Long term test report: Suzuki Swift 1.3 SZ3 DDiS
With the driver on the mend after a recent accident, Keith Adams is appreciating the Swift’s long list of attributes designed to make driving a piece of cake.
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. Regular readers might recall that I broke my foot, and dislocated my shoulder, ending up taking an enforced rest from driving as a consequence. The good news is that after a few weeks’ recuperation, I’m back on the move and in the Suzuki once again. I never thought I’d hear myself (any time soon, anyway) appreciating large, wide opening doors and light clutch and steering, but the Swift’s possession of these assets has been an absolute godsend for its weakened driver. In fact, I’d go as far to say that had it not been for the Swift, my return behind the wheel may have been delayed even longer than it was, as the rest of my cars in the fleet conspired to hold me back with their heavy clutches and low rooflines! So we’ve proved in the worst way possible that the Swift genuinely is a car for all situations. The great visibility and light controls make it an idea runabout for the young and old alike.
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 must admit 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.
So, it’s good to be back on the road, and the Suzuki has been the perfect reintroduction into motoring really. 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…