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Suzuki Swift 2010 review

Slightly, bigger, but slightly more economical. Mildly evolved, but essentially the same. It won’t be the cheapest in the small car class, it’s unlikely to be the dearest.

And there, in essence you have the new version of Suzuki’s best seller, the Swift, due our way in February, as tested by Carsguide this week at Ryuyo proving grounds in Japan.


Much depends on February’s launch price. Given our dollar continues to punch above its weight, there’s little reason to expect a marked increase on the $16K starting price of the outgoing range. If it is, well …

Is the newcomer worth the wait? On the whole, yes.

The GL comes with 15-inch steel wheels, rather than the GLi’s 16-inch alloys. Both have i-Pod connectivity, but the latter’s interior finish and exterior touches are a class above, the GLi replete with fully adjustable steering wheel, keyless ignition and start/stop button.

No plans for an S model yet, at least none Suzuki will comment on while the current model is out there.


Again a question of incremental improvement. Suzuki emulates the trend to engine downsizing, but with none of your fancy German turbo charging or direct injection.

The new 1.4-litre four cylinder petrol unit loses 100cc in the current model. At 70kW and 130Nm it’s also down on power and torque – and it’s asked to move a bigger, heavier (due to increased standard safety gear) car.

Yet it does so with evident ease while returning better fuel economy and emission figures. That’s down to fiddling with the throttle and transmissions.

These, the standard five speed manual and optional four speed automatic, each remain a cog short of contemporary and, in the slusher’s case, three off the cutting edge.

Another carry over is the suspension set up, Macpherson struts up front, old style torsion beam aft.


Stop me if this is becoming a familiar theme, but it’s immediately obvious this is a Swift, only a bit bigger. This model is much more striking though, not least for its pert, Renault inspired rear end.

Within the GL’s a bit grim, though again a step forward. The GLi lifts the game. That said Korea has caught up with, even surpassed, the hard black plastics that define both cars – another reason why Suzuki would do well to contain any price rise.

In the metal, the Swift is, in its way, more impressive than the well-received Kizashi. While that was a surprising and welcome departure, the Swift is in a sense more impressive because its context is more rigidly defined. It looks pretty cool.


Matching the seven airbags of Volkswagen’s Carsguide Car of the Year Polo, Swift emulates its five star crash safety rating in European testing.

Also standard on GL and GLi is electronic stability program, anti-lock brakes bolstered by brake assist and force distribution. Disappointingly, the GL gets drums at the back; the GLi has discs fore and aft.


A car developed partly at Suzuki’s own proving ground is hardly likely to disgrace itself here. Even at speeds impossible elsewhere except perhaps Germany, the Swift is a stable, refined and dynamically adept performer; all of which bodes well for the real world where the wind noise level will be acceptable.

The auto can’t keep up with the manual, but is some way more than adequate. You won’t lose much by taking the lazy option other than a few thou in the asking price and less than a litre more juice every 100km.

Steering which initially feel too light, is accurate and direct; the little car turns in and holds speed through bends in a way that will at least give Ford’s Fiesta – the best handler in this class – something to think about without keeping it awake at night.


A good thing made that bit better.

Pricing guides

Based on 110 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

(base) 1.5L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $3,600 – 5,830 2010 Suzuki Swift 2010 (base) Pricing and Specs
Beat 1.5L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $2,900 – 5,060 2010 Suzuki Swift 2010 Beat Pricing and Specs
Extreme 1.5L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $3,500 – 5,720 2010 Suzuki Swift 2010 Extreme Pricing and Specs
LE 1.5L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $3,500 – 5,720 2010 Suzuki Swift 2010 LE Pricing and Specs