…By David Miles (News Miles Better News Agency).
(Kim says, “You may already have seen/read on this website my impressions of yesterday’s ‘Swift Day Out’ (12th June 2019); you may also be interested in a personal view from David Miles, who also attended this event; the following words are all David’s, with photos courtesy Suzuki…”).
Keeping a positive attitude despite the current overall fall in new car sales globally, Suzuki GB is doing well and in the early part of this year they added the Swift Attitude special edition model to their Swift ‘supermini’ sized five door hatchback range – and also now available is the Swift 1.2 Dualjet Hybrid Allgrip 4×4 version.
The Swift is considered by Suzuki GB to be their ‘brand ambassador’ range, and the company expects to sell 20% more of them in the UK this year, with increased demand expected because of the additional two Swift models launched to the media this week. The new Attitude special edition version is expected to account for 40% of Swift sales this year.
Ed Norman, Head of Product Planning for Suzuki GB, told journalists this week at the Swift Day of Driving event they had sold over 38,500 new cars in the UK last year in an overall new car market down by 7%. It was their second highest ever total with their largest ever market share of 1.7%. The UK is the number one selling new car market for Suzuki in Europe.
He added that sales to fleet and business users had increased by 10% last year and 3% so far this year. The Vitara SUV range continues to be their best selling range with a 5% sales growth last year and 17% so far this year as the demand for SUVs still continues to grow. Suzuki’s target is for around 38,000 new car sales this year in a declining market.
On the face of it the current pricing attitude has changed and the latest price list officially shows the latest Attitude enhanced model now costs a less pleasing £14,599 but it has even more specification to offset that price increase. However taking a positive pricing approach for the latest Attitude, Suzuki is currently offering a PCP finance deal with no deposit and 0% APR with 48 monthly payments of £179.
The Swift SZ-T 1.0 litre 111 hp Boosterjet version, on which the Attitude model is based, costs £14,499. Other models in the Swift line-up range from £12,499 for the 1.2 litre SZ3 up to £16,999 for the new 1.2 Dualjet Hybrid Allgrip 4×4 version and £18,499 for the hot-hatch Swift Sport model (but look at the Suzuki UK website or contact your local dealer for details of any special offers applicable).
The Swift Attitude’s additional specification includes Black/Polished 16-inch alloy wheels, front foglamps, mesh front grille with chrome trim, rear upper spoiler and front, side and rear carbon effect skirts and a rear view camera is also now included. This is in addition to the
standard specification of six airbags, air conditioning, DAB radio with Bluetooth, rear privacy glass, leather steering wheel, front electric windows and LED daytime running lights.
The Swift Attitude is available in Fervent Red as a solid colour and Pure White, Premium Silver, Super Black, Mineral Grey and Burning Red as metallic colours as a £485 cost option. The styling changes give it a similar look to the well rated Swift Sport version.
The Swift Attitude is powered by Suzuki’s K12C 1.2 litre Dualjet four cylinder engine with an output of 90 hp and 120 Nm (89 lb.ft) of torque and is equipped with five speed manual transmission. This engine meets the latest EU 6.2 C and D Temp regulations. It has the new WLTP CO2 emissions figure of 124 g/km and Combined fuel consumption under WLTP regulation of 51.4 mpg. First Year VED road tax costs £170 and then £145 Standard rate. Company car drivers will pay 28% Benefit-in-Kind tax. Top speed is 112 mph with zero to 62 mph taking11.9 seconds. Insurance is Group 25D and the warranty three years/60,000 miles.
The Swift five door supermini sized hatchback will seat five at a push and has an overall length of 3,840 mm (12.60 ft), it’s 1,735 mm (5.69 ft) wide and all versions except the 4×4 version are 1,495 mm (4.90 ft) high. There is a 265 litre (9.36 cu.ft) boot and with the rear seat backs folded down this goes up to a modest 579 litres (20.45 cu.ft).
Swift handles in a neat and nimble way, it has a certain amount of stylish charm and the Attitude styling additions give it a more sporting visual edge but adds nothing to its performance. Overall it freshens up the Swift range and the Suzuki pricing attitude makes the £179 monthly PCP payment look a good deal.During my brief test drive this week in the New Forest area, sporty exterior looks, improved interior spec and the usual Swift handling agility were the strong points. The 1.2 litre 90 hp non-turbo petrol engine is no ball of fire, it lacks ‘grunt’ at times and full use has to be made of the five speed gearbox which would benefit from a sixth gear ratio for open road cruising speeds. However it proved to be very user-friendly and our overall real-life fuel economy figure during our test drive was 54.5 mpg, better than the official new WLTP regulation’s 51.4 mpg Combined Cycle figure.
