The 2017 Suzuki Swift has a new look and a new platform, and since its launch a few months ago, I’d been keen to check out the popular mini hatch.
I am never really a fan of box-shaped cars and while the square design of the old model was considered ‘cute’ by some, I much prefer the updated style.
But to get a good handle on a model range, it’s best to start at the bottom.
First up was the entry level Suzuki Swift GL manual hatch, a five-door, four-cylinder, 1.2 litre runabout with a five-speed gearbox.
On paper this seems reasonable for this level and size of car, and you’d be right, until you get onto the road.
The drive aspect was the letdown, to say the least.
Steering is loose and vague, which is not uncommon at this grade and does make it easy to manoeuvre, but the hatch was hard to control while cruising at speed.
The rest of the controls are also slack with a floppy gear shifter lacking precision and quite a high friction point on the spongy clutch pedal.
There is fair acceleration from the small engine with no load but at 66kW/120Nm, no real power for anything steeper.
The saving grace for the manual Swift is it is very fuel efficient at 5.3L/100km after one week of cruising around.
Thanks to the drivetrain, size and weight it didn’t even gulp half the tank.
On the Inside
The fittings and features are the standard affair of a base model – hard black plastic, thin doors, fabric seats, no centre storage box, LCD display with no graphics, no touchscreen and no rear view camera and a rather bland, pragmatic dashboard.
You do gain some accoutrements such as cruise control, Bluetooth, bottle holders and auxiliary ports in the centre cubby.
One annoying thing was the audio mode change button on the steering wheel controls is on the same rocker as the volume control meaning you could easily change sources while just trying to turn the music up.
Unlike some other Suzuki models, the seats are no so flat and are well bolstered on the sides dressed in a soft material making for a comfortable squab.
It’s often the small things that define style and quality in a vehicle with one example being the manual A/C controls that are rough to turn with no soft feel and you can’t help comparing it against the similarly dimensioned and priced, though more refined, Kia Picanto I recently test drove.
Despite an increase in cabin space, storage still feels limited, with a small glovebox and short boot that is only good for vertical storage – jamming my pram in there for example.
A nice new addition though is the hidden door handles for the rear doors giving it a more modern look.
But for a starting price of $15,990, it sounds like a couple of grand too much, taking into account the limited features and the unliveable drive.
Keep your eyes peeled for our review of the Suzuki Swift GLX and see if it fares any better.
NUTS and BOLTS 2017 Suzuki Swift GL
- Engine: 1.2L petrol producing 66kW/120Nm
- Transmission: Five-speed manual
- Warranty: 3 Year/100,000km
- Safety: Not yet tested
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $15,990