In-depth reviews

Suzuki Swift hatchback - Engines, drive & performance

The Suzuki Swift has always been fun to drive – but so are some rivals

Carbuyer Rating

3.6 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.3 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.5 out of 5

One thing has always been true of the Suzuki Swift – its diminutive size and light weight makes it a responsive, agile car that begs to be driven enthusiastically. The bad news for Suzuki, though, is that many of its rivals can claim the same thing.

The Swift has nicely weighted steering that never feels inconsistent, so you can confidently point the car wherever you want to go. It tracks through corners accurately, with barely a trace of body lean, which is very rewarding if you’re in the mood for ‘scruff-of-the-neck’ driving. Unfortunately, though, the firm springs and rather basic rear suspension design can often lead to an unsettled ride on rough roads.

Many rivals are far more adept at soaking up bumps than the Swift, without compromising their entertaining nature.

Still, if fun is all you want from your supermini, the Suzuki scores well. Its five-speed gearbox has a pleasingly quick, short movement from gear to gear, making it more enjoyable than the automatic transmission.

Suzuki offers its ALLGRIP four-wheel-drive system but this is unlikely to be necessary for most buyers. The Swift doesn’t have enough ground clearance to venture far off-road, so the system is more about providing extra grip on slippery surfaces. If you live in a rural area you might notice a small benefit, while the impact on fuel consumption isn’t too bad.

Suzuki Swift petrol engines

Suzuki has pared down the engine range as part of the 2020 facelift, and now all cars are equipped with a 1.2-litre petrol engine producing just 82bhp. Suzuki’s SHVS ‘mild-hybrid’ system is fitted as standard, which stores energy created when you brake to lessen the effort made by the electrical system when you accelerate. In theory, it should have little effect on how the car feels to drive.

In keeping only the entry-level engine, the Swift doesn’t quite live up to its name. Accelerating from a standstill to 62mph takes 13.1 seconds, which feels nippy around town but it’ll be outgunned by most rivals. Picking the CVT automatic gearbox does make progress quicker by almost a second, while speccing the ALLGRIP four-wheel drive system increases the time to 13.8 seconds.

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