Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1

Welcome to our six-month test of the Suzuki Swift Attitude. This review is broken down into six chapters - use the links below to navigate between them if you don't fancy reading the whole article.

Update 1: Welcome
Update 2: Performance and handling
Update 3: Comfort and interior
Update 4: Practicality
Update 5: Head to head with the Ford Fiesta Trend
Update 6: Would I buy one?

Update 1: Welcome

Suzuki Swift 2019 with Murray Scullion

Parkers has had the pleasure of running a Suzuki Swift Sport and a Suzuki Swift 4x4 on long term test before. But now, I have an Attitude. It's essentially a Swift in SZ3 spec with some natty bodykit bits on the outside.

Now, if you're not familiar with the bodykitted world; here's the 411. In the microcosm of hot-hatches there are sub-sections. There's the hyper-hatch - the most bonkers and fastest. Think Ford Focus RS and Mercedes A45 AMG. Then there's the 'regular' hot-hatch - like the Ford Fiesta ST. And of course, the warm hatch - like the Swift Sport.

There's not a generally accepted phrase for sheep-in-wolf's-clothing hatchbacks like our Swift Attitude though. I reckon soft-hatch? Maybe chaude (french for hot) fraud?

The reason it doesn't even measure as lukewarm is because of its engine. It's a 1.2-litre normally aspirated petrol with 90hp and 120nm of torque. To be fair, it's aimed at people who care about economy, not speed. The WLTP figure for the car is 55.4mpg - which is mightily impressive. The yardstick for this kind of small hatchback is the Ford Fiesta, and the most economical engine you can get in that (the 1.1 TI-VCT) can only conjure up 48.7mpg on a combined cycle.

Which Suzuki Swift are we testing?

The Attitude. I mean, just look at the wing on this thing. It's actually a bespoke design, as are the front-splitter and side skirts. It gives the Suzuki character...stance...temper, ok I've ran out of synonyms. I was desperately trying not to write the word attitude again. It just reminds me of teachers and school reports.

I digress. The Attitude is essentially a Swift in SZ3 trim with some exterior trinkets. This means it has:

It all works pretty well - and it looks every bit a junior Suzuki Swift Sport. Mine is in Pure White Pearl, a £485 option. Only Fervent Red is a no-cost option.

Apple CarPlay is a must have for me. This piece of software transforms an otherwise unremarkable infotainment system into a thoroughly decent one. To get it on such a reasonably priced car is a testament to Suzuki's value for money ethos.

On face value, the Attitude offers the same styling quirks as the Swift Sport, but is much cheaper to buy (around £90 per month less on finance as of 2019), plus it's 10 insurance groups lower, too.

My only worry for now, is that the offering of all bark and no bite will begin to grate after a while. 

Arch nemesis - the Ford Fiesta

Suzuki's finance deals do look remarkably good. At the time of writing (2019), Suzuki is offering 0% APR, teamed with a no deposit option. Of course, it is better value if you put down a deposit.

The Swift Attitude, with a £2,097 deposit, on a 49 month agreement, (with 0% APR), and a mileage cap of 8,000 miles is a reasonable £139 per month.

Using roughly the same parameters (£2,097 deposit, 48 month agreement, 9,000 miles per year) the Fiesta ST-Line (similar because of its sporty looks and sensible engine) comes in at £190.75 per month.

Admittedly, the Ford's interior feels more premium, and its engine is smaller, more powerful, and more refined.

But should you care? Which would I rather have - a better engine and interior, or an extra £51.75 showing in my banking app every month? By the end of our time together, I should have an answer.

Update 2: Performance and handling

Suzuki Swift side

With other cars, we'd probably kick this section off with hp, torque, and 0-62mph times. But with the Swift it's prudent we start off with a more salient figure. MPG.

All Swifts sip fuel rather than guzzle it. And our Attitude has a non-turbocharged four-cylinder 1.2-litre engine, that on paper looks a bit outdated compared with rivals. But, 5000 miles in, we're recording an impressive 50mpg (49.9 if you're feeling pedantic). This is mightily impressive considering the official fuel rating for the Swift is 55.4 mpg.

Have a look at our new miles per pound calculator and you can see that the pure petrol engines can go further for your pound than the mild-hybrid models. While that goes against the grain for normal cars, it perhaps shows that simpler engines are best in simple applications like the Swift.

As well as our 1.2-litre, a 1.0-litre turbocharged engine with and without mild hybrid assistance can be optioned with the Swift, while a peppy 1.4-litre unit is found in the Swift Sport.

