Falling under the hatchback category, Suzuki Swift has been around from quite some time in the Philippines. However, the question of why it hasn’t been applauded all those years is still a mystery. A perfect companion for an entry-level buyer hasn’t been able to make its identity in the country and has been overshadowed by its snazzy sibling DZire. The DZire is quite popular among the buyers due its standout appeal and weird looking trunk, but looking at Swift, it won’t be an understatement or a false perception that it certainly looks more cool, stylish and modern than DZire. Swift has always been left out by the first time buyers, but with the looks, style and sporty persona it carries, it is disheartening for an auto freak like me to actually gulp it through my throat. Adorning a fancy character, refined power mill, exceptional fuel efficiency and easy to maneuver through streets, the riddle of its stagnation remains unsolved. So, to uncover this mystification cover we at CarBay decided to take the Swift 1.2 AT to the real test. We took it through crowded city roads and open expressways to evaluate how its power unit responds. So, here is our extensive view on the same and what we felt about this swanky hatch.
The first look at the vibrant red Swift imparted a sense of style and sportiness, at least for me. From the outside, it looked pleasing to eyes. Its strong road presence with bulged bumpers both at the front and at the rear allied to short overhangs and floating roof blew away my mind at once. The design language was pretty same as that of the prior version, but according to the brand, it has put every element new and exclusive in this machine. Despite the same design language, it looked fresh and modern than many others present in the market. The front was dominating and gallant with the presence of swept-back headlamp cluster, which looked really pushed back into the body. The grille looked splendid, which cuts subtly into the leading edges of the bonnet. I moved towards the side profile when my partner mentioned that the company has done a little work to its front bumper as well. It was a trick done to its bumper that looked more sharply cut and housed the round-shaped fog lamps with black housing that were further garnished by the satin silver accent.
Moving on to its side profile, I got fascinated by the bulged wheel arches that housed 15-inch alloy wheels, door mounted ORVMs with turn indicators, body colored door handles and tiny rear window design. The blackened A-pillar was giving a special character to the new Swift which was in contrast to the body color. Further, towards the rear end, its flashy image was accounted by the rear spoiler, a unique overhang just above the licence plate and the refreshed tail lamps that are further stretched along the length of the car.
Overall, the Swift was impressive to me and the bulged & bulky character it possesses was pleasing to my eyes. It gave the car a more authoritative and bold look, which was a peach to watch. Personally, I liked the modern styling of the new Swift, which no other brand offers under the price bracket Suzuki provides.
It was then time to enter inside the Swift. From its smaller dimensions, it was pretty clear that something icky was on offer inside. And, guess what, I was absolutely spot on. Entering the Swift from the rear door was bit of a task especially for the man 6 feet tall like me, as the door height it offered to enter in was on a lower side. The rear space was always one of the weak points of the Swift, which the brand has tried to resolve to some extent. As it now offered considerable space for my long legs while the space above head was also ideal to fit in a tall man. But, how can you forget those tiny windows? No you can’t, they are just perfect to give you a sense of cooped up feeling. The cargo is confined to a 210-litre space, which isn’t live upto the expectations if you plan to take it to family trips or outings.
Grabbing that front seat behind the wheel gave a sense of pleasure. The front seats were quite generous adorning a sportier design with adequate cushioning. The all-black interior was upscaled remarkably by Suzuki but still holds a bit back when compared against the likes the Hyundai Grand i10. The plastics used are up to the market standards despite the budget pricing, this hatch carries. The plastic is little hard to feel still has consistent texturing over it, which is good from the brand’s part. It also looked good as far as ergonomics were concerned while missed out on the features a driver’s seat must have. Yes, I am talking about the driver’s seat adjustments, which are limited to just 4 ways while the steering wheel also offered just the tilt option. However, making myself comfortable behind that wheel wasn’t onerous. The controls, knobs and buttons looked durable and chunky at the same time.
There were quite a few storage compartments for the passengers to rejoice on the go including a deep glovebox, storage space below the centre console, doors with generous spaces, bottle holders and a slot just above the glovebox, which comes quite handy for your knicks and knacks. These are enough to serve the purpose for your weekend getaways and trips. Further, the cabin was graced by the presence of silver accents across the dash and door panels.
Despite the budget pricing, this hatch crams features like iPod playback option via USB while the audio controls on the steering wheel gives an easiness to change the tracks on the go. The touchscreen incorporated inside the car solves multi purposes like audio and navigation. The inbuilt 2DIN stereo system takes care of the entertainment front of the passengers while can be jumped on to navigation mode whenever necessary.
Powered by the peppy 1.2-litre DOHC VVT engine, which is mingled to a 4-speed automatic transmission system is capable of pumping out a max power output of 87 hp at 6000 rpm and a peak torque of 114 Nm at 4000 rpm. The Swift certainly lives up to these aforementioned numbers. However, nothing fascinating is there for the auto enthusiasts to drool over but considering its practicality and purpose, it definitely comes on the customer's priority list. From standstill, it generates power to rev up the mood. Even though I took the automatic model along the streets, but that wasn't a concern as far as power was concerned. It underpinned finest of the engines prevailing in the market right now and that proved me correct when I revved up to overtake a Mazda on the way. The extra punch to enliven the character was there to keep you entertained. The triple figure speeds were also reached quite easily without much of a fuss, which wasn’t in the case of Suzuki Ertiga. The ride was quite stable on the high speeds while its swift steering, responsive engine and compact structure was a reason for my smile while carving my way out through the congested city roads. On high speeds, the cabin remained quiet and NVH (noise vibration and harshness) isolation was quite good as well. You could hardly hear outside sound inside the cabin except some tyre noise that penetrates the body.
However, on the darker side, it’s engine felt a bit weak on low rpm, which infers that you need to shift down gears more often as compared to other cars in the market like the Hyundai i10. The engine performs adequately but real feel was experienced above the 4000 rpm range up to the redline 6400 rpm. The ride was extremely smooth and stable at these revolutions.
Handling was exceptional as expected from Suzuki. The body roll was in control right from the start, which I enjoyed testing too. I wasn't worried to push it through the corners as it responded to my call absolutely perfectly. It maintained the grip with the surface throughout the drive without giving me goosebumps and was stable at high speeds like 120 Kmph. It looked like it can travel all day at 120 Kmph without fuss, which clearly denoted its improved character.
Priced at PhP 638,000, Swift 1.2 is a worthy option to look forward as your first car. This entry level hatch has all points covered, starting from snazzy looks, responsive and fuel-efficient engine and feature-packed equipment list. However, if you are a family of five then it won’t help the cause as the rear seat is quite crunched up and doesn’t welcome the third adult with a smile. But, for the first time buyers, especially singles and nuclear families (two adults and two kids), this is one of the best choices you can grab as a Filipino. Suzuki has covered up the compact seating configuration of Swift with its another member, Ertiga, which isn’t that high buy as you think, so considering it for your large family would be a wise move for sure.