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Suzuki Swift GL Navigator 2017 review

EXPERT RATING
7
The Suzuki Swift GL Navigator straddles the divide between cheap and cheerful and out-and-out expensive, adding must-have stuff without breaking the bank. And it might be the best of the Swift bunch.

The undeniable selling point of cheap city cars is that they're exactly that; cheap. Runabouts, perfect first cars - call them what you will, they all have that same, important thing in common. And that is that they're light on the bank account.

What they're also light on, though, is creature comforts. And unless you're shopping for your very first car, a set of steel wheels, an old-school entertainment system and a cabin that feels like it has been forged from the same plastic they use to make cheap pens just doesn't cut it.

Enter, then, the new Suzuki Swift GL Navigator, which builds on the entry-level GL by adding some must-have features for not much more money.

And as such, it might just be the most sense-making model in the Swift family.

Suzuki Swift 2017: GL Navigator
Safety rating
Engine Type1.4L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency5.5L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$12,590

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   7/10

While the cheapest Swift, the GL, will set you back $16,990 with a manual gearbox, an extra grand will see you upgrading to the GL Navigator ($17,990), which arrives with an automatic transmission to boot. Those prices are drive away, too, but it's worth double-checking that offer is still in place when you're actually shopping for a car.

Outside, your hard-earned will buy you proper 16-inch alloy wheels. Outside, your hard-earned will buy you proper 16-inch alloy wheels.

Outside, your hard-earned will buy you proper 16-inch alloy wheels, daytime running lights and standard fog lights. Step inside and you'll find a 7.0-inch touchscreen that's Apple CarPlay/Android Auto-equipped (and very simple to use), standard satellite navigation and cruise control.

Your seats are fabric, though you do get a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Is there anything interesting about its design?   7/10

The outgoing Swift was one of the most enduring designs on Australian roads, and there must have been huge temptation to simply leave well enough alone. But this 2017 model is definitely different. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen.

The new car eschews some of the old model's boxiness for a more curved and cutesy design, beginning with a smoother grille and bonnet and ending with that familiar drop-off rear end, a near-vertical descent where the roofline ends. Hidden rear door handles, a tiny rear lip spoiler and some clever uses of black on the body all add a sense of style to the little Swift.

  • The new car eschews some of the old model’s boxiness for a more curved and cutesy design. The new car eschews some of the old model’s boxiness for a more curved and cutesy design.
  • A tiny rear lip spoiler and some clever uses of black on the body all add a sense of style to the little Swift. A tiny rear lip spoiler and some clever uses of black on the body all add a sense of style to the little Swift.

Inside, you'll find a kind of flat-bottomed wheel, but the highlight in the cabin is the black-framed touchscreen with integrated buttons, which gives the dash a modern feel.

Up front, it's a dizzying sea of hard plastics, though the coloured strips running across the doors and dash break up the monotony a little.

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

While the 3840mm long, 1735mm wide and 1495mm high Swift is slightly smaller than some of its competitors, interior space is actually very good.

There's plenty of space between front seat riders, who also share two cupholders, a central storage bin, a USB input and a power outlet.

  • There’s plenty of space between front seat riders. There’s plenty of space between front seat riders.
  • The 242 litres of boot space will grow to a good 947 litres with the 60/40 split rear seats folded flat. The 242 litres of boot space will grow to a good 947 litres with the 60/40 split rear seats folded flat.

Back-seaters are spoiled for space - there's a surprising amount of head and legroom - but that's about it. Passengers share a single cupholder and one bottle-shaped pocket in each rear door, both of which are framed top to bottom in the kind of hard plastic you could use to engrave glass.

The 242 litres of boot space (30 more than the old model) will grow to a good 947 litres with the 60/40 split rear seats folded flat (but with no levers in the boot, it'll mean lowering them one at a time via the rear doors).

