• The model on test is the GLX trim level, priced at R218 900.
• The Swift range makes use of a naturally aspirated 1.2-litre engine that makes 61kW and 113Nm; the Sport model features a 1.4-litre turbo engine.
• The Swift Sport is the top-of-the-range, performance offering in the line-up.
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Some cars tick all the boxes in their category. The Suzuki Swift is one of them. In the light and compact budget class, the Swift is perhaps the benchmark.
We drove the GLX, priced at R218 900, which I think is a very good price. It has the reliable 1.2-litre normally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine, which produces 61kW and 113Nm.
It does not look like much, but it is mated to a superbly smooth five-speed gearbox, and the body is exceptionally light at 875kg and tough. Fuel consumption is superb, under 5-litres/100km if you behave with the right foot. There is also a high-performance Sport model delivering a sprightly 103kW and 230Nm. Not so easy to behave with this one. It goes...and holds the road.
Typically of the last few generations of Swift, it looks a bit like a helmet from the side. The front is balanced between prominent, almost 'froggie' eye lights and a not too large smiley grille. The back displays prominent hips and new brighter rear lights. Altogether, a very pleasing and unique appearance.
The interior is quite plain but very practical and easy to live with. It has enough storage spots, space at the back and an ergonomic layout. I find the Suzuki infotainment system and screen easy to work with, and in the GLX, it has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The instrumentation is almost classic, with a multi-display between the rev counter and speedometer. It works well.
The driving position is good and can adjust to fit most sizes. The seats are comfortable even over longish distances. Visibility is good.
The whole range features electric windows, air conditioning, and central locking; the GL also features fog lamps, a basic audio system with USB/Aux inputs, a rev counter, and electrically adjustable side mirrors. The GLX adds climate control, push-button start, keyless access, a reverse-view camera, rear parking sensors and the aforementioned touchscreen infotainment system.
Safety is quite big on this little car with electronic stability control (ESP), front and passenger airbags, as well as anti-lock brakes (ABS) with emergency brake assistance (BA) and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) across the board in all trim levels. This is excellent and almost the most important box to tick.
Handling is fun, road-holding is good, and performance is grin-inducing, especially in the 1.4 turbo versions.
The range starts with the GA at R180 900. The turbocharged 1.4-litre engine in the Sport, mated to an automatic gearbox, tops off the range at R369 900. This is a great price for such a sporty little car, especially one that is so comprehensively equipped as standard. I think the GLX hits the sweet spot, especially when comparing it to what else is available on the market.
To summarise, the Swift is frugal, fun and feisty. A great compact car package that is hard to beat for value, quality and trouble-free motoring.
The warranty is for five years or 200 000km and the service plan for four years or 60 000km. The popular opposition just does not match this.
The direct competition of the Swift includes Ford Figo, Volkswagen Polo Vivo, Renault Sandero and Peugeot 108.
This article was first published in the District Mail Community Newspaper.