Car Reviews

2017 Suzuki Swift Review

Alex Rae’s 2017 Suzuki Swift Review with pricing, specs, infotainment, performance, ride, handling, safety, verdict and score. 

In a nutshell: The Suzuki Swift might be this year’s best value car in its segment.

2017 Suzuki Swift

Price From $15,990+ORC Warranty three-years, 100,000 kilometres Safety N/A Engine 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol, 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol Power 66kW, 82kW  Torque 120Nm, 160Nm Transmission six-speed manual, CVT, six-speed automatic Drive front-wheel drive Dimensions 3840mm (L); 1735mm (W- including mirrors); 1495mm(H); Weight 870kg Spare space-saver Fuel Tank 37 litres Thirst 4.6L-5.1/100km (combined)

OVER 132,000 SUZUKI SWIFTS have sold in Australia but run-out sales of the current second-generation have begun to slow. So, it is with perfect timing, that Suzuki Australia has launched its new third generation Swift and bolsters its line-up of value oriented cars with yet another refreshed model.

The Swift has always been one of Suzuki better selling and most recognisable cars, and it doesn’t seem like things are going to change.

What is it?

For frugal buyers and newly minted P-plate holders, the Swift has always been a go-to car. It’s hard to put why this is into just one word, but Suzuki Swift chief engineer, Masao Kobori reckons he can: “Swift-ism”, he tells us.

Swift-ism is apparently the blend of wrap around windows, distinctive vertical headlamps, a high nose and bold fender lines. Indeed, while this latest generation Swift is smoother and perhaps less sharp in design than before, it looks every bit familiar as a Swift as the previous two generations.

There’s some further enhancements to the latest model too, such as claims of a more driver-centric cockpit, smaller dimensions overall (but longer wheelbase for improved interior comfort) and it’s now even lighter, thanks to the all-new heartech platform.

Overall, the new Swift loses 10mm in length and is 15mm shorter, but gains 40mm width. This improves interior space (along with the 20mm longer wheelbase), and the front seats have been moved 10mm further apart.

Along with visual and structural changes, is better packaging in the upper two models. But don’t expect any premium features like leather seats and a well kitted interior – although a reasonably comprehensive safety kit and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto infotainment is available.

Suzuki Swift Range

The Swift is available in four models, starting with GL manual (the only manual model) through to top spec GLX Turbo. All but the GLX Turbo share the same engine.

GL manual

Price (+ORCs) – $15,990

Engine – 1.2-litre four-cylinder producing 66kW/120Nm

Transmission – 5-speed manual

Economy – 4.6L/100km

Features – CD Radio (No Apple CarPlay/Android Auto), cruise control, power windows, 15-inch steel wheels, split-fold rear seat and halogen headlamps.

GL Navigator

Price (+ORCs) – $17,990

Transmission – CVT

Economy – 4.8L/100km

Features (over GL manual) – 7-inch infotainment with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and DAB, reverse camera, 16-inch alloys and fog lights.

GL Navigator safety pack

Price (+ORCs) – $18,990

Features (over GL Navigator) – adaptive cruise control, autonomous electronic braking (AEB), lane departure warning and weaving alert.

GLX Turbo

Price (+ORCs) – $22,990

Engine – 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo producing 82kW/160Nm

Transmission – 6-speed automatic

Economy – 5.1L/100km

Features (over GL Navigator safety pack) – LED headlamps w/ black bezels, LED rear lights, different fog lamps, 16-inch polished alloys and high beam assist.

Suzuki Australia admits the entry model manual is probably going to be the least popular, and given the GL Navigator adds alloys, infotainment with reverse camera and an automatic transmission for little more, there’s not going to be many who wouldn’t pony-up for the auto version.

However it is the GL Navigator that offers the best safety for value in its class. It’s the first car in Australia to offer adaptive cruise control as standard at under $20,000, along with its other safety features such as AEB.

The hike to the GLX Turbo is largest price gap in the range, and the most discerning difference between the GLX Turbo and the rest is its better engine. But it’s not to say the 1.2-litre doesn’t offer a good drive, which we’ll cover later on.

What’s the interior like?

It’s roomier than before, and inside there’s 23mm more headspace, 23mm more lateral room (side-to-side) and 10mm extra space between the front occupant (however there’s no arm rest in the middle). The extra space is minor compared to the older model but the interior does offer a reasonably generous amount of room for tall adults.

GLX Turbo

Two adults will fit across the back seat, but three is pushing it. The longer wheelbase improves rear legroom but knees will still push into the back of the front seats for people with long legs.

