A Modern Marvel with an Old-School Soul

The all-new 2024 Suzuki Swift is a rarity in the new car market. It’s compact, it’s not electric, it’s relatively affordable and it is offered with three pedals, a manual gearshift and a mechanical ratchet handbrake!

And yet at the same time, it is thoroughly modern with a mild-hybrid efficient drivetrain, adaptive cruise control and all the expected ADAS driver assistance systems today’s drivers expect.

Is it the best of both worlds (old and new)? Suzuki thinks so, and the company is also betting on it big time, setting its sights on what appears to be an opening gap in the market, as traditional city car stalwarts like the best-selling Ford Fiesta have ended production.

Most car makers are peddling larger SUVs and electric vehicles – Suzuki still doesn’t have any EV offering (it’s coming next year).

Celebrating 40 years of the Swift, Suzuki hopes to boost its sales by 30% and elevate the Swift to the top ten in its segment, a significant leap from its previous 15th position.

At first glance, the new Swift retains its familiar looks, making it instantly recognisable to long-time fans. The floating roofline, silhouette and size are retained, but the clamshell bonnet is new, appearing to push the front grille lower and giving the Suzuki badge a more prominent position.

Notably, the rear door handles, previously located in the C-pillar, have been moved to a conventional spot on the door, addressing previous user feedback. Aerodynamic enhancements include a roof spoiler and side air vents, promising better airflow and efficiency.

Under the bonnet is a new Suzuki-developed 1.2-litre 3-cylinder mild 12-volt hybrid engine. You get 82bhp and 112Nm of torque. Buyers can choose between a five-speed manual transmission and a CVT automatic. There’s even an ALLGRIP all-wheel-drive variant available at the top of the range.

Despite its modest power, the Swift manages a 0-62mph time of 12.5 seconds for the manual and 11.9 seconds for the CVT, reaching a top speed of just over 100mph. Fuel efficiency is a key selling point, with Suzuki claiming it can achieve 1,000 miles on approximately £99 worth of fuel, thanks to a 7% improvement in fuel economy. Combined fuel consumption of 64.2mpg is claimed.

Two trim levels are offered: Motion and Ultra. And both are extremely well-equipped. The Motion trim, expected to be the most popular, includes a plethora of standard features such as LED lights, adaptive cruise control, navigation, a rearview camera, heated front seats, traffic sign recognition, and a blind-spot monitor. The Ultra trim adds a few extra luxuries like climate control, but the entry model is a pretty compelling choice for budget-conscious buyers.

In terms of practicality, the Swift offers 265 litres of boot space, expandable to 589 litres with the rear seats folded down. The rear seating space is adequate for average-sized adults, though taller passengers might find it a bit cramped, especially on longer journeys.

Up front, however, there’s plenty of room, even for taller drivers. The redesigned interior features a larger 9-inch touchscreen angled towards the driver, emphasising a driver-centric approach. The cabin boasts a mix of modern technology and old-school charm, with physical buttons and toggle switches complementing the digital displays.

On the road, the new Swift delivers a driving experience that is both familiar and refreshing. The engine produces a surprisingly throaty and aggressive note, adding to the fun factor. The gear changes are light and precise, and the clutch is equally forgiving, making it an easy car to drive in urban settings. The Swift feels responsive and agile, thanks in part to its small size and lightweight construction.

The steering, while electronically assisted, provides decent feedback and responsiveness, enhancing the overall driving experience. Performance figures might suggest a leisurely pace, but in real-world driving, the Swift feels lively and capable. It excels in city driving scenarios, where its compact dimensions and nippy handling come to the fore. However, it also holds its own on winding country roads, where its balance and poise can be fully appreciated.

The ride quality is another highlight. While the Swift communicates the road surface well, it manages to remain comfortable and composed, even on rougher patches. The suspension is well-judged, offering a good compromise between comfort and control.

Visibility from the driver’s seat is excellent, with large windows and thin pillars offering a clear view of the surroundings. The rear window, in particular, has a nostalgic feel, reminiscent of older car designs.

The very likeable new Suzuki Swift is a compelling package. It strikes a perfect balance between modern technology and traditional driving enjoyment.