Lighter all-new Suzuki Swift is no lightweight

2018-09-19 06:00
The new Swift is wider than the previous model and it sports more prominent wheel arches and shoulder line combined with bold headlights and a bigger grille in the new design. The roof has a floating appearance due to the blacked out front and centre pillars.        Photos: SUPPLIED

The new Swift is wider than the previous model and it sports more prominent wheel arches and shoulder line combined with bold headlights and a bigger grille in the new design. The roof has a floating appearance due to the blacked out front and centre pillars. Photos: SUPPLIED

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SUZUKI has been breaking its own sales records month after month, with one of their top performers being the new Suzuki Swift, which is the vehicle test driven for this week’s Express on Wheels.

The new Swift model was introduced in June this year, offering an all new Swift with only its 1.2 litre engine carried over from the previous model.

It has a bold new exterior, more room, boot space and features, but the same good value for money as its predecessor.

The Suzuki, which is known for its fuel economy and good level of standard specs, competes in a segment where value for money and affordability are among the main considerations for buyers who are in the market for an affordable, efficient car that offers some safety and comfort features as well.

Its popularity lies in the fact that it is a sporty looking vehicle, that is solidly built, fuel efficient and fun to drive, while packed with features.

The Suzuki Swift is available in three model derivatives, the entry level GA-model, followed by the GL model and then the top of the range GL model with AMT transmission

The GA-model is, despite being entry level, still equipped with an impressive range of features, such as air-conditioning, front and rear electric windows, ABS with EBD, ISOFIX child seat anchors and two airbags.

The GL-model adds – among other features – colour-coded side mirrors, front fog lamps, a Suzuki audio system with steering-mounted controls and a luggage cover for the boot. This specification level has full wheel covers and is available with the choice of five-speed manual or five-speed AMT gearbox.

The new Swift is built on Suzuki’s “Heartect” platform which is also used for the Ignis and Baleno models. One of the biggest benefits of “Heartect” is the reduction in weight.

The new Swift weighs in 875kg, making it one of the lightest vehicles in its segment.

This lessens the impact of the fact that 1.2 litre is quite a small engine.


The new Swift is also 4cm wider than the previous model and the exterior has been revamped quite extensively. It sports a funky, well-balanced shape.

More prominent wheel arches and shoulder line are combined with bold headlights and a bigger grille in the new design.

The rear has also been redesigned and also sports bulky tail lights, which are nice in proportion to the other design elements.

The redesign also allows for bigger boot space – something which has always been lacking in the previous Swift models.

The boot space is now 268 litres – which is an improvement of 58 litres over the previous model.

The GL specification level offers a 60/40 split and foldable rear bench seat.

The roof has a floating appearance due to the blacked out pillars with the rear handles neatly integrated and hidden into the rear pillar.

This gives it a modern, classy look.


The new dimensions have allowed the designers to increase interior space, especially for rear passengers who now have additional head room.

The front occupants also have additional room and I found the driver’s seat to be exceptionally comfortable.

The height of the roof gives it a roomy feel despite its compact look from the outside.

It has more than enough stowage spaces for bottles, cups and other paraphernalia.

Suzuki has retained the Swift’s “driver first” design philosophy. The instrument panel and screen of the audio system is slightly angled towards the driver for ease of use.

On the GL-specification level, Suzuki has added chrome accents and a chronograph-design to the instrument panel.

All versions of the new Suzuki Swift are equipped with air conditioning, front and rear electric windows, power steering and remote central locking.

All models also have a tilt-adjustable steering column, a detailed information display that includes information such as fuel consumption and range, and a security alarm and immobiliser.

On the GL-models, Suzuki adds an audio system with Bluetooth-connectivity and USB socket, steering wheel controls for the audio system and electrically adjustable side view mirrors.

All in all, the interior has a youthful, sporty look with comfort, space and high level of specs, such as the steering wheel controls for the audio system and electric window in the front and rear being among the outstanding features.


The Swift’s K12M engine is known for its good fuel consumption and the new Swift’s fuel consumption is stated at 4.9 litres per 100km in a combined cycle.

The engine is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox in the GA-model, while buyers of the GL-model can choose between the same five-speed manual gearbox or an Automated Manual Gearbox (AMT).

The engine might not be the most powerful one around, but during the test drive, which was mostly on the urban commute with some highway driving, it never felt sluggish and did not lack acceleration power.

It is a light car, and except for feeling a bit floaty out on the highway during one of Port Elizabeth’s exceptionally windy days, if offers a surprisingly solid drive.

The Swift is always eager out of the starting blocks and not difficult to get to 120km. It’s handling is very good and the steering is responsive and light – perfect for city driving.

It is a good combination of sporty handling and a comfortable, sure-footed ride.

Engine noise was noticeable at slow speeds, but this disappeared when cruising at higher speeds.

All models are sold with Suzuki’s five-year/200 000km mechanical warranty and a two-year/30 000km service plan.


Suzuki Swift 1,2 GA manual – R159 900 including VAT

Suzuki Swift 1,2 GL manual – R175 900 including VAT

Suzuki Swift 1,2 GL AMT – R189 900 including VAT


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