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Expert Review

Suzuki Swift Hatchback (2020 - ) review

The updated Suzuki Swift gets more safety kit, ‘mild hybrid’ tech as standard and fresh looks but loses the fizzy turbocharged 1.0-litre engine option that made it such a hoot to drive

The Auto Trader expert verdict:


Available new from £15,499

The Suzuki Swift is a stylish supermini that’s great fun to drive and comes with loads of equipment. What’s more, it's very affordable to buy. The iffy interior quality means it’s not perfect, but if you can look past that, it’ll be very appealing indeed. An update for the 2021 model year includes ’mild hybrid’ engines across the board, updated looks and increased standard safety tech but loses the perky turbocharged 1.0-litre engine option we liked so much in the process, leaving it one to look out for if you’re buying used. Click here for our Expert Review of the Swift Sport.

Reasons to buy:

  • tickGood fun to drive
  • tickCracking turbocharged engine
  • tickShould be affordable to buy and run

At a glance:

Running costs for a Suzuki Swift

Suzuki’s position as an affordable brand has taken a slight knock of late as its prices have crept up, denting its value proposition. The Swift is still considerably cheaper than a Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 208 or similar and its starting price is more or less on level pegging with the Nissan Micra. But the likes of the Hyundai i10 and Toyota Aygo from the segment below are a chunk less, so there are cheaper small cars out there if you’re buying on a budget. In a recent update Suzuki has introduced ’mild hybrid’ technology as standard on all models. While this doesn’t mean the Swift can operate on purely electric power like ‘full’ or plug-in hybrids it does give the 1.2-litre engine a little helping hand and helps save fuel by increasing the scope of the start-stop system. The Swift is also available with a ‘CVT’ style automatic gearbox and even the option of Suzuki’s Allgrip branded all-wheel drive system should you need it. For running costs the two-wheel drive manual versions are the best, though, with the lowest CO2 and best fuel consumption.
Expert rating: 4/5

Reliability of a Suzuki Swift

As a brand, Suzuki sits very near the top of manufacturer rankings in respected reliability surveys. The three-year/60,000-mile warranty you get as standard is about par for the course, even if it’s nothing special.
Expert rating: 4/5

Safety for a Suzuki Swift

Safety tech is one area Suzuki has improved in the 2021 model year updates, though at the time of writing pre-facelift models are still available so make sure you know which one you’re buying. Alongside the usual airbags and two Isofix childseat mounts all Swifts now feature radar-controlled emergency braking and adaptive cruise control, which is impressive for a small car. All but the base spec get a more sophisticated emergency braking system, lane departure warning alert (and steering intervention if you don’t respond), blind spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert to warn you of passing cars when backing out of a parking space and a ‘weaving alert’ if it thinks you’re nodding off. LED headlights are now standard on all versions, too.
Expert rating: 4/5

How comfortable is the Suzuki Swift

Swifts have always over-delivered on the fun factor and this current one is no exception. It skips about a bit if you really chuck it around but that’s all part of the character, it still feels totally under control and is more forgiving in ride comfort terms than previous versions. It’s a fraction quieter than it was, too, with better suppression of wind- and road-noise, but it could still do with being a good deal more hushed on both counts. Expectations should be realistic in terms of interior space, Suzuki tweaking the seats to free up a fraction more space between the front ones so you’re less likely to find yourself rubbing shoulders with your passenger. All-round visibility isn’t bad either, but it’s a little disappointing reach adjustment for the steering wheel is only standard on top-spec models. The rear seats have enough head- and knee-room for a pair of six-foot-plus passengers to sit comfortably, the wide middle seat and low transmission tunnel meaning a third can squeeze in for shorter hops. The boot is considerably bigger than in the old Swift but, in truth, it’s still a little small by class standards. There’s a hefty lip to muscle heavy items over, too, and when you drop the rear seats, they don’t sit flat and a big step is left in the load floor.
Expert rating: 3/5

Features of the Suzuki Swift

In its usual style Suzuki offers three easy to understand trim levels, with even the entry one getting a decent range of kit. This includes aforementioned emergency braking and active cruise control, air conditioning, DAB radio and 7.0-inch touchscreen with support for your smartphone via Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or Mirrorlink so you can use your apps safely on the move. The top spec gets navigation built-in but you can get it as a cost upgrade option on plug-in SD card on the other versions. The CVT automatic gearbox is only on the upper two trim levels while the Allgrip all-wheel drive is reserved for the top spec only. You probably won’t be expecting the Swift’s cabin to be the poshest in the class, but even so, the interior quality is pretty underwhelming. The assembly feels very solid, though, and the switches and dials work with a precise action. The touch-screen infotainment system that is standard on the top two trims is reasonably easy to get to grips with, too.
Expert rating: 4/5

Power for a Suzuki Swift

Unfortunately for Suzuki it’s had to slash its fleet average CO2 figures, and that means it’s had to drop the fizzy little 1.0-litre engine we loved so much in the pre-facelift car. The only option now (the Swift Sport stands apart) is the 1.2-litre petrol and, even with the addition of the mild hybrid system, it’s lost a little oomph and now puts out a modest 83 horsepower. We tried it in the pre-facelift car paired with all-wheel drive and, although it’s willing enough, it’s nowhere near as perky as the 1.0-litre. It’s a little bit more raucous, too, primarily because you have to work it that much harder to get going at a decent rate, making it all the more of a pity the little engine has been dropped. There is some good news if you prefer an automatic transmission, the new CVT style gearbox nearly a second quicker 0-62mph than the five-speed manual. It’s a little worse on fuel and CO2, though. The extra weight of the all-wheel drive system means this is the slowest of the bunch, though the extra traction may prove useful for those living out in the wilds where the weather can get a bit serious. It’s probably unnecessary for the city streets most Swifts will drive on, though. Click here for our Expert Review of the Swift Sport.
Expert rating: 2/5

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