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New Suzuki Swace 2021 debuts as cut-price Toyota Corolla-based wagon

Suzuki Swace wagon differs from its Toyota Corolla Touring Sports donor in very minor ways - namely in the grille and badges.

Suzuki has unveiled its version of the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports in Europe, as part of a growing wide-reaching model and technology-sharing agreement between the two Japanese companies.

Dubbed the Suzuki Swace, it will be only be available in the handsome five-door station wagon body style not available in Australian-bound Corollas, and in hybrid-only guise at that, when sales commence at the end of this year.

This means a variation of the 90kW/142Nm 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol/electric series-parallel hybrid set-up found in the latest Corolla hatch and sedan, driving the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission.

If the notion of a Toyota Corolla Touring Sports wagon with an altered grille, reshaped front bumper and Suzuki badges on the nose, tail and steering wheel seems like an odd choice, consider that the small-car (or C-car) class remains the second largest by volume in Europe after city/B-segment cars, even though sales for the first half of this COVID-19-affected year were down 40 per cent against the industry average’s 38 per cent.

Most big names over there – including the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, Opel Astra, Peugeot 308, Renault Megane, Kia Ceed, Skoda Octavia and Hyundai i30 – offer a wagon model to meet consistently strong demand for them.

The last time Australians were able to buy a Suzuki-badged wagon was during the original Baleno's run, which lasted from 1995 to 2001.

Toyota, meanwhile, has recently stated that while it would like to see the Corolla Touring Sports in Australia, the business case does not seem to be adding up for the time being. That said, the company did register the 'BZ' name in this country back in May, and that's an old Japanese domestic market badge applied to the... you guessed it... Corolla wagon. Let's wait and see what happens there. 

The last time Australians were able to buy a Suzuki-badged wagon was during the original Baleno's run. The last time Australians were able to buy a Suzuki-badged wagon was during the original Baleno's run.

This latest Toyota/Suzuki collaboration follows on from the Toyota RAV4-derived Suzuki Across Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) unveiled earlier this year for Europe, and is the second model slated for the region masterminded reportedly in order to keep the Suzuki corporate vehicle emissions average down. Failure to do so incurs stiff penalties.

In the Swaces’s case, with its 53kW electric motor and 3.6kWh battery to help keep the numbers low, the all-important carbon dioxide average on the WLTP cycle is just 99g/km. That’s some 40 per cent better than a 2.0-litre non-hybrid Corolla hatch equivalent.

Releasing repurposed hybrid and PHEV models is seen as the quickest and most efficient method to meet such obligations, while in return, Toyota obtains access to a bevy of low-cost current and future Suzuki econo models over the next few years, primarily for Indian, African and Asian markets. This agreement between the two arch rivals was hammered out back in 2017.

Whether Australia will ever see badge-engineered Toyotas and Suzukis is unknown, though the fact that the least expensive new Toyota right now kicks off from $22,130 before on-road costs (Yaris Ascent Sport manual) means a cheaper, sub-$20,000 Suzuki-based runabout should not be discounted.