New Suzuki Swift takes on Fiesta

New Suzuki Swift takes on Fiesta
New Suzuki Swift takes on Fiesta

Roomier and more practical Swift goes on UK sale in summer

Suzuki’s new and bigger Swift has debuted at the Geneva motor show ahead of a summer launch in the UK, Suzuki’s biggest single market in Europe.

Targeting the new Ford Fiesta, which is also due to go on sale in summer, the third-generation Swift will be built on the larger Baleno platform. The new car is actually slightly shorter than the old one, but extra length in the wheelbase boosts cabin space by 25 per cent and boot space by around the same percentage to a new figure of 254 litres.

Key to the new car’s ambition of a 40 per cent UK sales increase is the extended use of ultra-high-strength steels. This will deliver a major weight saving, with entry-level 1.2-litre models coming in under 900kg, a remarkable 120kg reduction on previous models.

That should have an impact on handling as well as fuel efficiency. Suzuki chief engineer Masao Kobori confirmed that the Swift’s chassis performance has been benchmarked against the class-leading Ford Fiesta on roads in Spain, Germany and – crucially – the UK. “We have expended every possible effort, in every area, to save weight,” said Kobori. “We have wider axle tracks, a lower driver’s hip point and a lower centre of gravity.

“We believe we have matched the Fiesta’s handling, but the Swift does not have the same handling feel as the Ford because it is a much lighter car.”

The new Swift will only be available as a five-door in three SZ3, SZ-T and SZ5 trim levels, with ‘hidden’ rear door handles ahead of the C-pillars. There will be five-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions, along with two petrol engines and one petrol-hybrid – but no diesel.

The base SZ3 car has a Dualjet 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine generating 89bhp, 65.7mpg and a CO2 emissions figure of 98g/km. The spec includes six airbags, aircon, a leather steering wheel, DAB radio with Bluetooth and 15-inch alloy wheels.

Moving up to SZ-T models adds the option of a 109bhp Boosterjet 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol with 104g/km CO2 emissions and a combined fuel economy of 61.1mpg. Trim additions here are seven-inch touchscreen with Mirrorlink, Apple Carplay and Android Auto, a rear view camera, 16-inch alloys and fog lamps.

The range-topping SZ5 can be ordered with mild-hybrid powertrain featuring the Boosterjet engine and an integrated starter motor harvesting power through regenerative braking and cutting CO2 emissions to 97g/km. It’s a small system that adds just 6.2kg to the overall weight. If you pick the 1.2-litre engine you can add Suzuki’s Allgrip all-wheel drive system.

Instead of conventional dials the SZ5 uses a 4.2-inch LCD display. Its driver assist package includes a camera/laser sensor forward detection system that can instigate optimal-pressure autonomous braking. The same tech adds lane departure warning and high beam assist, with the option of adaptive cruise control via an extra radar device.

Price information hasn’t been released yet, but the expectation is for a small increase on the current model’s starting price of £8,999 when the car goes on sale on 1 June.

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