Suzuki Swift: Road tester's view

  • Road test editor Simon McBride assesses Swift
  • Handling abilities and comfort levels praised  
  • Swift fuel economy falls short of official 56.5mpg

For the past couple of weeks my Suzuki Swift has been in the capable hands of our road test editor Simon McBride and this is what he thought:

My first impression of Gareth’s Suzuki Swift was that it looked a bit plain but that soon became a distant memory when I got this little hatchback out on the open road.

Yes, it's not particularly powerful - the 1.2-litre petrol engine produces 93bhp and 118Nm of torque - and it takes 12.3 seconds to get to 0-62mph, but those bald statistics hide the real story.

In my position as Road Test Editor I cover lots of miles commuting to and from launches and having the Swift for ten days was a very pleasant experience. It is one of those cars that will leave you smiling.

It has a very good suspension set-up: stiff enough to contain bodyroll but supple enough to cope with surfaces littered with potholes.

Quite frankly, the Swift is a joy to drive. Once you get the Suzuki into second and third gear on B-roads the Swift responds very well indeed. The chassis is excellent, you get plenty of front-end grip and that means the car feels extremely composed when entering corners at speed.

The steering is well weighted and that gives you a lot of confidence at high speed but it's also light enough to make driving around town relaxed and enjoyable.

For such a small car, it's surprisingly comfortable. The front seats offer plenty of support thanks to the side cushions, although a little more bolstering at the base of the spine would be very welcome. That said, I felt much fresher after driving the Suzuki Swift for long periods than I have after lengthy jaunts in the Mazda2 that we also have on our long-term fleet.

The downsides? Well, the fuel tank is too small and if you factor in fairly unimpressive fuel economy it means way too many trips to the fuel station. I could never get near the claimed 56.5mpg on an average run no matter how economically I drove. My highest average fuel economy reading on the trip computer was a decent enough 46.3mpg, but nowhere near the claimed figure.

On the plus side, you do get a decent amount of kit including a USB slot for an iPod connection and, along with the strong handling qualities, the Suzuki Swift adds up to a cracking car. If I am venturing on more B-roads then I’m sure I'll be asking Gareth for the keys in the future. Probably won't get them though. He's weird like that.

Current mileage: 5,693

Average mpg: 35.8