When a new Suzuki comes along we journalists are generally quite excited. There’s something lovable and entertaining about virtually every vehicle the brand puts out, character bubbling up despite their reputation for reliability and being a ‘sensible buy.’
The previous generation Swift in particular was one of the Suzukis that everybody liked, even though it felt dated towards the end of its life cycle. So a lot hinged on its replacement, whose arrival was both eagerly and apprehensively anticipated. Would it be as good? Would it still be charming?
The short answer is yes, the new one has improved upon the previous generation in every way, and it remains one of the best buys in the segment.
Firstly, it’s wider but shorter, the sum total being more space for all occupants, as well as a bigger boot by 58ℓ. Design-wise it’s a new take on the successful formula, although it’ll take a while to get over the nostalgia that makes us love the old one so much.
What’s under the bonnet?
Under the bonnet the 1.2ℓ petrol engine has been retained, and since it has a reputation for reliability and decent fuel consumption, it’s a good move. The lightweight engine produces 61kW and 113Nm, which may not sound like a lot, but considering the light weight of the vehicle it propels, it actually does a very good job at being entertaining to drive. Fuel consumption is a claimed 4.9ℓ/100km for a range of over 750km on the 37ℓ tank. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard on the GA model, while the more upmarket GL model can be had with either a five-speed manual or a similarly cogged automatic.
Has it got all the bells and whistles?
Speaking of models, the GA is equipped with air-con, electric windows all round, ABS braking with electronic breakforce distribution, two airbags and ISOFIX child seat anchors. The GL models get a few exterior trim upgrades as well as steering-wheel audio controls.
If you want a boot on your Swift, the Suzuki Dzire range has also arrived in South Africa, and it is essentially just that – a Swift with a boot. Prices for the Dzire are exactly R2 000 more than their Swift counterparts.
And to whet your appetites, a new version of everybody’s favourite, dinky off-roader, the Jimny, is coming to South Africa towards the end of the year, and initial pictures show a great looking car.
2018 Suzuki Swift prices
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GA Manual R159 900
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL Manual R175 900
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL AMT R189 900
All models are sold with Suzuki’s acclaimed 5-year / 200 000 km mechanical warranty and a 2-year/30 000 km service plan.
Words Stephen Smith