Driven: 2021 Suzuki Swift
The Swift is one of SA’s most adored hatchbacks. Local consumers have taken to the frugality, styling, and sheer affordability. Given how successful it has proven to be, it’s unlikely that the infatuation South African’s have for the cheeky hatchback will disappear anytime soon.
Clearly, the Swift is the jewel in Suzuki’s crown and is a driving force behind the brand’s popularity. While many brands struggled against the pandemic in 2020, Suzuki managed their best year sales wise. Not sitting on their success, the brand recently introduced the popular Vitara Brezza and now, the facelifted Swift. We spent some time with the beloved Swift, to reacquaint ourselves with the competent hatch.
Suzuki’s sensational 1.2-litre engine remains unchanged. Just 61 kW and 112 Nm of torque are available, but that doesn’t affect the Swift’s peppy performance in any way. Thanks to a featherweight mass, the little Swift feels positively brisk and alert. It feels far more powerful than it should, with spirited driving being a hallmark of the Swift. This doesn’t come at the detriment of fuel economy, though. The Japanese brand claims the Swift drinks just 4.9 L/100 km, although our figure sat closer to 5.5 L/100 km over our time with the car. The standard five-speed manual ‘box is slick-shifting and entertaining to use.
The facelift, albeit subtle, introduces a number of changes to the exterior styling. Dual-tone colour options give the Swift a unique look, with colours such as Fire Red now available with a contrasting black-painted roof. Up front, the radiator grille has been treated to a more distinctive mesh design, with a chrome strip brightening up the front end.
Step inside the spacious cabin and it’s much the same as the previous model. However, the highlight is the high-resolution touchscreen which offers both Apple CarPlat and Android Auto. A reverse camera adds further safety and practicality. As you would expect from a vehicle at this price point, the plastics are harsh and rather coarse feeling. That being said, it all feels solid and decidedly well-built. Other standard features include air-conditioning, USB/Aux capability and central locking. On the safety front, the latest Swift sees a host of upgraded safety features. Important is the addition of ESP, to complement the standard ABS with EBD, dual front airbags, and ISOFIX anchor points. AMT-equipped models now come standard with hill assist.
There is a lot to like about the updated Swift. Not only is it stylish, but practical too. The hatchback has always been the brand’s best seller - and for good reason, too. In an economic climate where every penny counts, value for money is a key selling point at this end of the market. The Swift provides consumers with space, quality, high spec levels, economy, and great driving dynamics. It’s no surprise it does so well.