2023 Suzuki Swift Review
December 5, 2022
The Swift hatch slips naturally into the urban landscape, and we spent a week with a mid-spec version to see how it measures up in terms of value, economy, cost of ownership, utility and driving performance.
The Swift GL S Plus wears a sticker price of $25,990, before on-road costs, sitting at the upper edge of the ‘affordable’ small car market, and aiming up at the likes of Kia’s Rio GT-Line ($25,590), the Mazda2 G15 GT ($26,290), and the VW Polo Life (manual – $25,250).
Suzuki’s traditionally followed its own path when it comes to design, and where other current small cars are increasingly a mix of sharp angles and geometric surfaces, the Swift’s exterior is a blend of relatively soft forms and rounded intersections.
How practical is the space inside?
Measuring a bit over 3.8m nose-to-tail, and roughly 1.7m across, the Swift is perfectly proportioned for the urban environment. And with an overall height of just under 1.5m and a 2.45m wheelbase it maximises the packaging potential for passengers within such a compact footprint.
Interior accommodation is good, with plenty of space up front, and in the back. At 183cm I was able to sit behind the driver’s seat set to my position with a surprising amount of head and legroom.
Three full-size adults across the rear seat would be an uncomfortably cosy arrangement, even on short trips. But a trio of up to early teenage kids will be fine.
When it comes to storage, there’s a reasonably generous glove box in the front, plus bins and a bottle holder in each door, as well as two cup holders and an oddments tray in the centre console.
Boot space is passable rather than spectacular for the class (so that’s where the rear seat room comes from…) with 242 litres on offer. Fold the 60/40 split-folding rear seat down and available space opens up to 556 litres. Worth noting there aren’t any tie-down hooks to secure loose loads, and there’s a space-saver spare under the floor.
Engine and transmission
The Swift GL is powered by a 1.2-litre, naturally aspirated, four-cylinder petrol engine, driving the front wheels through a continuously variable auto transmission.
Featuring dual variable valve timing to enhance performance, and two fuel injectors for each cylinder (in the name of better fuel atomisation and efficiency), the all-alloy unit produces 66kW at 6000rpm and 120Nm at 4400rpm.
If you’re after more urgent acceleration in a Swift, the 1.0-litre, three-cylinder GLX Turbo is the better option. It’ll hit 100km/h from rest in around 8.0 seconds while this car will take around 11 seconds. Only snag is the $29,790 (before on-road costs) price tag.
On top of the performance challenges, the ride is firm, the Swift’s strut front / torsion beam rear suspension transferring a fair bit of bump and thump from our spectacularly ordinary city and suburban roads. This despite the 16-inch rims being shod with 185 width rubber boasting a normally comfort-enhancing 55-series sidewall profile