2011 SUZUKI SWIFT REVIEW
Vehicle style: 5-door light hatch
Engine: 1.4 litre petrol four-cylinder
Transmission: Four-speed automatic
Official fuel efficiency: 5.5 l/100km
On test fuel efficiency: not recorded.
CO2 emissions: 147 g/km
It might look very much like last year's model, but the 2011 Suzuki Swift is entirely new.
Power and torque are slightly reduced, however fuel economy, cabin quality, refinement and handling are all improved.
The new model raises the game for the personality-packed Swift, but how well does it compare to the segment-leading Mazda2 and brilliant VW Polo?
- Quality: Cabin trim quality has been bumped up a notch, and although the plastics are hard, they're textured nicely and feel durable.
The leather-wrapped steering wheel on the GLX model is particularly nice to hold.
- Comfort: The front seat squabs are a little flat, and rear headroom isn't generous.
That aside, the cabin is quite comfortable, with tilt/reach adjustment for the steering column (GA and GL grades get tilt-only), a height-adjustable driver's seat and room for four adult passengers.
- Equipment: The range-topping GLX gets 16-inch alloys, keyless entry and ignition, Bluetooth, four-speaker stereo, USB input, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, climate control and foglamps.
- Storage: There's 210 litres of luggage space; 900 litres with the rear seatback folded. The Swift also features a handy double-floor system in the boot, plus door pockets in all doors.
ON THE ROAD
- Driveability: The new Swift's 1.4 litre engine is a perky unit, although lacking in low-RPM tractability. Given plenty of revs however the Swift is more than capable of keeping up with traffic, but the four-speed automatic, although smooth, could use another ratio.
- Refinement: Aside from some tyre roar on coarse roads, NVH suppression is quite good in the 2011 model.
- Suspension: Excellent chassis dynamics has long been a Swift hallmark, and the 2011 Swift is fun to drive with good grip and little body roll through corners. While a sharp performer, it is also reasonably compliant and quite comfortable.
The electric power steering too is good, giving good feedback and nicely weighted at speed.
- Braking: The GLX gains rear discs over the GA and GL's rear drum brakes, and braking feel is smooth and progressive. With a kerb weight of just over a tonne, the Swift can come to a halt very quickly indeed.
- ANCAP rating: 5-Star
- Safety features: Seven airbags (front, front side, curtain and driver's knee), three-point seatbelts on all seats, ABS, EBD, stability control and traction control are standard.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
- Warranty: 3 year/100,000 kilometre warranty.
- Service costs: Maintenance intervals are set for every 12 months/16,000km. Service pricing is not currently available, contact your local Suzuki Swift dealer before purchase.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
- Volkswagen Polo 77TSI automatic ($22,350) - VW's Polo is the car to beat in the premium light car segment, and its 1.2 litre turbocharged four-pot is an absolute corker.
Coupled with a sophisticated seven-speed twin-clutch automatic, the Polo 77TSI, though more expensive, is the best buy of the moment. (see Polo reviews)
- Ford Fiesta LX 1.6 automatic ($20,990) - The closest to the Suzuki in price, the Fiesta is also a fun car to drive with markedly more power and torque.
A six-speed twin-clutch auto is another plus. It is very good buying, but a tilt-only steering wheel and rear drum brakes debit the ledger. (see Fiesta reviews)
- Mazda2 Genki automatic ($22,590) - With a conventional four-speed hydraulic automatic and just 6kW/7Nm more than the Swift, the Mazda2 delivers a similar driving experience. Suzuki’s Swift, almost $2000 less than the Mazda, has the edge though. (see Mazda2 reviews)
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
Despite losing power and gaining weight, the 2011 Suzuki Swift is still as fun to drive as ever. Overall refinement has been greatly improved, and, aside from the absence of cruise control, the top-spec GLX is very well equipped.
It stacks up well against its segment competitors, however the four-speed auto is starting to show its age. The GLX manual, then, would be our pick.
- Interested in buying SUZUKI SWIFT? Visit our SUZUKI showroom for more information.