Driven - Jun 2021

Set for success? Living with the new Suzuki Swift

The Suzuki Swift is back! Did it ever leave though? Technically speaking, the refreshed Suzuki Swift is almost identical to its pre-facelift sibling, but there are some changes and improvements from the old model that modernise it to compete with the current generation of compact hatches. We spent some time with the 2021 model to understand the liveability of these changes and see if they significantly improve the day-to-day use of the frugal city slicker. 

If you would like to read more about our day at its launch in April click here: Swift Launch

Most mid-cycle refreshes are often minor, improving amenities or updating obsolete aspects of the car which help improve or modernise the overall experience. In the fast pace of the technological age, this is crucial in retaining relevance to the consumer which can ultimately enable more sales of the product. While it may not look it, there are a host of changes on the Swift, albeit mostly beneath the surface with an increased list of standard features.

So, what do the GL and GLX derivatives of the Swift include? 

The mid-spec GL includes electrically adjustable mirrors, fog lamps and two tone colour combinations, either paired to a 5-speed MT or AMT. A standard radio with USB, CD and AUX connectivity are available for in car entertainment too. The GL, along with the GA is fitted with 14” steel rims with a full wheel cover. 

The top of the range GLX model, which we had on test, has a fair bit more kit but expectedly costs quite a bit more as a result. It employs the same selection of gearboxes in the GL but now includes 15” dual colour polished rims on all four corners (pictured above). For the extra outlay of cash you also receive keyless entry with a start/stop button, electronically operated folding side mirrors, an infotainment system familiar to the Vitara Brezza and Jimny and automatic climate control replaces normal air conditioning. The suitably sized infotainment screen also utilizes a reverse camera to help navigate in and out of tight spots. 

Both can be had in a selection of new colours, including some 2-tone options. The AMT derivatives on the GL and GLX also include Hill Start Assist while the inclusion of Electronic Stability Program (ESP) increases safety across the lineup (including the entry level GA model). The only aesthetic update to any bodywork in the new range is the inclusion of a chrome strip on the grille while all models employ rear park sensors. 

What about the driving experience stood out the most?

The test car made its way through most of the journalists in our office – all with different driving styles yet all with more spirited use of the accelerator pedal. Regardless, the fuel economy on this peppy compact did not see north of 5.8l/100km. By the end of the test period of which the car travelled over 500km, the rating displayed on the display signalled an impressive 5.5l/100km, which was dominated more by urban driving. What is even more impressive is that Suzuki claims fuel economy as low as 4.9l/100km can be achieved in the MT derivatives which would not come as a surprise after our experience of its prudent performance. 

Speaking of performance, by definition the Swift can be categorized as an econobox with the sole purpose of commuting people around, unlike the purely fun-focused Swift Sport hot hatch. However the Swift has an incredibly low dry weight of 875kg and is paired with a surprisingly responsive motor. 

Although this is the same 1.2-litre engine from before and only delivers a measly 61kW and 113Nm, the low weight makes the most of the output and truly encapsulates the definition of the model name. Its sprite acceleration and capabilities navigating tight low speed corners mean that it is a hoot to drive! 

Is the interior of the GLX suitably kitted out?

The Maruti build quality is questionable for certain details within the interior but the cabin is sensibly laid out and comfortable to be in. The 7” infotainment system on the GLX models includes both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It is our pick of the bunch considering all other derivatives only make use of a standard radio without any navigation system and only 4 speakers as opposed to the 6 found in the GLX. It is a familiar system to other Suzuki models too but the user experience and design are visibly outdated when compared to competing brands. 

Considering the exterior dimensions of the hatch, there is also considerable head and legroom on both rows of seats. While this car is predominantly designed to tackle urban environments it is still in need of cruise control for more extended journeys on highways or open roads. 

The Swift also includes foldable rear seats with a 60/40 split if the meagre 265l boot volume is insufficient. The boot lip is higher than the boot floor so loading heavy equipment or luggage required a bit more expended effort. 

The verdict remains that the Maruti built Suzuki Swift is perhaps one of the most sensible options in the budget segment that has the backing of a reputable brand with a track record to match. The extra tech found in the top of the GLX makes it our choice.

Swift 1.2 GA MT R180 900

Swift 1.2 GL MT R199 900

Swift 1.2 GL AMT R214 900

Swift 1.2 GLX MT R218 900

Swift 1.2 GLX AMT R234 900

The Swift range includes a 5 year/200 000km promotional warranty and a 2 year/30 000km service plan.

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