While Ford and Vauxhall fight it out in the mainstream for the B-segment with their Fiesta and Corsa, the Swift offers customers at the value end of the spectrum a surprisingly competent package.
Since its launch in the UK in May 2005; more than 80,000 Swifts have been sold and it accounts for around 36% of the UK sales mix.
It’s the star of the Suzuki range and this new model will satisfy previous generation owners, as well as steal some sales from rivals if the Japanese brand’s marketing budget can stretch to get the car on consideration lists.
While the Swift doesn’t match up to the build quality of class leaders, the latest generation has really taken some big steps on its top trim SZ4 which the AM long termer is equipped with.
There are still hard plastics on show, but the design and layout in the cabin is modern and everything feels well made.
Exterior design has come along too and it looks particularly good in black.
Steering wheel controls and standard equipment like cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity and MP3 compatibility are all things you would expect from a top trim B-segment car today, but the fact they are all available on the Swift might pleasantly surprise some.
It’s all at a very reasonable price too and dealers are being well supported with manufacturer offers (this model is £13,384 but was available at £11,219 before the end of 2012).
The Swift Sport has helped to boost positive word of mouth for the brand overall and even on the standard 1.2-litre 93bhp petrol here, it’s evident the Swift is a good foundation for an enjoyable drive.
The steering is slightly light and artificial, but while the car lacks driver feedback, it is exceptionally nimble turning into corners and manoeuvring around town.
The majority of my driving is on the commute between Cambridge and AM’s office in Peterborough, so it’s slightly unfair to complain that the Swift is not a natural motorway cruiser.
The 16v unit will happily zip up to 70mph, but the engine does produce a bit of noise as it sits at 3,000 rpm.
Not a problem though, just crank up the stereo.
A slight nit-pick is that there’s no MP3 cable for the USB port on the Swift, which means remembering to bring your own from the computer each time you load on new music and podcasts.
It’s also not immediately clear how to change tracks or folders using the steering controls (if you have to read the manual it’s not intuitive enough).