Mainly retail customers, they will buy model after model; fourth-generation Suzuki ownership is not uncommon, which isn’t bad going given the average three-year replacement cycle. That’s a lot of customer currency to trade on.
Why do they keep returning? Because the well-priced models do everything they could wish for, given them no hassle in the process, and are everything the drama-free car owner really wants from their motor.
It is such thinking Suzuki has applied to the new Swift. Yes, the new Swift. The car you see pictured here is all-new. Not a single bit is shared with the old one; it’s new both outside and in. We’ll keep repeating ‘new’, too, because you probably won’t believe us.
See, Suzuki has chosen a decidedly evolutionary path with the styling of the new Swift. Bigger than before, particularly in length and wheelbase, it nevertheless carries over all of the 2005 original’s details; front light shape, MINI-style black A-pillars, Audi-style body shoulders and, yes, rear light shape ‘n all. This is not a disaster – the old Swift was always one of the funkier superminis – but it doesn’t really help the car stand out.
Suzuki knows, though. Knows its customers didn’t want big changes on the outside – but understands they were crying out for a better interior. So this is what they’ve been given; the latest Swift, which hits showrooms in September, boasts a dashboard way more interesting and premium-look than before. In many ways, it apes a Volkswagen; fitting, that, given the recent VW Group family link.
Clever packaging means there’s more space than before – the benefits of that wheelbase stretch pay off, particularly in the rear, while those in the front will love the firm, high and broad seats. Shame the boot remains small, though. And, surprisingly, a focus on safety has meant the opening has grown smaller, not bigger!
This is to stiffen the bodyshell and make it more robust in a crash. To further this, Suzuki has used far more high tensile strength steel throughout; far sturdier than cheaper steel, it also means the bigger Swift is 20kg lighter than the old one. Now that’s impressive.
As is the new petrol engine, even if it doesn’t sound it on paper. The old car had a 1.3-litre; this one now has a 1.2-litre. Hang on, a reduction in size, buyers will ask – how’s that an advance? Well, through the addition of Honda-style DVVT variable valve timing.
This sees the smooth, revvy motor put out 94bhp, while also proving way more economical than before. It averages more than 56mpg, and emits just 116g/km of CO2. Petrol cars with such low CO2 emissions really are rare.
Refreshing in a different way is the Swift’s dynamics. It’s really quite spirited, with a sporty ride aiding engaging handling and tidy prowess through bends. There’s even a new variable-ratio steering system, that’s pleasingly sharp straight ahead, for incisive turn into corners you wouldn’t believe from such a similar-looking motor to before.
So, all told, there’s much more to interest here than first appears. Offered in three-door and five-door guise, along with a 1.3-litre diesel customers will barely be interested in, Suzuki will announce prices next month, but promises they will be keen.
‘It’s our most important model,’ said a spokesman. ‘The new Swift answers all the requests of our customers and really lives up to our motto “more Swift”.’ Once you get exploring, it’s hard to disagree.
But it’s going to take all of that famed customer loyalty and more to make people aware of the fact this car is all-new. But then again, maybe that’s the whole idea?