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Handbook: Suzuki Swift 4×4

Time 8:00 am, November 4, 2013

SU_1132AFTER a wait of a couple of years, Suzuki is finally selling its Swift 4×4 in the UK. Daljinder Nagra gets behind the wheel.

What is it?

Outwardly it looks like any other Swift model. Look closer, though, and you’ll see the little details that differentiate the 4×4 version: The raised body and colour-contrasting underside protection plates front and rear. It uses a full-time four-wheel- drive system which automatically sends power to the rear wheels when the fronts struggle for grip. So it’s not a case of all show and no go.

What’s under the bonnet?

The Swift 4×4 is available solely with a 1.2-litre four-cylinder motor, which develops 93bhp. While that sounds quite miserly given the demands of the additional driven wheels, the engine revs freely and rarely feels underpowered around town. It’s no fireball, however, as its 0-60mph ‘sprint’ time of 13.4 seconds proves. The flip side is impressive combined fuel economy of 56.5mpg. Power is dispatched to the road via a sweet- shifting five-speed manual gearbox.

Screen shot 2013-11-04 at 16.47.26What’s the spec like?

You can’t get the 4×4 in entry-level SZ2 spec, with the range starting at £13,819 for the well-equipped SZ3. It comes with all the creature comforts you could reasonably ask for, including air-conditioning, Bluetooth and MP3 connectivity. Our test car came in range-topping SZ4 trim, which not only adds the silver bash plates for a more rough-and-tumble look, but also comes with keyless entry and ignition, as well as cruise- control, rear tinted glass and LED daytime running lights, making it excellent value at £15,739.

What’s it like to drive?

Light and effortless, much like the regular Swift, until you get to a corner. With power being transferred to the rear wheels, the 4×4 Swift stays resolutely on line. Despite the additional 65kg of weight the four- wheel-drive system adds, the Swift 4×4 doesn’t feel any less sprightly than its front-wheel-drive counterpart.

What do the press think of it?

Auto Express said: ‘If you need the reassurance of a car that will keep going when the weather closes in, the Swift 4×4 is a great choice. The economy penalty is worth paying, while the lack of impact to the excellent driving dynamics is a real bonus.’

What do we think of it?

If you’ve been mulling over the idea of buying a 4×4 for improved traction and stability in slippery conditions, but don’t want the city impracticality or increased running costs of a big off-roader, the Swift is an ideal alternative. No, it won’t perform particularly well in the rough stuff, but we did subject it to a little light green laning, which it managed with aplomb. Instead, think of it as a good-value, comfortable and well-built supermini that won’t leave you stranded when the snow comes down.


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