Suzuki Swift SZ5 ALLGRIP 4WD Hybrid Review
The range topping SZ5 model is available with a very clever 4WD system along with hybrid technology for improved fuel efficiency
- Great to drive and this model has 4WD
- Smart, simplistic interior with lots of kit as standard
- Hybrid technology means impressive fuel efficiency
- Quite noisy at faster speeds
- Our model topped the £18k mark - expensive for a Swift
- Some scratchy hard plastic surfaces
The Suzuki Swift has always been a cracker of a car to drive and the range topping SZ5 model is available with a very clever 4WD system along with hybrid technology for improved fuel efficiency.
The Swift line-up starts from just £12,499 and climbs to £17,249. For anyone looking for a slightly more dynamic version there is of course the Swift Sport.
But whichever model you opt for, one thing is guaranteed - the Swift is a fun-packed car that’s great to drive making it a fabulous vehicle for all the family, young and old. And 80,000 UK owners would agree with that.
On the Road
The five-door Suzuki Swift is available in trim levels called SZ3, SZ-T, a new Attitude grade and range-topping SZ5 with all cars powered by 1.0-litre or 1.2-litre petrol engines. The Swift Sport features a more punchy 1.4-litre powertrain.
Our test car was the highest grade SZ5 but also featured Suzuki’s very own 4WD system called ALLGRIP and mild hybrid system known as Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki or SHVS for short.
The car was powered by a 1.2-litre Dualjet four-cylinder petrol engine delivering 90PS and 120Nm or torque. Not that powerful you might think, but the Swift has a kerb weight of less than a tonne, so the engine has ample gusto, meaning the car can complete the 0-62mph dash in 12.6 seconds, maxing out at 105mph.
And although those figures may not seem particularly rapid, the Swift is a real firecracker of a car and fizzes along with ample power on tap. The five-speed manual gearbox is smooth and responsive and the car feels well balanced.
Being the ALLGRIP model, Suzuki was keen to show off the car’s off-road ability and it certainly impressed. It climbed up muddy banks, ploughed its way through boggy water and was completely controlled descending slippery slopes.
The ALLGRIP system works fully automatically so there’s no pressure on the driver to do anything. Basically, the car has permanent all-wheel-drive which transfers extra torque to the rear wheels when required.
In all honesty, few drivers will be putting their Swift cars through quite such a challenging off-road test as we did, but it is very reassuring to know that come the winter months, the car will be able to cope with harsher weather and more difficult driving conditions.
Back on the Tarmac, the Swift is almost effortless to drive, making it a great choice for motorists of all ages. It is agile, composed and corners well with its light chassis.
Our car was sitting on 16-inch wheels which perfectly suited the vehicle, although the ride can be a little bouncy when driving along uneven surfaces - mainly due to the car’s light weight. But generally, the Swift is a fabulous runaround that’s competitively priced in the supermini sector.
The hybrid system is very compact and lightweight so doesn’t have any impact on the car’s handling. It features an integrated starter generator (ISG) that feeds energy to a small 12V lithium-ion battery situated beneath the front passenger seat. This energy can then be fed back to the drivetrain.
The conventional starter motor is used when the car starts up from cold, but under all other conditions, it uses the ISG unit for smooth and quiet engine restarts. You soon forget the car has a hybrid system at all as it goes about its business very efficiently and helps save fuel when starting up or accelerating. Suzuki was the pioneer of the low-cost efficient 12V system so you would expect it to be good and it is.
The Suzuki Swift is a hugely popular car in the UK and ticks all the right boxes for any young driver looking for their first car, families planning to downsize or more mature drivers wanting a vehicle that’s easy to handle, simple to park, efficient to run and yet big enough to cope when taking the grandchildren out for the day.
It looks sporty and modern in its design with neat curves, black A and B pillars that give a floating roof effect, body-coloured door handles and mirror caps, rear privacy glass, a wide grille, rear upper spoiler, vertically arranged front and rear light clusters and 16-inch alloy wheels. The test car also featured wheel arch extensions and a side skirt set costing £449, plus a side body moulding set priced at £139.
