Used Suzuki Swift Hybrid (17-present) long term test review
Our Suzuki Swift hybrid four-wheel drive is a curious combination, but does that make it the perfect small car for all seasons? We have four months to find out...
The car - Suzuki Swift 1.2 SZ5 SHVS All Grip
Run by - Max Adams - Used cars reporter
Why it’s here - To find out if this hybrid small car with four-wheel drive is a hidden used car gem
Needs to - Prove its worth against other used small cars
Suzuki Swift 1.2 SZ5 SHVS All Grip Mileage 2413 List price new (2019) £16,999 Price new with options £18,496 Value now £13,409 (trade price with no options) Options fitted: metallic paint £485, wheel arch extensions £449, side body mouldings £139, instrument panel trim - pearl white £119, front door trim - pearl white £250, floor mats £55 Test economy 52.6mpg Official economy 49.7mpg (WLTP)
12 September 2019 - the used Suzuki Swift hybrid joins our fleet
I once shared a student house with a chap who would only ever eat one ingredient on his plate at any given time. This always struck me as an odd thing to do, since there’s a certain amount of pleasure to be had in mixing well-paired flavours together, and I can’t be the only one to subscribe to this line of thinking either, otherwise we wouldn’t have so many celebrity chefs telling us of what fresh herbs and spices go best with even the most basic of ingredients.
The used car market can be similarly unadventurous, too, because the top-selling Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa are both very conventional small cars. This is a shame really, because there are all sorts of more interesting and potentially quirkier flavours of car out there you that might not have otherwise considered. Take my latest long term Suzuki Swift, for example. On the face of it, it’s a rather cute small car, but if you dig a little bit deeper beneath the skin of the one I’m running, you’ll find that it has four-wheel drive and hybrid technology.
Hybrid tech is normally associated with bigger cars, because all the gubbins that goes with having an engine, a fuel tank, a battery pack and an electric motor generally fits more neatly in something large. However, this little Suzuki has a 12-volt mild-hybrid system that’s more compact than most traditional systems, yet still yields economy benefits over the regular Swift. I thought this would be interesting to test.
The present Swift came out back in 2017 and, in order to get a hybrid version, you had to fork out extra for the top-spec SZ5 trim with all the goodies. In this example, I’ve got sat nav to go with the 7.0in touchscreen, climate control, adaptive cruise control, electric folding mirrors, LED headlights with adaptive high-beam assist and a suite of additional safety tech, such as automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning.
You did get a choice when it came to engines, though. There was a turbocharged 109bhp, 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol or the slower 89bhp, 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol that we have in ours. You might be wondering what the benefit of going for the slower version is: part-time four-wheel-drive.
Now, having had the pleasure of taking part in our recent off-road mega-test, I know this Swift probably won’t get me across the Serengeti because it doesn’t have the ground clearance or wheel articulation – the latter being vital for keeping the tyres in with the ground as much as possible – but it should prove its worth when setting off in slippery conditions and tackling the odd dirt road.
This is why I thought it would be a good idea to christen my latest test car with a trip down Chalkpit lane close to the Goodwood estate. It's a relatively short track that’s best tackled in stages; the top third near the car park is easy enough, but it’s the middle third that will catch most cars out. If you don’t have plenty of air between the ground and the bottom of the car, don’t bother. Ground clearance is key.
I stuck with the lower third and the Swift proved to be delightfully fleet of foot and skipped along the stoney path with no fuss. It didn’t need to engage drive to the rear wheels at any point, so I’ll have to find another way to try the four-wheel drive system out.
For now though, the Swift seems to be settling into my life rather well. Okay, it’s no powerhouse, but the mild-hybrid system seems to be doing its thing when it comes to fuel economy – even with the drain of a four-wheel drive system on board – and should save me a considerable amount of money compared with the Dacia Sandero I had previously. It’s also far more spacious for rear-seat passengers, and I have six airbags in this Swift compared with just two in the Sandero.
All-in-all, I’m rather pleased with this small car and its fusion of different flavours. With winter approaching and the fears of a rise in fuel costs following Brexit looming, this little Swift could be quite a smart choice. I guess I’ll find out over the next four months.
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