Under the Suzuki banner, Swift is a nameplate that has been a staple of the brand and was, once, shared by Holden as a Barina. Allegedly, Holden had the lowest warranty return of any of their vehicles when using that car as a source…In the latter half of the “noughties” Suzuki revamped the Swift, giving it a look not dissimilar to a couple of well known smaller cars. They even released a sports version, with a (then) grunty 1.6 litre engine and a six speed manual as the only transmission option.Since then there’s been some slight bodywork changes, such as headlights and tail lights faired back into the sheetmetal. A Wheel Thing takes on the mid spec GL Swift in 2016, called the Navigator.Up front is a non turbo 1.4 litre engine, with 70 kilowatts at 6000 rpm and a reasonable, for the engine’s size, 130 torques at 4000 rpm. Suzuki, however, hobble it by fitting a four speed automatic (there is a five speed manual as standard) to the test car. It’s here where either a five or six speed auto OR a properly calibrated CVT would be a better option, as to get anything resembling overtaking speed requires a solid press of the go pedal. It drops from fourth to second in order to get something happening. A better spread of gears would help, one should think.
At least, like all of the Suzukis tested by A Wheel Thing, you can wave an oily rag at one and cover a fair distance. The Swift is no different, sipping 5.5 litres of 91 RON per one hundred kilometres of distance driven for a combined cycle, from a 42 litre tank in the manual and a slightly higher yet no less worthwhile 6.2 for the auto, says Suzuki. A Wheel Thing was in a mainly urban environment and saw 400 klicks at a half tank used.Inside it’s a mix of textured and shiny black plastic on the dash (visibly reflecting in the windscreen), cloth covered seats in a dark grey and charcoal weave, no centre console as such but a couple of bottle/cup holders, cruise and audio controls on the tiller plus Bluetooth for the phone and audio. The Navigator gts its name due to the stylish seven inch touchscreen with (surprise) satellite navigation and CD. It’s intuitive to use, looks good but has a really odd programming where the warning screen you need to touch to view everything else stays on until you touch it. All. Of. The. Time. It doesn’t auto switch off, unlike other brands, to display the satnav or radio screens, for example, it’ll stay there until you turn the car off.
The dash design has a couple of built in storage spots, which are open to the cabin and have no material inside to stop items from moving around, meaning a phone or coins and so on are free to shake, rattle and roll. Underneath the touchscreen is another indentation, this being the aircon controls which are manually operated dials. One highlight here is that on full heat, the cabin gets toasty warm very quickly. Again, too, Suzuki eschew auto headlights and only the driver gets an Auto option for the power windows, being downwards only. The tiller is only adjustable for tilt, with reach being reserved for the GLX Navigator.Boot space isn’t huge at 210 litres (seats up) and is somewhat hampered, initially, by having what first appears to be a high mounted shelf. This, though, is removable, adding some vital extra space, but then the question is where to put that removable shelf. Back seat anyone? With the seats down this increases to a more usable 533 litres. The wheelbase and 1510 mm height work together to endow the Swift with an agreeable amount of interior space for driver, front and rear passengers with just enough rear leg room for children, although adults might feel a tad cramped…
Being a small car, safety would be a consideration for buyers of the car for their children and Suzuki don’t skimp here. There’s front, side, curtain AND driver’s knee ‘bags, the suite of electronic aids such as traction and stability control, electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist and hill hold control for the automatic equipped Swifts.Outside there’s nothing new for the Swift in regards to looks; no LED driving lights (it does get globe lit driving lights), head and tail lights faired into the guards (a design change a few years ago), with stylish 16 inch alloys clad in 185/55 rubber. It’s a good looking car and after ten years with the same basic design (the rear window line was also modified a few years ago), still looks good on the road.Speaking of on the road, it’s a surprising harsh and hard ride in the Swift. There’s bang, crash, thump enough to please a Batman episode from the 1960s, such is the lack of compliance. This came as a surprise, and not a welcome one. The lack of give also contributed to the rear end skipping around on unsettled surfaces, such as broken tarmac or bumps in turns. It’s choppy and intrusive, deadening an otherwise quite reasonable handling package from the MacPherson strut front/torsion beam rear suspended car. Yet, there seemed to be more give over shopping centre speed restrictors….odd. It’s quick enough in the steering too, allowing the driver to move the 3850 mm long machine into some tight spaces, aided by the 2430 mm wheelbase, pushing the wheels to all four corners.As mentioned, the four speed auto restricts performance but in normal day to day driving, it’s adequate enough. In fact, when A Wheel Thing sold Suzuki vehicles, it was the auto Swift that was most demanded by parents as a first car for their children, because it was auto and not seen as either quick nor hard to drive. It’ll respond well enough when really pushed but as an around town car, it’ll do the job if you don’t expect it to do much more. Brakes are discs up front, drums at the rear and also do a good job of pulling in the lightweight Swift. It tips the scales at just 1035 kilos (kerb weight).
At The End Of The Drive.
It’s a firm favourite with younger drivers, the Suzuki Swift, thanks to its pert good looks, swag of safety features and, for parents of new drivers, the comparitive lack of urge. It happily swallows a family of four but is a bit light on for luggage space. It’s cheap to run, comes with Suzuki’s standard three year/100000 kilometre warranty and the sat nav in the mid range GL is a sweetener too. With the GL Navigator introduced to the Aussie market at a $17490 price (the Swift range starts at $15990) it’s also easy on the bank balance to buy.
For further information on the 2016 Suzuki Swift range, go here:2016 Suzuki Swift range