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Suzuki Swift
road test


Smart and Stylish
And Sensational Value!


It was obvious when the Swift came to the market, earlier this year, that Suzuki was backing a winner. On paper (on-line actually) the specifications indicated the Swift would be the one to watch. The first images showed an attractive car, one which was bound to excite potential owners.

With that in mind, a drive of the new Suzuki Swift was always going to be a highly anticipated event.

The little 5-door hatchback is powered by a 1.5 litre 4-cylinder VVT (variable valve timing) engine, which provides a handy 74 kW of power and 133 Nm of torque. Transmission choices include the standard 5-speed manual and an optional 4-speed automatic.

Being a Suzuki, you'll be expecting miserly fuel consumption! There is definitely no disappointment in this department. The new Swift (manual) uses 5.9 litres/100 kms on the extra-urban cycle and just 7 litres/100 kms in the combined mode. I'm quoting Suzuki's figures here, using the ADR81/01 standard. These figures are excellent and in the current climate of high fuel prices, it will undoubtedly satisfy Swift drivers!

Additionally, the driving experience is also satisfying! The perky little Swift gets along quite well. Being a light weight car it is easy and delightful to handle in a city environment, but it was also a pleasing adventure along the F3 freeway between Sydney and Newcastle in both directions.

We didn't go on any unsealed roads during our time with the Swift, but on the tarmac we were impressed by the engine, gearbox, brakes (front discs/rear drums) , steering (rack and pinion) and suspension. Being a Suzuki, you can get the revs up a little for those occasions that bring an element of excitement to some folks. The engine is certainly a willing worker and it can provide good performance when the revs are up. Maximum power is at a high 6,000 rpm, which is in keeping with the Suzuki way of life. But at 3,000 revs or so it still provides good performance.


Suzuki Swift

Suzuki Swift
Location: Brooklyn NSW

Click the image for a larger view

Interior room is adequate up front for a small car. One of the Swift's competitors will injure the left knee of long-legged drivers who jump into that car too quickly because the centre console is just too big. The Swift is much better in this regard as there is sufficient room for two. In the rear, it is a little bit of a squeeze, just as you would expect for a car which is just 3.695mm long. Comfort level is quite good for a car of this size. Suzuki do a great job in the comfort stakes. The car may be tiny and the price may be low, but you don't skimp in a Suzuki.

There is an excellent choice of colours available with this new Suzuki. The road test car was Silky Silver Metallic, but if you believe there are too many silver cars on the road you can select from seven other colours. I like the Kashmir Blue Metallic and the Pearl Red Metallic in particular. The Lavender Metallic is too trendy for me!

Suzuki Swift

Suzuki Swift
Location: Brooklyn NSW

Click the image for a larger view

Pricing for the Swift is very keen. The RRP (subject to change, of course) commences at just $15,990 for the base model with manual transmission. The test car was the 'S' model with manual transmission, which retails at $17,990 (plus the traditional add-ons). Automatic transmission adds $2,000 to the price of either version. It is this pricing which excites this Editor. Sure it is easy to find a cheaper car. And that is the point ..... a cheaper car is just that ..... cheap! The Swift is well equipped, especially the 'S' model.

Standard equipment on all models is: power steering, tilt adjustable steering column, electric windows (front and rear), central locking, air conditioning, audio system with CD player and steering wheel switches, outside temperature display, leather wrap steering wheel, height adjustment on the driver's seat, pockets on the front door trims, electrically adjustable outside rear view mirrors and much more.

The 'S' model also features alloy wheels, front fog lights, front seat mounted side air bags and curtain air bags (front and rear). These additional features make the $2,000 premium above the base model quite good value. Unless the $2,000 is going to break the bank, I'd be going for the added features of the 'S' model.

It's the Suzuki Swift that makes me think some manufacturers need to re-assess the specifications of their small car/s and bring them into line with Suzuki's safety standards. The days of just one airbag in a new car should be consigned to history!

The Swift is one of just two cars in its market segment that satisfies me.

The combination of tidy on-road manners, excellent fuel consumption, good equipment levels and outstanding value makes the Swift a winner for someone seeking value in an economy car. The fact that Suzuki hasn't overlooked modern day safety features makes a compelling case for the Suzuki Swift!

Stephen Walker
5th August, 2005

Suzuki Swift

Suzuki Swift
Location: Brooklyn NSW

Click the image for a larger view

Other Suzuki news: here.

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