The interior is striking in its layout and the build quality is good despite there being some hard plastic surfaces on show. The cloth seats are neatly designed and offer plenty of support and the car looks clutter-free despite there being lots of kit to explore.
The Swift is designed to cope with all sorts of driving and can effortlessly eat up the motorway miles as well as feature on the school run. You will notice a little more engine and road surface noise at higher speeds, but it’s still a nicely insulated and fairly refined car.
And the suspension system does a good job of ironing out most uneven surfaces, although watch out for bigger potholes because they will send a jolt through your body.
In the car
Getting a comfortable driving position is a simple process with ample seat and steering wheel adjustment and all the controls are well positioned for ease of use.
The centre console is turned five degrees towards the driver to give the car a more driver-orientated feel and the front seats boast heightened side bolsters for extra comfort. The latest generation cars also feature a newly designed steering wheel.
Creature comforts are plentiful and include Smartphone link to connect a phone via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a navigation system, a DAB radio with Bluetooth, four speakers and two tweeters, a rearview camera, full air conditioning with pollen filter, keyless entry and start, cruise control, rear electric windows, USB and AUX connectors, a leather steering wheel and plenty more besides.
The driver has great all-round visibility and with all the controls, dials and readouts easy to use, the Swift is one of the most user-friendly cars on the market.
It’s true that we were driving the range-topper, but even the entry-level cars are well equipped and are just as appealing to drive. It’s a car that’s very competent without being too flashy.
The interior of the new Swift line-up is deceptively spacious with generous amounts of legroom for a car competing in the supermini sector. A couple of adults can sit in the back so long as the front seats are not pushed back too far, but it would be perfectly suited for children on longer journeys.
The boot can accommodate 265 litres of kit - a limit that increases to 579 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. And there are lots of handy storage compartments throughout the car too, including a glovebox, three cupholders, a covered storage tray, centre console, door bins and seatback pockets. The front sun visors have vanity mirrors and a handy ticket holder.
It’s worth noting too that the battery for the hybrid system is located beneath the front passenger seat so does not compromise the storage levels within the car.
Isofix fixtures make fitting a child seat possible and these would be easily accessible thanks to the car’s five-door design.
The Suzuki Swift is exceptionally good value for money with a very realistic asking price and economically-sound running costs. The line-up starts from just £12,499 for the entry-level SZ3 model powered by the 1.2-litre Dualjet engine. The SZ5 automatic is the most expensive model costing £17,249 although there are Swift Sport versions that are slightly more pricey.
Our car was priced at £16,999 although some additional cladding and specialist paint meant the cost rose to £18,072.
The hybrid technology assists when the car starts, pulls away and during acceleration and the regenerative braking also creates energy. A gear shift prompter acts as a reminder to the driver to change gear and, in doing so, saves fuel.
According to official figures the car could deliver a combined 49.7mpg (WLTP) with carbon emissions of 101g/km (NEDC). This would result in a first year vehicle Excise Duty cost of £145 reducing to £140 after 12 months.
Suzuki currently has some excellent PCP schemes running with plenty of variety to suit all budgets.
The test car sits in insurance group 27.
Suzuki has an excellent reputation for developing cars that are reliable and survive the test of time and the Swift has long been viewed as a very durable vehicle. In fact, Suzuki was voted the highest volume brand for customer service satisfaction in JD Power’s 2019 survey. This is just one of a string of accolades referencing the company’s products, servicing and customer service dealings.
The Swift feels like a well-built vehicle. The seats are sturdy yet comfortable, the switchgear is practical and functional and the surfaces can be wiped clean. The touchscreen may end up covered in mucky fingerprints, but it would be simple to clean.
The Swift is available with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty with the option to extend it further if required.
The entry-level Suzuki Swift was only awarded a disappointing three stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP rating due to its limited amount of advanced safety kit.
But the car has been awarded a dual rating with the Swift SZ5 securing four stars thanks to the likes of autonomous emergency braking and a host of other features.
Safety features on the test car included an anti-lock brake system with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist, electronic stability program, six airbags, high beam assist, hill hold control, side impact protection beams, foot-protecting brake and clutch pedals, a tyre pressure monitor, Isofix child seat fixtures and rear child door locks.
An immobiliser helps to keep any unwanted attention at bay.