VED Year 1/2: £140/£135
Max speed/0-62mph: 105mph/12.6secs
Fuel consumption (on test): 52.4mpg
The little Suzuki has been with us for three months now and is giving a good account of itself.
With 4,800 miles driven we have no complaints, driving smoothly and it’s very sure footed thanks to Suzuki’s AllGrip system.
Current MPG is 52.3 on a mixture of town, country and motorway driving, so no complaints in that department either.
That’s particularly relevant in these days of rising fuel prices, congestion charges, low-emission zones and increasing requirements to go green.
All these are combining to push SMEs out of traditional family-sized business cars and into something altogether smaller.
We have been finding out how a small car measures up to business requirements. The Suzuki Swift, our latest long termer, is closer in size to the original Mini than the modern BMW-ised version.
As previously mentioned, the feel of the interior defies its exterior dimensions – it feels much bigger than it is once you are behind the wheel – or in the passenger seat.
It’s fun to drive and has pretty much all the equipment you need. Plus it has ‘Allgrip’ capability, the next best thing to four-wheel-drive, to handle tricky conditions and it’s a hybrid.
Power comes from a perky 1.2-litre engine which seems to belie its modest stated output of 90hp, providing plenty of poke when needed, no doubt aided by the car’s relatively light weight of just 980kgs.
Technically, a hybrid car is something that is driven by two power sources although Suzuki’s SHVS is a type of mild hybrid system which ensures fuel economy while being cost effective.
The SHVS works on the principle of regenerative braking. Kinetic energy generated while slowing down is converted to electric energy, which is then stored in the car’s battery.
Its Integrated Starter Generator is an electric motor, attached to the engine and powered by the high capacity battery of the car.
The ISG is used to supplement the engine’s power when the car accelerates at higher RPM and burns more fuel to gain the required momentum.
The ISG motor helps the hybrid system to quickly accelerate through electric energy meaning the engine does not have to work as much under hard acceleration – therefore saving fuel.
The SHVS Mild Hybrid System comes with smart idle start/stop function, which shuts off the engine when the car stops and is in idling condition for more than a certain period of time.
Petrol Hybrid and All Wheel Drive make this car impressive with great handling and good acceleration, aided by the battery, gives the car a positive feel.
The Allgrip system on the Swift helps improve overall grip when road conditions become challenging.
The system automatically diverts power from the front wheels to the rear giving the car extra stability.
It’s a small car that feels big inside. A good cabin layout shows Suzuki is moving into mini luxury land.
There is also sat nav, Bluetooth integrated audio, steering wheel mounted audio controls and 16-inch polished alloy wheels.
Additional extras on our model are a wheel arch extension and side skirt set at £499 and side body mouldings at £139 – both inclusive of VAT and fitting – which bumped the price up from the standard OTR price of £16,999
Things that work well:
- Predictive cruise control – a must for long motorway hauls.
- Voice operated phone is simple and safe
- Collision control operates – having been cut up badly on a roundabout – the car did the braking for me!
- Seats continue to be good – 3 hour drive and no grumbles.
- Driving with four people in the car, the power is sufficient not to really notice.
- Plenty of leg room in the front and rear make for a happy family – no complaints from teenagers about the rear seats.
- Four doors and with fold down rear seats and a hatch back make for a great load carrying space – golf clubs and trolleys and bags… and room for more.
- The media centre is great – DAB radio and easy to use navigation system – with the added option of allowing your mobile phone to connect if you wish to use Google Maps.
Any gripes? Road noise is there – you would expect it in a small car – but at an acceptable level.
The one thing it does lack is cubby holes – somewhere you can leave loose change or keys – near the gear shift – which is a very minor niggle…