Official fuel economy peaks at 54.1mpg for the mild-hybrid. Swift Sport aside, the least efficient is the SZ5 Boosterjet automatic (with no mild-hybrid set-up), posting a figure of 48.6mpg.

What's it like then?

MPP Suzuki Swift

While the MPG is impressive, the acceleration is a bit underwhelming. The 1.2-litre engine has 90hp, which in 2019 isn't all that much. Yes, it weighs in at 980kg, so it doesn't have a lot to lug around. But it still feels lethargic.

Admittedly, if this is 'just' a runaround, it'll be fine for most people. It just feels breathless at motorway speeds. Peak power hits at 4400rpm, which means you really have to rev it to get the best out of it. Now, this has its pros and cons. If you like having to work hard for your power (which I do) it is quite a lot of fun to rag around.

However, I cover a lot of motorway journeys, and having to change from fifth to fourth to overtake does grow tiring. While I'm on the subject of motorway driving, the Attitude doesn't have cruise control. This is irritating on long journeys, and you would expect a mid-spec car of this nature to have it.

Ride is near exemplary at low speeds - once again perfect for the around town types. As well as motorways, I beat the ground down a fair number of rat runs with uneven road surfaces, speed bumps and width restrictors. On a road with a 20mph speed limit you can easily slide over big speed bumps without having to slow down.

Generally below 40mph it does a fine job of smoothing out pockmarked and potholed roads thanks to soft suspension and sensible 16-inch alloy wheels.

Ride at motorway speeds is acceptable, but the suspension relays quite a few of the smaller, niggly bumps through the seat of your pants. Road and wind noise are pretty loud at these speeds, too.

What about the handling?

Suzuki Swift interior

The Swift is great fun to throw around a set of bends you know well. Grip levels are strong, and because the engine is relatively underpowered, you won't get out of shape unless you're really being silly.

There's a fair amount of roll in the Swift. So if you go into a roundabout too quickly, you'll feel yourself moving in your seat, swaying from side to side.

The steering is ultra light, which is great for things like parking, but is perhaps a tad wispy for motorway driving - where a surprising amount of lock is needed for minor inputs like changing lanes. This however, you easily get used to.

Seating position is good. You sit relatively low in the car, and it can be adjusted even lower, so even six footers have plenty of headroom. Your view out of the windscreen is top-notch, with the A-pillars not taking up a lot of space.

In this department, the Swift, like the Fiesta, falls into the category of 'much more fun to drive than it needs to be', and for that, I really like it.

Update 3: Comfort and interior

2019 Suzuki Swift Attitude interior

As mentioned above, I do a hefty number of miles. Therefore, comfort is key for me. And the Swift really delivers.

The wheels are a sensible size (16-inches) and the suspension isn't rock solid. Mechanically, it's set up to be soft and pillowy rather than hard and taut.

Inside, the seats are equally as soft. Good adjustment too, although it has little in the way of lumbar support. The driver's seats could definitely do with a little more side support too.

This is nitpicking though. I've driven for hours in comfort with little to no complaint from my spine or bottom.

The good news continues, as my learned colleagues also agree on the comfort of the Swift. These colleagues come in all different shapes, sizes, and intelligence levels so it's warming to hear that it's not just me who can easily find a comfortable seating position in the car.

Personally I like sitting low down and relatively close to the steering wheel, and many car makers don't make a seat that goes quite low enough for me. Yet more brownie points for Suzuki.

Noise levels are perfectly acceptable at low speeds. At motorway speeds wind noise picks up a bit, and the engine can make itself heard (depending on how quickly you're driving) but it's nothing that the radio can't drown out. Which brings us on nicely to the infotainment.

Mixed-bag infotainment 

2019 Suzuki Swift Attitude infotainment

We'll start off with the good. As mentioned previously, my Swift has Apple CarPlay. This essentially makes the car's infotainment screen look like your phone. I'm poncey and have an iPhone because I like how easy it is to use and my brain is too small to learn how to use an Android now. But the Swift also has Android Auto if you're that way inclined. 

Apple CarPlay makes your screen a big iPhone, then. Job's a good'un. And 90% of the time the connection works fine. But sometimes it freezes when you plug your phone in. Sometimes it will start charging your phone, but won't register the Apple CarPlay on the screen. It doesn't happen often. But when it does, it's very annoying.

