Monday September 27
There has always been a place in our hearts for the lovable little Suzuki Swift. The Swift has been a strong seller in Ireland and in 2010 the model accounted for 30.95 percent of the company's Irish sales. However, overall numbers are down this year for the Swift compared to what was itself a bad year in 2009.
Suzuki has really played it safe with the design of the new Swift and it really isn't dramatically different to the old model. There are some styling changes, but it isn't headline news. What is really going on can be found under the skin. But for a start the design has changed, with a new body shell that is lighter and stiffer than before. There is an increased track and larger wheels to improve the already decent handling. And this car is also bigger in other areas. It is 90mm longer with a 50mm increase in wheelbase and 10mm increase in height.
The cabin feels much more spacious than before and there is a black and silver interior design theme used throughout. It isn't particularly funky, but everything works as it should and there are useful features such as somewhere to plug in an iPod or USB device.
There won't be much chance to try out the car this week because we head to Paris for the Motor Show, but we will have a proper look when we return on Friday.
Friday September 31
We are back from Paris and back to the Swift. Time to try out this new engine. Under the bonnet there is a new Euro 5 compliant 1.2-litre petrol engine that puts out 94hp, which is slightly more than the outgoing 1.3-litre's power output. Torque is also increased to 118Nm. Fuel economy is improved and emissions are lower too. You can expect 5.0 l/100km on the combined cycle and emissions from the 1.2-litre petrol model are now down to 116g/km, which is an impressive 24g/km down from the old 1.3-litre version.
The new engine is quiet and feels pretty peppy, although our long-term Fiat Punto Evo feels much more urgent for around the same money. The handling was always rather good in the Swift and this is no different. It begs for more power and you know that this chassis could cope with way more grunt. Let's hope we see another Sport model coming soon because we loved the last one.
What is impressive is the safety equipment that is thrown in as standard on the new Swift. The car gets seven airbags and ESP stability control, which is impressive for a car that is priced from just €14,650 for the three-door GL model. That also gets remote central locking, electric front windows, an MP3/WMA compatible CD stereo, a USB port and a leather covered steering wheel. The GLX five-door model we drove adds smart 16-inch alloy wheels and manual air conditioning. An automatic gearbox is optional. Our test car is priced at €15,950, which is pretty good value. Buyers should put the Swift in your top three supermini choices in 2011.
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GLX:
Engine: 1,242cc four-cylinder petrol
Maximum power: 94hp at 6,000rpm
Maximum torque: 230Nm at 2,250rpm
Acceleration (0-100km/h): 12.3 seconds
Max speed: 165km/h
Fuel economy (combined cycle): 5.0 l/100km
CO2 emissions: 116g/km
Motor tax band: A
Annual road tax: €104
Retail price: €15,950
Price of test car: €16,300
Metallic Paint: €350