FIRST DRIVE: Suzuki Swift
South Africa has been a very happy hunting ground for Suzuki in recent years. When they aren’t beating their own sales records, they are winning awards for their stellar customer service.
While the Swift has been very much a favourite in South Africa, Suzuki has now launched their all-new fourth-generation Swift. And whereas the previous model range included a hatch and sedan under the Swift nameplate – it now gets split into two – with Swift being a hatchback, and the DZire a sedan.
Since its introduction globally last year, the little Suzuki has won over 60 international awards, and with the run that Suzuki South Africa is on, don’t bet on them adding to that tally. It’s not hard to see why though, as even in base spec, the Swift and DZire supermini siblings are well-specced.
Compared to its predecessor, the new Swift looks smarter, yet retains the shape and proportions of the original that made it such a loved hatchback. The front end is dominated by a large hexagonal grill, and is flanked by eye-catching headlights and integrated fog lights. It gets blacked-out pillars throughout, giving it the look of a floating roof. Integrated into the blackened C-pillar is the rear door handle, which because positioned vertically, is not so visible giving the impression that the Swift has three-doors instead of five. The rear lights utilize LED technology for great visibility in all weather.
Dimensionally, the new Swift measures in at 3840mm long, 1735mm wide, and stands 1530mm tall. Interestingly, despite being 10mm shorter than the third-generation, it is in fact 40mm wider. The height is constant, but the wheelbase – now at 2450mm – is 20mm more than its predecessor, translating to a more spacious and roomy cabin. Its lighter too, shedding 85kgs, which has not only aided agility, but improved fuel economy as well.
The interior has been thoroughly redesigned too. It might not be as funky as the Ignis, but it is more driver focused than that of the Baleno. Ergonomics are good, with the centre console slightly tilted towards the driver further highlighting the driver focused nature of the Swift. The dash is well laid out, with all instruments easy to read and use. There is a meaty multi-function steering that is three-spoke in design, which falls nicely to hand, with controls for Bluetooth and the entertainment system volume mounted on the wheel. The interior is a fairly sombre affair, thanks to its all-black design, but this keeps in line with the sporty image of the Swift. The supermini comes well-appointed too, fitted with two airbags, air conditioner, an on-board computer, ABS with EBD, and ISOFIX seat mounting points as some of the standard equipment.
Built on the new 'HEARTECT' platform, the Swift shares some of its underpinnings with the Ignis and Baleno. However, its suspension has been tuned to give a comfortable yet somewhat sporty ride. Much like its predecessor, it is light on its feet, and agile. The turning circle of just 9.6m makes it the perfect city car. Out on the open road, there is loads of natural grip, and body roll is easily controllable – meaning the driving experience offers plenty of fun, considering its output, and that this isn’t the Swift Sport.
All Swifts and DZire’s are powered by the same motor. A rev-happy naturally aspirated 1.2-litre 4 potter that produces 61kw and 113nm. That might not seem much on paper, but when you consider that the Swift – weighs about 85kgs less than its predecessor – it’s no surprise that when paired with the smooth-shifting 5-speed manual, it performs very enthusiastically. An automatic option is available though, with that model topping its respective Swift and DZire ranges. In terms of performance, 0 to 100kph takes 12 seconds, whilst claimed fuel economy is a brilliant 4.9L/100kms.
There is a new Suzuki Swift Sport too. Weighing in at just 970kg, it is powered by a 1.4-litre turbocharged 4 cylinder with 103kw and 230nm, with power sent to the front wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission. While there is no confirmed date as to if and when the new Swift Sport will landed in South Africa, Suzuki SA does say that if it happens, it will likely be towards the second half of 2019.
Suzuki Swift 1,2 GA: R159 900
Suzuki Swift 1,2 GL: R175 900
Suzuki Swift 1,2 GL auto: R189 900
Suzuki DZire 1,2 GA: R161 900
Suzuki DZire 1,2 GL: R177 900
Suzuki DZire 1,2 GL auto: R191 900
The Suzuki Swift comes with a 2-year/30 000km service plan, and a 3-year/100 000km warranty as standard.
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