Which brings me onto another little annoyance. For some reason, Apple CarPlay on the Suzuki makes everything you play really, really quiet. Obviously this means turning the volume up. If I'm listening to a particularly quiet podcast on the motorway, I'd say that I'd usually have it on 70/100 volume.

When you disconnect your phone, for instance, getting out at a petrol station, it reverts back to the radio. Which then blares out at 70/100 for everyone to hear. This can be especially problematic depending on what radio station you were last listening to.

I digress. The sound quality isn't bad for a car of this price. It's just that the third-party infotainment system (the same as in the Alpine A110, y'know) does weird things to the volume of Apple CarPlay.

This third party 4.2-inch screen/infotainment system from Bosch is amicable in other areas though. The satnav isn't too bad (not as good as Waze or Google Maps), the resolution pretty good, and I have no complaints about the image of the reversing camera. No complaints about the touchscreen either. The graphics look like they're straight from an Atari 5200 Super System - but once again, because I mainly use the Apple CarPlay interface it doesn't bother me in the slightest.

What's it like for passengers?

2019 Suzuki Swift Attitude rear seats

Truth be told, I've only had five people in it once. And for a short journey, it was absolutely fine. I'd be as bold as to say that even for long journeys, four full-sized adults would be more than happy.

The door handles for the rear doors are nicely tucked away at the top of the door at head height, rather than in the traditional hand height. This looks neat, and doesn't actually affect the usability of the doors. Assuming the rear passengers know where the door handles are.

On more than one occasion I've picked up people (i'm not moonlighting as an Uber, I just checked on Uber's official requirement website and apparently only the SX-4 S-Cross makes it onto the list for Suzuki) and I've had to awkwardly wind down my window and shout that the handle is up at the top.

Another slight gripe for passengers. You press the remote central locking button once to undo the driver's door, and twice to undo all the other doors (including the boot). I often forget this, and get into the driver's seat, leaving passengers out in the cold for just that split second long enough to annoy them.

Once they're in the back though passengers have no comfort complaints. The ride in the back then, is just as pliant in the front.

It is mightily plain back there. A sea of black, manual windows, and erm, not much else. I will say this though. My Swift isn't equipped with fancy climate control, so heating and cooling are controlled via manual knobs. This means it's dead easy to use on the move, and the car gets toasty super quickly. Even in the winter, and even in the back.

Update 4: Practicality 

Suzuki Swift long term boot

Practicality is, like many things, subjective. For me, the Swift is more than fine. I've never found it wanting in space up front, in the middle, or at the back.

Let's talk about the boot. The good news: the Swift's measures in at 264 litres, a full 54 litres more than the old model. As you can see in the pic above, it'll easily swallow a Volvo child's seat.

Not so good news: it's still smaller than the one found in the Ford Fiesta (294 litres). There's not much in it to look at, but that is yet another win for the Fiesta.

The Swift also has a pretty high boot lip. This isn't that annoying, but if you have something particularly heavy you've got to get it up and over it. The shape of the boot itself is wide and good. The rear seats are easily folded into their 60:40 split. They don't sit completely flat, which may affect you if you're sliding long and heavy items into the rear.

But these are pretty big ifs and buts. The boot is more than fine. How often are you really faffing around with heavy and long items anyway? The important thing is that you'll get your weekly shop in there if you're a smallish family.

Suzuki Swift long termer at Ikea

I've been to Ikea a few times in the Swift. Although I do like the food there, I do find the whole process easily as tedious as trying to get a hospital appointment or backlinking old articles to new ones on Parkers.

I think the point I'm trying to get at here is that I've been to Ikea, bought a load of tat, including a house plant that's about two foot tall, and it's all fitted in the Suzuki's boot.

The simple life

Suzuki Swift engine bay

Hate to labour this good point bad point thing that I'm doing, but the windscreen washer reservoir is really small, and typically only lasts me a couple of months. This slight dig brings me onto something brilliant though. I've said before that the Swift's raison d'etre is its simplicity. And the screenwash is a shining example of this.

Open the bonnet and you're not met with a mess of plastic. It's all pretty simple. It looks like an engine. You can actually see what things go where.

This makes doing simple maintenance bits yourself so, so easy. While the screenwash needs topping up pretty regularly, it's so easy to do. The screenwash is highlighted in blue. It's there. Flip it open, and fill it with screenwash and water. Job's a good'un. No faffing, no funnels, no swearing. It's the same for the oil. The dipstick is highlighted in yellow. It's not hidden, there's no procedure. It's just there.

Parking is also supremely simple in the Swift.

