK, getting up to motorway speeds feels laboured, and a 12-second 0-62mph time goes some way to explaining it. Despite this, it’s quiet in the cabin at high speeds.
The long journey was made even easier by the upgraded sat-nav and stereo system in our SZ4. Not only is the DAB radio excellent, but Bluetooth music connection is simple, too. What’s more, the sat-nav tech is easy to follow and a quick system to get to grips with.
Our top-of-the-range car comes with plenty of other useful kit as standard, including keyless entry and go, climate control and LED daytime running lights (which look particularly good on the little Swift). I’m also happy to report that it’s fitted with a handy space-saver spare wheel, rather than a useless can of foam.
One issue that has already become apparent during my short time with the Suzuki, though, is the tiny boot space. With the seats up, it’s just 211 litres. And while I don’t expect estate-like proportions, this is well behind the likes of the Vauxhall Corsa’s capacity of 285 litres, or indeed the Ford Fiesta’s, which is a further five litres larger.
And while the seats do fold 60:40, they don’t go completely flat – leaving a rather large lip in between the boot and rear seats. As I have a dog and am planning plenty of family visits over the coming months, it’ll be interesting to see how I deal with this downsize in space.
So far, then, my time in the Swift has gone pretty smoothly, but with a wide selection of superminis currently on the Auto Express fleet, it will be fascinating to find out just how the refreshed Suzuki stacks up.
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