Swiftly around town

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By Nick Jones

Suzuki have really turned a corner with their cars, I think.

Their model range currently includes the Splash, SX4, Grand Vitara and the one I recently tested, the Swift.

I remember Swift’s of old. They were adequate but not exciting.

The original Swift was launched in the early 1980s. The second generation, the one before this latest but from which it takes its styling cues, arrived in 2004, and proved a great success for Suzuki. It stayed a small car, despite the competition opting to go larger for the ever-growing families.

With the new car, technically the third iteration, they have probably been forced into making it somewhat larger, but the styling cues are absolutely spot-on.

The curvy bonnet and the traditional blacked-out pillars still remain, as does the high roofline.

It hasa large headlamps that really give it big-boy looks, a low nose that gives it sporty appeal and a nice rear end that isn’t fussy to look at.

Indeed, the Swift is a great looking car, and as the specification rises, so do the pleasures like alloy wheels and a bit of colour-coding here and there.

The engine choice for me was the highest-regarded unit of the lot according to other hacks, the 1.2-litre petrol.

With advanced variable valve timing controlling intake and exhaust valves, it produces a very high-tech 93bhp which is quite a lot for a 1.2-litre).

Top speed is around 105mph, with the 0-60mph sprint taking a not-too-shabby 12 seconds.

It really is a cracking engine for the Swift – punchy and reasonably quick when needs must, yet it can achieve over 55mpg, with emissions a very lowly 116g/km.

Cabin space is much improved, certainly in the front anyway. In the rear it’s not perhaps as large as intended but is adequate.

Quality remains strong and Suzuki has gone down the design theme that other ‘supermini’ manufacturers have tended to adopt – quirkiness and fun-loving.

Standard kit is encouraging and despite being priced at the lower end of the market it comes complete with seven airbags, ESP stability control and adds items such as air conditioning, four electric windows, central locking power steering as you move up the specification levels.

The modern Swift is bold and innovative and that’s what I like about it.

It does things well, the basic things like effortlessly cruising, being very quiet, easy to drive and above all comfortable.

Prices start at just £10,210 for the three-door 1.2 SZ2, and rise to £12,505 for the five-door SZ4 – a small price to pay for what it does. A Ford Fiesta with similar specification will set you back over £15,000.

I loved it, what a great little car.