Suzuki Swift: Takes on VW Polo

  • We pit our Swift against the excellent Volkswagen Polo
  • Similar specs show up the differences between the two
  • Which one should you buy? Read our twin test to find out.

The Suzuki Swift has come on leaps and bounds over recent years and is now seen as a genuine competitor for almost any car of its size. However, can it match the might of the refined and comfortable Volkswagen Polo? We’ve been testing the two back-to-back to find out.

To go up against the SZ4 Swift we’ve chosen the Polo Match. This means you get a similar level of equipment including air conditioning, 15-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, a ‘Multi-device interface’ for connecting media and remote central locking.

The first thing to investigate is costs. The Suzuki has a list price of £12,985 while the VW costs £13,365. However, the Polo costs £115 per year to tax while the Swift is free in the first year and £30 per year thereafter. Both cars are in insurance group nine, too. For these reasons the list prices will soon even out, so it’s a pretty fair fight right now.

Fuel economy-wise the Swift nicks it with 56.5mpg on the combined cycle compared to the Polo’s 47.9mpg. With better fuel consumption comes slightly worse performance though; the Suzuki taking 12.3 seconds to hit 62mph compared to the Volkswagen’s 11.9 seconds. Top speeds are the same story, at 103mph and 110mph respectively.

Both cars use a five-speed gearbox, but the Volkswagen unit it marginally slicker in operation while the Suzuki’s seems slightly better placed in the cabin. A draw there, then.

It’s when studying the chassis of the two cars that the difference between the two cars is most pronounced. In terms of handling, there’s a big difference between the two. The Swift is a lot more engaging through the corners and seems to come alive when you turn the wick up a bit. Its steering is light but well-weighted and direct, and it’s a lot of fun. However, what the VW lacks in out-right entertainment it makes up for in refinement. The ride is far superior, soaking up bumps and holes in the road in a very composed fashion.

In practicality terms, although both cars have five doors the VW has 280 litres of load space in the boot compared to the Swift’s 211 litres, so the German inches ahead. It’s also easier to load things into the Polo as the Swift’s boot edge is quite high.

The interiors tell two different stories too. The Volkswagen’s is a smart place to be, uses high quality materials and feels incredibly well screwed-together. The Suzuki’s has improved significantly over recent years, but does still feel slightly dated in comparison. Everything is where it should be, but it just doesn’t have the premium feel of the German offering.

So to conclude, if you’re looking for a more grown-up and refined small hatchback then the Volkswagen Polo is a great choice. If you’re looking for a characterful, engaging small car then the Swift could be the car for you.

Current mileage: 4,854

Average mpg: 46.2