A) It's small, and the view out is good. After a very short period you really get a sense of where the front wheels are.

B) The steering is light. Going from full lock to lock is never, ever arduous.

C) It makes up for its poor rear visibility by having a rear reversing camera. If you regularly parallel park like me, you'll really appreciate it. The positioning of the camera also means that it doesn't get clogged with filth regularly, meaning when it's rubbish weather and you get in your car to leave what you're doing, you rarely need to step back out into the bleak wind and rain to clean the camera with your sleeve.

Update 5: Head-to-head with the Ford Fiesta

Suzuki Swift Ford Fiesta

Over the course of the last few months, the Suzuki has proven to be super-dependable and endearing in a no-nonsense kind of way.

The problem is that the car market is awash with other practical, good looking, and reliable superminis.

There's the cheapest car in the UK, the Dacia Sandero, an all-new Vauxhall Corsa, an all-new Peugeot 208, plus the newish Renault Clio, Skoda Fabia, Kia Rio, Hyundai i20, and Volkswagen Polo.

Then there's the heavyweight. The bestselling car in the UK - the Ford Fiesta. Which is why I thought I'd pitch the two against each other.

In 2019, Ford had a change of tack with the Fiesta. It ditched its former entry level trim called Zetec, and replaced it with the Trend, seen here. It's better equipped, but more expensive, furthering the gap in price between the Fiesta and the Swift.

But what would I prefer if it was my own money, a mid-spec Swift Attitude, like mine, or a basic Ford Fiesta?

Styling

Both are smart looking. My Attitude spec Swift has a bespoke bodykit, that makes it look pretty sporty. It also hides its rear door handles to make it look a bit sleeker. The faux carbon fibre bits aren't to my taste, but they might float other people's boats.

The Fiesta is also handsome. No bad boy-esque bodykits for the Trend, but it's neat looking. There is a problem though. With the Fiesta's ubiquity, it might not stand out enough - simply melting into the sea of other Ford Fiestas on the road. That's not a problem you have with the Swift.

Interior

Suzuki Swift Ford Fiesta infotainments

Step inside the Swift and you're met with grey. The plastics feel well screwed together, but certainly don't feel soft, or squidgy, or look particularly nice.

In my Attitude spec car, there's a 7.0-inch infotainment screen. It's available in all Swifts bar the very cheapest. In isolation, the screen isn't great. Its graphics look like they've been nicked from an eighties games console, and it's not awfully responsive. It does, however, come with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.

The Fiesta is palpably nicer inside than the Swift. Its plastics feel a bit plusher, and even the seat feels a bit more sturdy. Bit more lumbar support too.

The Trend doesn't come with Ford's SYNC 3 6.5-inch infotainment system as standard - it's an optional extra. At time of writing it's £300. Our test car had it, and it's well worth the money. Slick and easy to use, it comes with the important Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.

Both cars are similar for the rear passengers. Each has enough room for two adults to sit comfortably on longish journeys, but three is a bit of a push. The Ford has electric rear windows, but the Swift doesn't.

Practicality

The Swift's boot measures in at 264 litres. Smaller than the Fiesta's. It'll still easily fit a week's shop for a small family or a child seat and a soft bag. I've been to Ikea in it, bought a load of tat, including a house plant that's about two-foot-tall, and it's all fitted in here.

The seats are easily folded into their 60:40 split, but it has a pretty high boot lip. This isn't really annoying until you have something heavy to push through.

Bootspace in the Fiesta is 292 litres. It's not noticeably bigger than the Swift's. If you regularly haul different sized suitcases, the Fiesta would be better. But with soft bags it doesn't make much of a difference.

Nevertheless, both are more than fine for the typical supermini buyer.

Driving

The Swift is extremely easy to drive. There's nothing fancy or confusing, there are no driving modes to contend with. There's a key which you turn in the ignition, a steering wheel, and a gearbox.

Ride quality is above average for a car of this size. It really wafts along nicely in town, with only deep ruts upsetting your drive. However, road and wind noise are really felt in the Swift, especially at motorway speeds.

The 1.2-litre engine in my Attitude isn't quick, but, it's just about enough if you don't cover a lot of miles. And you'd really struggle to do less than 50mpg in it.

This little Swift does have an ace up its sleeve. It's much more fun to drive than it really needs to be. The steering is light enough for town, but also doesn't feel too light on a fun set of bends. It feels agile, and it really is surprisingly fun. It's well up there with the Fiesta dynamically.

