Published on August 14th, 2013 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Suzuki Swift 1.4L test drive review
Suzuki designers are following the trend of Porsche designers where once you have yourself a well liked design that is globally accepted and may even be even a little admired by the competition, you work on tweaking it rather than changing it all together. Suzuki designers took the previous Swift design and stretched it a little, nipped a little here and there and put together some interesting new design features to give this car a new look that is only really appreciated when you park the previous Swift right next to it. Side by side the new Swift design is appreciated.
Suzuki stylists deliberately shunned the trend towards ‘one-box’ uniformity, instead producing a substantive design with a distinct bonnet. Muscular, flared wheel arches, bold sills, wheels pushed out to each corner, and a broad-shouldered beltline that continues all the way to the tail lights express the car’s inherent stability and dynamic appeal.
At 1,695mm, Swift has one of the widest bodies in its class. This, together with a long wheelbase, allows for a spacious cabin with plenty of space for everyone on board and a generously proportioned and practical boot. Tight fit and finish of trim together with high-grade plastics contribute to an overall sense of refinement and quality. The front seats offer superior support and hold and have class-leading fore and aft adjustment of 240mm. Driver’s seat height adjustment and a tilt-adjustable steering column are standard features, enabling drivers of all different heights to find a comfortable driving position.
The instrument binnacle is set relatively low to ensure good forward visibility and the radio/CD player is seamlessly integrated into the dashboard and can be operated using either the one touch push buttons on the unit, or additional controls mounted on the sporty three-spoke steering wheel.
Storage spaces for mobile phones, CDs and other small items are handily located around the cabin, including a compartment in the instrument panel, glovebox, front and rear cup holders (three in total), a seatback pocket, front door pockets. The boot has a 213-litre capacity with a practical flat floor, thanks in part to the choice of a torsion beam suspension arrangement. Collapse the 60:40 split folding rear seat, and the load area more than doubles to 562 litres.
Suzuki Swift is robust and well equipped with safety features. The car’s structure is inherently strong awarded 4-stars for adult occupant protection by Euro NCAP when launched. It features extensive use of high tensile steel and tailored blanks to achieve strength without the penalty of added weight. This Swift incorporate driver and passenger front airbags as standard. These are complemented by brake and clutch pedals designed for less risk of driver leg injury in an impact, front seatbelt pretensioners and force limiters, energy absorbing trim, three point ELR seatbelts for all seats and child seat ISOFIX attachments on the rear seat. Each seat also has a head restraint, with those in the rear designed to minimise obstruction of the driver’s rearward view.
Pedestrian protection measures were given careful consideration at the design stage and helped Suzuki Swift gain a three-star Euro NCAP rating, a result that is particularly impressive for a compact car. The bonnet, wings, wipers and front bumper are all designed to be crushable and to absorb impact energy progressively, so reducing the risk of injury. Active safety provisions that can help the driver avoid an accident in the first place include ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution [EBD] and a brake assist function, fitted as standard across the range.
Swift chassis to match the looks
Suzuki’s European programme of chassis development has paid dividends with Suzuki Swift providing a level of handling that will appeal to the enthusiast as much as to typical B-segment customers, while still achieving a sophisticated and comfortable ride. These qualities are delivered thanks to one of the widest tracks in its class – 1,470mm at the front and 1,480mm at the rear – combined with a 2,390mm wheelbase. The platform, which was newly created for Suzuki Swift, features a front sub-frame to which the steering gearbox, lower suspension arms and engine mounting for the rear are attached. The resulting rigid structure generates less road noise and a strong feeling of stability.
MacPherson strut suspension at the front is matched by a torsion beam and coil springs at the rear. The low unsprung weight of the torsion beam arrangement enables effective control of camber angle and toe-in to deliver accurate and predictable handling, while its space-efficient layout plays a key role in achieving a low, flat boot floor. To round off the driving experience, Suzuki Swift benefits from a steering rack that gives direct and precise feel and a braking system with particularly rigid callipers for enhanced stopping performance. Despite the Suzuki Swift’s 1,690mm overall width, it still remains a highly manoeuvrable proposition about town. The turning circle is a compact 9.4m.
Driving The New Swift
Even before we started our test drive we were wondering if the all new smaller 1.4L engine would provide enough ‘poke’ for us. The ‘push button’ ignition started the engine with no drama. It was quiet and smooth as we prodded the accelerator. The ‘Aisin’ (the company that manufactured this gearbox and happens to be one of the biggest in the world) manufactured 4-speed was smooth as we moved up the speed range rather quickly. Right from the start this Swift was perky and rather quick of the mark showing us the how much new engineering has gone into the engine. It was entertaining and kept all four wheels grounded even when we tried to lose it a little. This new Swift is more than just a family car; it is a starting point for some tarmac excitement. Test drive before looking elsewhere.
Suzuki Swift Specifications:
Engine: 1.4-litre, 16-valve DOHC
Transmission: 4-speed auto
Max power: 95bhp at 6000rpm
Max torque: 130Nm at 4000rpm
Top Speed: 170km/h as tested
Price: RM77,800.00 OTR