There are two ISOFIX attachment points in the back, and a space-saver spare tucked away in the boot.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

The GL Navigator shares its 1.2-litre petrol engine with the entry-level GL, but it provides ample punch to get the little Suzuki moving.

The most expensive Swift gets 82kW, but the GL Navigator has to make do with 66kW. The most expensive Swift gets 82kW, but the GL Navigator has to make do with 66kW.

That engine will produce 66kW at 6000rpm and 120kW at 4400rpm, feeding it through a CVT automatic to the front wheels.

How much fuel does it consume?   8/10

Official fuel use is pegged at a very good 4.8L/100km on the combined (urban, extra-urban) cycle, with emissions pegged at 110g/km.

The Swift GL Navigator arrives with a 37-litre fuel tank.

What's it like to drive?   7/10

Swifts of old were praised for their cheep-and-cheerful fun, and we're pleased to report that, while the cheap bit doesn't entirely apply here, the cheerful part is there in spades.

When you put it in the context of the price tag, there's a lot to like about this little Swift. When you put it in the context of the price tag, there's a lot to like about this little Swift.

The steering is light (and can be a touch unpredictable, feeling like it's turning into corners in two stages when tackling more adventurous roads), while the fixed suspension tune is firm enough to give the little Swift a connection to the road below that's sometimes forgotten in this segment. The trade off, however, is that it can jar over harsh bumps, but it's a sacrifice we're willing to make.

The semi-flat-bottomed wheel feels great under touch, and the controls - including the multimedia - are all intuitive and easy to understand.

The 242 litres of boot space will grow to a good 947 litres with the 60/40 split rear seats folded flat. The 242 litres of boot space will grow to a good 947 litres with the 60/40 split rear seats folded flat.

Like lots of small-engined cars, the cabin ambience is directly related to how heavy your right foot is, with more acceleration equal to more noise In the cabin. But the Swift will cruise around at city speeds with quiet ease, thanks to a CVT gearbox that's surprisingly smooth.

When you put it in the context of the price tag attached to its windscreen, there's a lot to like about this little Swift. It is genuinely a lot of car for not a staggering amount of money.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / 100,000 km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   6/10

While all Swifts arrive with front, front-side and curtain airbags, ABS brakes and ESP stability control, the more expensive models offer a much-improved safety offering.

Sadly, the GL Navigator doesn't qualify for AEB, Lane Departure Warning or adaptive cruise (though they're standard on the GL Navigator Safety Pack for an extra $1000), instead making do with a reversing camera and standard cruise.

The Swift range is yet to be ANCAP crash tested, but was awarded a four-star (out of five) rating when tested by Euro NCAP this year.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   6/10

A fairly underwhelming three-year/100,000km warranty is the norm, compounded by six-month, 10,000km service intervals.

Capped-price servicing limits the cost for the first three dealership visits to $175 a pop, but costs do start to climb from there.

Verdict

The GL Navigator is almost the pick of the Swifts. While the addition of style and technology features for not much more money makes it hard to resist, our money would still be on the optional Safety Pack model, which will add plenty of peace of mind behind the wheel.

Do you think the top-spec Swift is the best city car option? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Pricing Guides

$14,890
Based on 262 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$12,590
Highest Price
$20,495

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
GL 1.4L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $13,888 – 13,990 2017 SUZUKI SWIFT 2017 GL Pricing and Specs
GL (QLD) 1.2L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $10,560 – 14,410 2017 SUZUKI SWIFT 2017 GL (QLD) Pricing and Specs
GL NAVI (QLD) 1.2L, ULP, CVT AUTO $16,990 – 17,990 2017 SUZUKI SWIFT 2017 GL NAVI (QLD) Pricing and Specs
GL Navigator 1.4L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $13,990 – 15,990 2017 SUZUKI SWIFT 2017 GL Navigator Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Price and features7
Design7
Practicality8
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption8
Driving7
Safety6
Ownership6
Andrew Chesterton
Contributing journalist

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