Long term test report: Suzuki Swift 1.3 SZ3 DDiS
Keith Adams gives us an update on how the Swift’s been treating him over the last few weeks
Being a hardy Northerner, I like to think I take the worst that winter throws at me without complaining too much. I mean, what was the issue with the little flurry or two we had last year? But after being bombarded with dire warnings about the upcoming Siberian winter, and the constant reminders from my colleagues that I really need to get the car ready, I succumbed to pressure, and invested in the Swift DDiS.
And in the spirit of generosity, I thought I’d share the extent of my preparations with you. A trip to the local bargain shop elicited an ice scraper and integrated brush, a can of de-icer, and a bottle of screenwash in the car section. Then passing the confectionary area, I picked up a pack of Snickers bars and a bottle of drinking water for the glovebox. On my way out, I picked up a couple of sturdy cardboard boxes, split them down and left them in the boot. And, err, that’s it.
The chocolate, water (for sustenance) and cardboard (for digging, traction, or kneeling on) are for if the worst should happen, and we get stuck for a long period in the snow. Feeling adventurous, I’ve slung a foot pump for the tyres in the boot – just in case I need to let the air out for additional traction. The only downside, is the tiny boot looks quite full now, as there’s no meaningful under-floor storage for stuff like this.
In truth, I could have purchased a set of winter tyres and wheels – but given past experience of being stuck behind everyone else, I really don’t see the point. So, the Suzuki and I are ready for the winter ahead. And I feel quite confident that little’s going to stop us. Sadly, if the worst does happen, I might end up starving, as the wife has already nabbed the chocolate!
Date arrived: 16th June 2011
Mileage to date: 7,787miles
Fuel consumption: 67.3mpg (official combined) / 58.5mpg(on test)
As we’re still in the lap of the gods here in the UK when it comes to the weather, any thoughts of preparing the Diesel Car Suzuki Swift for the upcoming winter have yet to be implemented. I make it a rule to check all aspects of the car on a weekly basis: giving the tyres a kick, checking the fluids and keeping the windows nice and clean. I might yet live to regret this, but any thoughts of buying winter tyres for the Swift have been placed on hold – as I write this in late November, we’ve only had a couple of days dip below the magic seven degrees Celcius threshold that makes winter rubber worthwhile. As I say, I might live to regret that. So, the Suzuki speeds on wearing its standard tyres, and is proving very enjoyable indeed, thank you very much.
In daily life, the Swift is still stacking up nicely. Its duties remain those of a motorway commuting car, and hack for the odd long distance assignment. It’s proving perfect for the former, thanks to its easy 60mpg-plus in typically gloopy three-lane UK traffic. Ample mid-range punch and strong brakes mean the Swift keeps up nicely with the ebbs and flows of the overtaking lane. The car’s seamless integration with my iPod – and brilliant sound quality – make ‘enjoying’ the inevitable hold-ups due to far too many people’s propensity to crash into each other a little more bearable.
I’m still amazed by the amount of room that is in it. You’d swear from looking at it that the Swift would have a MINI-style lack of rear space, but actually, an adult can fit quite comfortably in the rear – and that includes being behind me as the driver (and although I am not quite six foot tall, I do have the seat all the way back on its runner). And during a recent 200-mile four-up trip, the only grumbles I heard from the rear were from passengers who thought the stereo lacked oomph for them.
It’s quick enough, roomy, well-equipped and as well as being easy to drive, it’s also rather fun. Now the three-door version has made an appearance in sporting petrol form, we can see that (rather better looking, I think) body picking up a useful number of younger buyers, as a consequence.
I do hope that when – or if – Suzuki thinks about building a three-door Swift DDiS, it does address my two biggest criticisms of the car. I remain critical about the turbo installation as ever, and every time I return to the Swift from another turbodiesel, it has me cursing in frustration. It’s laggy and hard to drive smoothly – you’re either off boost and cursing its flaccidness, or pulling like a banshee through its narrow power band. The engine’s also far too vocal. It’s not an unpleasant noise it makes, and you’ll certainly know it’s pulling hard – when it’s pulling – but a little less volume would be nice. A bit of soundproofing should do it.
Finally, the interior is solid, functions well, and looks good. But how about some jollier seat fabrics please? That would give us all something good to look at when we get stuck in the winter during our ‘Siberian snowdrifts’. Ahem…