- Fun to drive
- Stylish looks
- Good value
- The mild-hybrid version is rare
- Boot is rather small
- Limited model range
The Swift is a stylish small car that’s enjoyable to drive. Its compact size makes it a great choice for urban dwellers yet it has nippy acceleration and a comfortable ride that make it just capable outside city limits. There’s an Allgrip version that has four-wheel drive, as well as a Sport model that’s one of the most cost-effective hot hatches around.
While it’s not as practical as some rivals, the Swift is a match for most when it comes to value. All of its engines are efficient and there are mild-hybrid models that give you excellent mpg. Add in inexpensive ownership costs and a solid reputation for reliability and the Swift is a very appealing little car.
The well-built interior has a sporty design that features twin dials and a steering wheel that feels good to hold. Newer rivals look a bit more high-tech but the Swift has all the connectivity features you’d expect and everything is easy to use. Visibility is especially good thanks to the large windows and upright shape.
There’s more space in the Swift than you might think and the back seats have enough room for two adults or three children. The seats are comfortable, with a good amount of adjustment up front, and there are a number of storage areas dotted around the car.
At 265 litres, the Suzuki’s boot space is smaller than you get with many rivals but it’ll still take two medium-sized suitcases.
The Swift is fun to drive, with light steering and a precise gearshift. Its small size allows you to negotiate narrow city streets or tight parking spots with ease yet it’s just as capable on long journeys and it’s pretty smooth over bumps. Every Swift feels more nimble and responsive than most cars of this type, and the Sport model has some upgrades to make it sharper still.
The range of petrol engines is quite small and none are especially powerful, but each gives you enough acceleration to grab gaps in traffic and pull out of junctions with confidence. The SHVS mild hybrid versions store up some of the energy created when braking and then use it to reduce the amount of strain on the engine and electrical system when you accelerate. It helps to reduce fuel consumption and there’s no need to charge the battery yourself.
What's unique about this car compared with most rivals is that you can even get a four-wheel drive version (called ‘Allgrip’) that offers you extra reassurance when conditions are slippery.
Running costs are low. Every version returns excellent fuel economy and the SHVS mild hybrid versions are especially impressive in this respect. The Sport isn’t as efficient on fuel as other Swifts but it’s still very competitive and is one of the most cost-effective options if you’re looking for a hot hatch.
Suzuki finished fifth out of 24 brands in the J.D. Power 2019 UK Vehicle Dependability Study and its reliability record as a brand is generally very good.
Safety organisation Euro NCAP gave the Swift a three-star safety rating when tested, partly because Suzuki has chosen not to equip all models with the latest automatic braking system. Auto emergency braking (AEB) equipped cars have a four-star rating.
Best for economy - 1.0 SZ5 Boosterjet SHVS
Best for family - 1.0 SZ-T Boosterjet
Best for fun - 1.4 Sport Boosterjet
The Swift is well equipped for a small car and even the most cost-effective SZ3 cars have air conditioning and Bluetooth connectivity. Mid-range SZ-Ts have a touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Top-of-the-range SZ5 and Sport models have automatic emergency braking (AEB) and active cruise control. The special edition Attitude model combined the SZ-T’s equipment with the Sport’s body kit and the entry-level 1.2-litre petrol engine.
All engines will suit most drivers but if you plan to do longer journeys regularly the 1.0 Boosterjet engine is a good bet. It’s flexible and responsive, and can cope well with a full car load of passengers, plus it’s also very efficient. The mild-hybrid version is more expensive, but it will have much lower running costs.