Monaco is a land of gamblers, risk takers, and money makers… Suzuki are next in line to roll the dice in Lady Luck’s back yard with the all-new 2017 Suzuki Swift. It is a big risk for any car manufacturer to totally redesign such an important model, especially considering the popularity of its predecessor. But with risk comes potential reward, and considering that the small car clings on the the biggest share of the sales pie, success could prove highly rewarding indeed.
Whilst still recognisably a Swift, it retains those familiar proportions, this car is distinctly of a new generation. A domed nose plays host to a large grill and characterful rounded headlights. The short bonnet gives way to a glasshouse that features a blacked-out C-pillar of which creates a floating roof effect. A bold shoulder line continues rearward and into the light cluster. Our red test car looked great in the sunshine in the south of France. However, the cars looks have divided opinions amongst colleagues. It is certainly a machine that looks better in the metal than in photography.
The interior continues the sense of revolution as you are greeted by a series of cascading surfaces and contrasting colours. This is an interesting dashboard design, but one let down by the use of too many scratchy plastics. It has a sense of durability, but it doesn’t compare to many plusher rivals. Mounted in the centre console is the latest 4.2 inch touchscreen infotainment system from Suzuki. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both supported and it is a vast improvement over cars of old. Entry-level SZ2 trim is now a thing of the past, but standard equipment now includes; air conditioning, DAB radio, BlueTooth, and privacy glass. Front occupants receive a set of comfortable seats that provide a cosseting feel. The rear passenger compartment of the 2017 Suzuki Swift is impressive for a car of this size. Good head and leg room makes life in the second row much easier. Even the middle passenger doesn’t have to contend with much of a hump in the floor. Boot space is less than some competitors at 265 litres, however, that is 54 litres more than before. Not bad considering that this incarnation is 10mm shorter.
This specific 2017 Suzuki Swift is powered by a 1.0 litre Boosterjet engine. In SHVS guise it is supplemented by an electric motor and battery. Unlike many hybrids, the new Swift doesn’t have a series of modes to faff around with, it just does its thing whilst you do yours. Power output is 109 BHP and 170Nm of torque, but between 1,500 and 3,900rpm the battery boosts torque by a further 50Nm. It is not a Ferrari with a 0-62mph time of 10.6 seconds, but it is “SWIFT” enough. The engine revs freely throughout the range and thanks to a snappy 5 speed manual transmission it is actually rather enjoyable to row through the gears. An enthusiastic engine note narrates respectable progress, even on winding mountain roads. Said enthusiasm spreads to the way this hatchback handles as it weighs under 900KG. The lack of weight aids in agility as does accurate steering. There is some body roll through the bends, but overall this new chassis acquits itself well. Heading into the narrow streets where most 2017 Suzuki Swift will do battle daily, the positive all around visibility was of high value as suicidal scooter enthusiasts were spotted in good time. Our top specification car also came equipped with a reversing camera to make parking this supermini even easier. The steering may well be too light when on the open road, but around town it is this lightness that makes it effortless to drive. Turning circle isn’t bad either! Suzuki claims that the SHVS model emits 97g/km CO2 and returns 65.7 MPG.
Suzuki, once again, have produced a very competent car and one that deserves to do well. Its predecessors keen handling has been preserved and if Suzuki can get the price right, then they could be onto a winner. Overall pricing will be announce in April with the car hitting UK roads in June. A Swift Sport has been confirmed to be on its way… Something we very much look forward to.