Moving swiftly on, during our automotive media Swift day out in the New Forest area this week we were also able to get to grips with the new Swift SZ5 Hybrid Allgrip 4×4 model using the tracks and cleared woodland sections of the Beaulieu Forest close to the famous Motor Museum.
This new model uses the same 1.2 litre Dualjet petrol engine as the Swift Attitude, it also is linked with a five speed manual gearbox – but it also has a mild hybrid system and Allgrip 4×4 enhanced traction. This is the first time Hybrid technology and Allgrip traction system have been used together in a Swift model. The price is £16,999 and currently the PCP offer is no deposit, 0% APR with 48 months of £220.44.
Across their entire UK seven range of models Suzuki offers Allgrip four wheel drive capability to five models either as standard or as an option. These are the Jimny, Ignis, Vitara, S-Cross and Swift. Allgrip models account for 17% of Suzuki new car sales in the UK.
The Allgrip system details vary according to model (for example the ‘Pro’ version as used in the Jimny incorporates a low/high ratio transfer gearbox and is intended for serious off-roading work).
However, in the Swift the Allgrip set-up incorporates a well proven and simple fully automatic and permanent four-wheel drive layout which transfers additional torque to the rear wheels when required via a viscous coupling unit. Up to 50% of the torque can be transferred to the rear wheels. One part of the viscous coupling is connected to the driving axle and one part to the driven axle. When the front wheels spin the centre viscous coupling locks due to friction and shear caused by the differences in motion of the plates which will then rapidly transfer more torque to the rear axle giving all wheel traction.
The Hybrid system (known as Smart Hybrid Vehicle or SHVS) is a compact and lightweight system that incorporates an Integrated Starter Generator (known as ISG) which acts as both a generator and starter motor. The ISG is belt-driven and assists the engine during vehicle take off and acceleration and also generates electricity through regenerative braking.
The system uses a compact high performance 12V lithium-ion battery, placed under the front passenger seat, to store energy – and incorporates an idle stop function operated via the Integrated Start Generator. The SHVS system only uses its conventional engine starter motor when first started from cold, under all other conditions it uses the ISG unit to allow smooth and quiet engine restarts. The ISG unit has a power output of 2.3kW and a torque figure of 50 Nm (36.88 lb.ft).
The SHVS system helps reduce fuel consumption by providing electric motor assist using electricity generated through regenerative braking. The battery also supplies power to electrical components for the engine, instruments and also the audio system.
As for performance the top speed is 105 mph and the zero to 62 mph acceleration time is 12.6 seconds. The latest WLTP figures show the Combined Cycle fuel economy figure as 49.7 mpg with CO2 emissions of 128 g/km. Because of its Hybrid element this model benefits from the Alternative Fuel Discount of £10 so VED is £160 and then £135 and BiK company car tax is 29%.
The 1.2 Dualjet Hybrid Allgrip model has Suzuki’s SZ5 spec level and has an insurance group rating of 27D. The SZ5 specification additions include auto air conditioning, 16-inch polished alloy wheels, satellite navigation, mesh front grille with chrome trim, advanced forward detection system, keyless entry and start, rear electric windows, LED Headlamps, LED Combination rear lamps, adaptive cruise control and six speakers.
Like the Attitude version handling is neat, nimble and agile so it’s trustworthy on-roads with that added grip covering off-road gravel and muddy conditions. Back on-road it should be workmanlike dealing with winter weather.
Most of our test driving was done off-road using gravel tracks, fern covered paths, some shallow muddy bits and some cleared woodland. Although with a slightly taller ground clearance there was still plenty of impact noise coming from under the car but there appeared to be no damage. The 4×4 system proved to be very good, we know that Suzuki’s approach is good from the Jimny and Vitara Allgrip models. Even off-road driving didn’t really harm the fuel economy thanks to the Hybrid power support. Our vehicle showed a 48.2 mpg figure, very close to the official 49.7 mpg Combined Cycle test figure for on-road driving.
Although we tested both new Swift models this week in what is supposed to be summer, it is clear that given the mixed weather conditions we encountered, two Swifts do not make a summer – I think that is how the saying goes – but it might be Swallows!