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A cheap electric hatch? What we know so far about the 2024 Suzuki Swift

The silhouette may be similar but the next-gen Swift gains electrification and tech upgrades. (Image credit: Thanos Pappas)

It’s almost new Suzuki Swift time.

The Japanese small-car giant is putting the finishing touches to one of the world’s most popular superminis, with big changes in store for the long-lived nameplate.

Pencilled in for 2024, the fourth model since the dramatic rebirth of 2004 is shaping up to be an evolutionary restyling of what’s come before, while keeping strong visual ties with the highly-acclaimed current (A2L) model released in Australia in mid-2017.

Along with an edgier body boasting a fresh face, clamshell bonnet, broader shoulder line and completely overhauled interior, the newcomer – dubbed YED internally – is said to adopt a heavily revised version of Suzuki’s ‘Heartect’ small-vehicle architecture first seen underpinning the now-deleted Baleno range back in April, 2016.

But there’s plenty of progress as a result of the coming platform upgrade, with both mild-hybrid and series-hybrid technology expected to debut in the fourth-gen Swift for Australia, to reduce consumption and cut emissions substantially.

What this means is the existing 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine will probably carry on as the entry model with some mild-hybrid tech, along with the more-potent 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol alternative.

There may also be room for Suzuki’s long-lived K15C 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, that in today’s Euro-spec Vitara SUV features a 24kW/60Nm electric motor, for a combined power and torque output of 85kW and 138Nm respectively.

Then there’s the Toyota connection of course, with the 1.5-litre three-cylinder hybrid powertrain from the existing Yaris and Yaris Cross a possibility, though that’s far from certain at this stage.

The upcoming fourth-gen Swift will keep strong visual ties with the current (A2L) model released in Australia in mid-2017. The upcoming fourth-gen Swift will keep strong visual ties with the current (A2L) model released in Australia in mid-2017.

Unlike last time, whatever transpires internationally, Australian buyers are now in line to reap the benefits of these hybrid advances, with Suzuki Australia general manager Michael Pachota telling CarsGuide last September that every new model – including the Swift – will feature some sort of electrification from 2025.

“It would be right to assume the next space for Swift would be a hybrid introduction,” he said. “For us to be able to meet the CO2 standards we need to have a hybrid powertrain across most of our models.

“It would be wise of us, if there was an opportunity to have a hybrid platform as standard in Swift when we introduce it and introduce it as such.”

Of course, we can also look forward to yet another chapter of the sizzling Swift Sport story, likely with some form of performance-enhancing hybrid electrification to help keep it at the very top of the baby hot-hatch segment.

Whether the Sport remains wed to the 103kW/230Nm K14C 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo Boosterjet engine, as also found in the existing Vitara Turbo and related S-Cross Turbo, or the K14D that gains a 48-volt system and an integrated starter generator with stop/start to produce 95kW of power and 235Nm of torque backed up by a 10kW/53Nm electric motor boost, is unknown for now.

Suzuki is investing $A5.26 billion-dollars in battery tech, with clues as to what vehicles will receive some form of electrification through these silhouetted images. Suzuki is investing $A5.26 billion-dollars in battery tech, with clues as to what vehicles will receive some form of electrification through these silhouetted images.

But the biggest single change in the Swift nameplate's five-decade-long career (if you consider the 1983 original that also spawned the first two Holden Barina generations) might also make it the most exciting.

We can thank Suzuki itself for supplying us with the following big tip for what's in store in a press release issued on January 27, stating its intentions to eventually go carbon neutral in key markets like Europe and Japan by 2050 and in India by 2070.

It seems that the next Swift will also usher in a battery electric vehicle (BEV) model as an option, courtesy of the brand’s $A5.26 billion-dollar investment in battery tech, that will help achieve Suzuki’s target for an 80:20 EV/hybrid sales split in Europe by 2031.

The big clue comes in the silhouetted images of the core EVs coming over the next seven years, with a Swift-sized hatchback, lined up amongst the small MPVs, city cars and SUVs Suzuki is planning to electrify.

Additionally, the Swift’s very close crossover relative, the recently revealed Fronx that will ostensibly replace the Baleno and may even gain another badge like Baleno Cross or F-Cross for Australia, is also one of those shadowy future models that Suzuki revealed. Both cars are said to be very closely related under the skin, allowing for technology transfer between them if desired, plug-and-play style.

Suzuki has a target for an 80:20 EV/hybrid sales split in Europe by 2031. Suzuki has a target for an 80:20 EV/hybrid sales split in Europe by 2031.

So, what does all this mean?

Unfortunately, a more expensive range to start with, as the Swift continues its march upmarket as a premium supermini that no longer feeds the very bottom end of the segment as per previous iterations (or even the existing version up until 2020).

What was once a $15,990 proposition in the current A2L range when released nearly six years ago is now a hefty $24,490 (GL manual), although to be fair, every rival has also managed similar price hikes, while equipment levels have improved – especially in terms of safety.

Plus, the YED Swift is set to take a big step forward in terms of cabin modernity, multimedia connectivity, feature content and driver-assist tech.

Factor in an improved driving experience courtesy of electrification, better safety and a wider choice than ever before, and it’s clear that the next-gen Swift will continue to be a front runner in the supermini segment.

Bring on 2024.