The gearshift in the Ford is more precise, and feels more rewarding when you slot it into its intended destination.

The Ford rides equally well, and our model here is fitted with the optional 1.0-litre turbo engine. This is far superior to the 1.2-litre in my Swift. It's faster, and feels much more up for motorway driving. The 0-62mph times may seem superfluous in cars like these, but they're a good way of indicating how quickly a car can get up to motorway speed. The Fiesta is more than second quicker, and it feels it.

Finance

It's important to remember that costs are always changing. To get the latest pricing, visit Suzuki or Ford's websites.

Saying that, here are the Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) costs as of March 2020.

Suzuki Swift Attitude: cash price: £12,825

Monthly cost £207.90 (x23)
Upfront £1,500
Total payable £14,001.60
Mileage allowance 8,000
APR 6.9%

Ford Fiesta Trend 1.0-litre: cash price: £16,595

Monthly cost £298.88 (x24)
Upfront £1,500 (including £1,000 deposit contribution)
Total payable £15,595
Mileage allowance 9,000
APR 0%

If you're buying outright, the Fiesta is definitely worth the extra £1,600. If you're not going to buy at the end, it's not worth the extra £90 per month.

>> Best cars for £200 per month
>> Best cars for £300 per month

Verdict

The Swift may well be on the cheaper end of the supermini spectrum, but that doesn't stop it being hugely likeable. It's not in the least bit flashy, and its down-to-earth nature means that everything does seem to be screwed together nicely – it's just very good at the simple things.

The Fiesta outclasses it in every department. It might be a bit more expensive, but it's just that little bit more polished in most conceivable ways.

If you're looking at keeping a car for a long time, the Swift does have the backing of Suzuki's stellar reliability. If it were my money, I'd put it on the Ford.

Update 6: Would I buy one?

2019 Suzuki Swift Attitude rear

After six months, 7,354 miles, and one video, Suzuki has come and taken the Swift away from me. Did I put up a fight?

Yes. After all of this time, I have grown to like the Swift a great deal. It's been, unsurprisingly, as reliable as a punch-in clock at a Swiss watch factory, and its looks have really grown on me.

Because it doesn't sell as well as the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, and Volkswagen Polo, you don't see as many on the road. Rarer = better for me.

Is it the best of the Supermini lot? No.

The following sections are succinct so there's not any repetition from the head to head above. Read the Suzuki Swift Attitude v Ford Fiesta Trend for more info on what it's like to drive.

Engine and fuel economy

We'll start with something that I found disappointing - the engine. The 1.2-litre unit is slow. No getting round it. And despite what one YouTube commenter thought, 11.9 seconds is a slow 0-62mph time. I'd really recommend the much better turbocharged 1.0-litre Swift.

The 1.2-litre does at least have mpg on its side. After six-months I managed 49.3mpg. Really, very very respectable.

Handling

The disappointing engine is made up for by the way it handles. It loves being thrown around. Tiny wheels means there's little in the way of rolling resistance, and there's a good amount of roll. Which means fun.

It's the sort of car that's really fun to punt around while still remaining in the realms of the speed limit.

Ride comfort

In short, it's really comfortable, for most of the time. Around town it does its best impressions of swallowing uneven roads and bumps. At faster speeds it's not quite as composed.

Take the needle to the dizzying speeds of the motorway and it's really not that bad. Big potholes, like the ones that besmirch the A1 like rabbit holes on a golf course make the little Swift jump a little bit. But it's not too bad. Road noise at motorway speed is loud - and the stereo is quiet.

Interior and equipment

Our Attitude spec car is well equipped. It has most things you'd want - sat-nav, electric front windows, remote central locking, and a reversing camera. Even Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Which is particularly good - because even in 2020 some pretty expensive cars still lack it.

Negatives of the interior are relatively easy to see, and feel. It's cheap looking in there. Greys are met with different shades of greys. No electric rear windows on our Attitude spec cars either.

Space-wise, it's absolutely fine. No complaints from me, and there would be few complaints for small families as long as they didn't cover galactic mileages.

Would I buy a Suzuki Swift with my own money?

I truly would consider it if I was buying a small supermini for my own needs. I'd go nearly-new, mind you. The reason? It'd probably outlast me, and it's wonderfully uncomplex. Definitely a car to keep for a while. I also like that it's a bit different to the norm.

Would I recommend one to the typical buyer who wants to change cars every three years? Honestly, no. It's hard not to recommend the Fiesta. It's nicer in nearly every way, plus finance deals tend to be keener.