2017 Suzuki Swift Launch Review

We test drive the all-new Suzuki Swift at the model’s Australian launch…

The outgoing Suzuki Swift was a consistently popular offering both in Australia and in a number of other markets too.

Pleasing looks, clever packaging, reasonable pricing and good driving dynamics attracted plenty of first-time car buyers and those looking to downsize.

Now there’s an all-new version of the Swift that carries over many of the attributes of the old car and also adds extra safety features and more creature comforts.

The end result is generally pleasing.

Priced from just $16,990 drive-away, the new Suzuki Swift is offered across three model grades - GL, GL Navigator and GLX Turbo.

Across the GL models you get a 1.2 litre four-cylinder engine that delivers 66kW and 120Nm.

The GLX Turbo, as the name implies, features a turbocharged 1.0 litre three-cylinder engine that brings to the table extra power and torque - 82kW/160Nm.

The base-model offering comes with a five-speed manual transmission, an auto transmission, a CVT, is available with the GL Navigator and that carries a $2,000 price premium (but adds extra features and equipment as outlined below).

The GLX Turbo has a conventional six-speed automatic transmission exclusively.

Standard features in the GL include:

  • Six airbags
  • Stability control
  • Bluetooth
  • Cruise control
  • Power windows
  • Steel wheels

Step up to the GL Navigator and you add:

Then, for an extra $1,000 you can add a safety pack that brings:

  • Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Weaving Alert

While the top-spec GLX Turbo gets all that, plus:

  • Turbocharged engine
  • Polished alloy wheels
  • Digital climate control
  • Keyless entry
  • Push button ignition
  • LED headlights
  • Tilt and telescopic steering adjust

So, that’s all the data - what’s the new Suzuki Swift like in the flesh? Well, I thought I would let you know all the good bits first…

  • Cabin space - the new Swift is noticeably larger inside than the old model
  • Weight-savings - the new Swift is up to 135kg lighter than the superseded version
  • Improved cabin look and feel throughout
  • Boot space - 32 litre improvement over the old car with a new 242 litre capacity
  • Good turning circle
  • More comfortable front seats
  • Quieter cabin
  • Fantastic headroom carries across to new model

I had a drive of both the GLX Turbo and the base-model GL and made a few observations across both, including:

  • The sunvisors are noticeably short - meaning if in the side position your face is exposed to the sun.
  • The turbo engine, while enthusiastic, is let down somewhat by a lack of torque (noticeable on hills).
  • That engine picks up points for not being too noisy, but you do get some vibration transference through the footrest and steering wheel.
  • The steering, particularly in the sporty offering, is sharp in the bends, but displays a somewhat wooden feel on centre.
  • Comfort is let down in all grades by the lack of a centre armrest.
  • The armrests on the doors are pretty much just cloth over plastic with a thin layer of padding.
  • Glove box and door pockets are only modestly sized.
  • The backseat is particularly firm and flat.
  • There was noticeable tyre noise and wind noise around the windscreen.
  • Disappointing to see the volume knob on the stereo replaced with on-screen control.
  • GL-grade cars let down by tilt-only steering adjust
  • Poor rear 3/4 visibility (as the photo below shows)

Conversely, some other good things built into the new Suzuki Swift include:

  • More forgiving ride than the superseded model(s).
  • Nicely-positioned cup holders.
  • Easy climate control adjustments.
  • Clear and easy to read gauges.
  • Functional-enough driver info screen.
  • Easy to use infotainment system (in models above the base GL offering).
  • Decent front seat legroom.

Summing it up; Suzuki’s Swift needed a new look and feel and while it isn’t perfect I think it will strike a chord with many of the existing Swift owners that might be looking for a new set of wheels.

It is priced well and the features are about on-par for this end of the market.

Perhaps not as handsome as the old one, the Swift, especially in the GL Navigator specification, is a light car well worth taking for a test drive.

Whether it is better than the yardsticks in this segment - the Toyota Yaris and Mazda2, is debatable.

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