Suzuki – the fastest-growing automotive brand in the country, has just updated 2 of its top-selling models, we look at the Swift 1.2GLX 5MT.
Suzuki has announced an update to its popular compact hatchback/budget car using the word “minor” and I would like to say from the outset it is less than a minor up-date. The revision offers a few new colours (including some 2-tone options on the GLX derivatives) and a new sportier 15-inch alloy wheel design. If you have a look at the front grille very carefully you will notice the addition of a chrome strip just between the number plate holder and the grille which is considered one of the highlights. To update safety, Electronic Stability Control has been added across the range and Hill-Start Assist is now included on the AMT (automated manual) derivative. This makes the task of pulling away on an incline a very much simpler affair, not sure why this has not been added to the manual versions, it would be great to have this and seems like a missed opportunity. Rear parking sensors have been added to the GA and GL versions while the GLX has the additional fitting of a reverse-view camera as well as rear sensors.
The Suzuki Swift is still powered by the naturally aspirated K12 – 1.2 litre 4-cylinder petrol engine achieving 61kW and 112Nm of torque. It’s a very fuel-efficient power plant that regularly returns average consumption figures well within the manufacturers claim of 4.9 L/100 km.
Suzuki may be a value-for-money-oriented car brand (most of its models at the very least are the top-selling ones and can be grouped into the “budget car” segment). The Japanese firm certainly knows a thing or two about how to make a small car fun to drive as evident by the Swift Sport model which we previously reviewed in Car and Bike SA (Click here to read about it). The very potent Swift Sport is an absolute driver’s hot hatch but do not under-estimate the budget 63kW 1.2-litre version there is still fun to be had behind the wheel.
It’s a light vehicle and feels agile because of its low kerb weight and unlike some of its competitors it doesn’t feel ungainly or tinny. The 5-speed manual has such a natural and quick shift action you can’t help but enjoy up and down the shifts.
The top-spec 1.2 GLX which we had on test comes standard with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is identical to that seen in the updated Ignis and the Vitara Brezza. There is a USB port that enables Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity whereas the 1.2 GL features a standard CD player radio with Bluetooth connectivity and a USB port which is fine. The 1.2 GA is worse off with just a simple radio without mobile connectivity options. We would recommend the GLX Is absolutely worth the stretch just for this option alone.
Space and comfort
The 1.2 GLX is finished with a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear lever. The steering column is height and reach adjustable and impressively the driver’s seat is height adjustable too.
In terms of overall dimensions and interior space, the Swift is on the smaller side at least compared with its rivals (which admittedly are more expensive) and has an average claimed luggage capacity of 268 litres. Passenger space up front is acceptably adequate with 2 cupholders in front of the gear lever and a small shelf for a smartphone and door pockets for extra storage.
The rear legroom is tight especially when you are seated behind a tall driver but the seat-back is not uncomfortably tight against your knees if you’re an adult passenger.
This update to the Suzuki Swift incorporates changes that really are minor and will not date the out-going model which I’m sure current owners will be happy about. It was certainly worthwhile to add electronic stability control, a safer car is a better car. Obviously Suzuki did not want to mess with its winning Swift formula or adjust the range’s price list for that matter. So in our opinion the Swift remains a great buy and excellent bang-for-your buck for those shopping for a value packed budget-car.
Suzuki Swift pricing:
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GA MT – R180 900
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL MT – R199 900
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL AMT – R214 900
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GLX MT – R218 900
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GLX AMT – R234 900
The retail price includes a 5-year/100 000 km promotional warranty and 2-year/30 000 km service plan.