The seats themselves offer fabric material with soft support and there’s no difference in most interior materials from the base-spec to the top-spec GLX Turbo. The front seats have been updated and offer more side bolstering now and the shoulder point has been raised. Overall, the Swift interior was comfortable for an hour-long drive on varying roads.

GL Manual

For the driver, the cockpit is tilted 5 degrees to offer a driver-focussed experience, which is hard to notice. The seat doesn’t drop very low either, so, for tall driver’s the hip-point may feel too high despite some tilt-and-reach adjustment.

Up front, the interior in the base GL manual is a bit of a let down compared to the other three models and it omits gear that is almost a given in modern cars now, such as an infotainment screen. Without it, the front looks sparse, so it’s worth getting into the GL Navigator model for the little extra dollars.

The Navigator model and up receive an infotainment system that is used across most Suzuki models now and it works well, albeit simple. The addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto provides familiar apps from mobile devices such as navigation and streaming music, making the infotainment experience in the Swift more enjoyable.

In the very back, Suzuki has managed to open up the boot space a little by increasing its depth by 50mm. The capacity has now increased to 242 litres, 32 litres more than before, and offers a much more usable space than before.

What’s it like on the road

Our drive loop for the Suzuki Swift launch consisted of a drive along twisting roads and highway cruising. For this short launch we were only able to test the base model GL manual and top-spec GLX Turbo.

The GL manual is powered 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and produces a modest 66kW and 120Nm of power, but it doesn;t have to work too hard to move along at normal speed thanks to the Swift’s light kerb  weight of just 870kg. The manual gearbox is tight too and shifts smoothly.

When pushed harder though, the 1.2-litre engine felt breathless and lethargic when compared to the three-cylinder GLX Turbo which provides better throttle response and torque higher in the rev range. The three-pot provides some character too, but it’s somewhat dulled by the six-speed automatic transmission, and the option of a manual transmission could provide a well priced warm Swift below the Sport model, which will arrive here later.

Compared to the GLX Turbo, and presumable the other two GL models that also ride on 16-inch alloy wheels, the GL manual provides a slightly more supple and quieter ride on all surfaces thanks to its thicker rubber. It doesn’t sacrifice much grip for it either, and feels composed when pushed through corners.

NVH in the GLX Turbo is still good, however, there was some wind noise around the side window rubber seals and on coarse chip roads it picked up some extra noise from the tyres – not unusual at this price point and in its segment.

The adaptive cruise control works well and held a steady speed and distance to traffic during our drive. Unlike some other implementations, the Swift didn’t show more than 3km/h of cruise control creep when travelling downhill.

Safety Features

Suzuki Australia has provided a Swift to ANCAP for testing in August this year and fully expects it to score five stars thanks to a bevvy safety technology on some of its models.

The GL Navigator Safety Pack and GLX Turbo receive adaptive cruise control, autonomous electronic braking (AEB), lane departure warning and weaving alert. The GLX Turbo adds auto high beam assist. The GL manual and GL Navigator miss out on any of the safety options, and while not technically an option on the GL Navigator, the GL Navigator Safety Pack model is the base model with added safety.

Conclusion

The Suzuki Swift remains well packaged in its segment and the standard of safety offered for under $20,000 elevate it as one of the better options for worried parents. And if previous Swift examples are anything to go by, this current model should prove just as reliable. If you don’t mind missing out the GLX Turbo’s characterful engine, the GL Navigator Safety Pack is the value sweet spot.

Editor's Rating

What's the interior like?
What's the infotainment system like?
What's it like on the road?
What about safety features?
Practical Motoring says: Suzuki has a solid seller on its hands that provides great value at under $20,000 for the GL Navigator Safety Pack. Below it, the GL manual lacks value and gear - and seems a little pointless - although the entire range provides a sound driving experience. The GLX Turbo offers the most personality but a manual option would provide a more competitive edge.

  • John John

    GLX turbo for me thanks, though I would have preferred a manual transmission.

    I know these have a space-saver spare, but I wonder if a fullsize spare will fit (anybody know?). If this had a fullsize spare it would be the prefect car for me (I just love quick, nimble small cars).

Alex Rae

Alex Rae

Alex Rae grew up among some of the great stages of Targa Tasmania, an event that sparked his passion for all things mechanical. Currently living across Bass Strait in Melbourne, Alex has worked for the last decade in the automotive world as both a photographer and journalist, and is now a freelancer for various publications. When not driving for work Alex can be found tinkering in the shed on of one his project Zeds or planning his next gravel rally car.