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In-depth reviews

Suzuki Swift review – an affordable mild-hybrid supermini

The Suzuki Swift offers affordable mild-hybrid motoring, and lots of equipment for the price

Carbuyer Rating

3.9 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Pros

  • Very economical
  • Cheap and great value
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Small boot
  • Cheap interior plastics
  • Noisy engine when accelerating

Verdict – is the Suzuki Swift a good car?

The latest Suzuki Swift hasn’t changed dramatically compared with the outgoing model, but neither has its price. It offers even better fuel economy thanks to mild-hybrid tech, an improved – if already outdated – infotainment system, lots of equipment as standard and our drive of it in France showed it to be fairly comfortable, too. The boot isn’t particularly big, though, and cheap interior plastics make it feel very budget-focused. However, a lot can be forgiven considering how much you get for your money.

Suzuki Swift models, specs and alternatives

Suzuki is known for producing small, affordable cars, and the Suzuki Swift is one of its longest-standing models. The Swift is a supermini which prioritises low running costs and a cheap list price – both attributes that matter to small-car buyers – but it’s never really managed to become a mainstream model in the UK, in the way the Renault Clio or Vauxhall Corsa has. Suzuki has sought to make the Swift even more economical and appealing this time around, and will hope this is sufficient to sway buyers in the ever-shrinking supermini market.

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The Swift’s exterior doesn’t stray too far from the previous generation’s formula – it now features smaller headlights and tail-lights that get a smoky finish, with Suzuki trying to create a slightly cuter face. The jury’s out on whether it channels as much charm as a MINI, though. There’s also a new clamshell bonnet with a seam that comes lower that’s reminiscent of a Fiat 500, and the previous model’s door handles, which were hidden in the rearmost pillar, have been swapped for more conventional items on the doors themselves.

As with the last car, the current Suzuki Swift comes with a mild-hybrid system fitted as standard, but while the combustion engine is the same size as before at 1.2 litres, it’s now a three-cylinder, rather than a four-cylinder. That’s enabled Suzuki to make the Swift even more economical. Although the 82bhp power figure is unchanged, there’s improved grunt lower down in the rev range.

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In terms of trims, the Suzuki Swift is offered in entry-level Motion – which the company reckons will prove more popular in the UK – and higher-spec Ultra. This is probably a decent call, as Ultra doesn’t seem to offer much more in the way of equipment, and yet costs around £1,100 extra. Overall, though, the Swift looks like something of a bargain, with Motion models starting from £18,699 at the time of writing – that’s nearly £1,000 less than an entry-level Vauxhall Corsa, and features that mild-hybrid tech, as well as LED headlights, keyless entry and start, wireless smartphone connectivity, a reversing camera and heated front seats.

Trim levels

Power options

  • Motion
  • Ultra
  • 1.2-litre mild-hybrid three-cylinder (82bhp)

Suzuki Swift alternatives

The Suzuki Swift goes up against some established names in the supermini segment, such as the Vauxhall Corsa and Volkswagen Polo, although it’s a shrinking market, as reflected by the discontinuation of the iconic Ford Fiesta. There are also left-field rivals such as the Hyundai i20, the budget-focused Dacia Sandero, and for lower running costs, full-hybrid options including the Toyota Yaris, its closely-related cousin the Mazda2 Hybrid, the Renault Clio E-Tech and the upcoming MG3.

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Should you buy a Suzuki Swift?

The Suzuki Swift really ought to be on any supermini buyer’s radar thanks to its great value for money, and it’s a shame it’s never really managed to become a household name. It costs less than key rivals and its mild-hybrid tech is impressive at this price point, with official fuel economy mpg figures in the mid-60s.

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The Swift comes with a surprisingly high level of kit as standard, including wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which will be a key attraction for many buyers. It must be acknowledged, though, that the Swift has sometimes suffered from lacklustre quality inside, and while the previous model was no exception, there were some highlights such as its large, stylish speedo which looked like something you’d find in an Alfa Romeo. 

This time, though, that’s been swapped out in favour of a simpler instrument panel, and there’s still a lack of soft-touch materials in comparison to rivals. If a premium feel is what you’re after, the Swift is not the car for you. On the plus side, the latest Swift feels much more civilised when you’re on the move, as Suzuki has reduced the amount of intrusive road noise, and the ride feels fairly comfortable, too.

Although the 82bhp engine isn’t particularly powerful, the Swift never feels as slow as its 12.5-second 0-62mph time would suggest, but there are definitely more refined rivals out there – the engine can sound a bit gruff under harsh acceleration. The gearbox is a little vague, too, so don’t expect the Swift to be the last word in driving engagement..

The Suzuki Swift is by no means the perfect supermini, but at such a refreshingly affordable price, it’s definitely worth consideration – especially since it should be cheap to run and is by no means spartan in terms of kit.

What is the Carbuyer pick of the Suzuki Swift range?

The Suzuki Swift is fairly well equipped as standard in Motion trim, and there’s just the one 82bhp mild-hybrid engine option, so we’d stick with this combination. The Ultra trim level is more expensive but doesn’t really have a lot to show for it aside from different alloy wheels, automatic air-con, folding door mirrors and rear-cabin heater vents.

How we tested the Suzuki Swift

We drove a left-hand-drive version of the latest Suzuki Swift in Bordeaux, France

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Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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