- Lighter, swiftier, even more fuel-efficient
- Four-door hatch only, 3 power units, 3 grades
- Riding on Suzuki’s new platform – SZ3 only 890kg
GENEVA, Switzerland – Suzuki Motor is using the 2017 auto show here to introduce the European version of its Swift ‘supermini’ that’s already on the road in its home market of Japan.
The car claims all-new styling, performance-enhancing / fuel-saving lighter construction and up-to-date crash-protection features. “The result,” the automaker told The Corner in a media release from the show, “is European flair complemented by a sporty and functional cabin, nimble and agile driving, and enhanced peace-of-mind.”
Despite the car being only 3.84m long, Suzuki says, the cabin is “spacious, with ample luggage space and excellent visibility”. Suzuki added:
“The development goal was to create undoubtedly-Suzuki all-new hatchback styling. The Swift is a very popular and important car in our range and has reached 5.4-million global sales in less than 12 years – faster than any other Suzuki.”
BALENO DESIGN SHARED
The new Swift rides on a new platform it calls “Heartect” that, the company says, is 30kg lighter, very rigid, and “delivers enhanced fundamental vehicle performance” and better impact protection. The design follows that used for the Baleno and Ignis and overall has shed 120kg.
The car is a centimetre shorter than before but the wheelbase is two centimetres longer. Somehow, Suzuki has added 25% boot capacity at 254 litres, helped probably by the car being 15mm lower and 40mm wider.
Additionally, the European Swift has wider front and rear tracks than the domestic Japanese unit. Here are the key dimensions:
Height: 1495mm (2WD) 1520mm (4WD)
Track front/rear: 1520-1530mm / 1520-1525mm (depending on grade / tyre size)
Suzuki’s designers wanted to create “a bold evolution of Swift’s DNA” while maintaining its characteristic styling so enhanced carried-over elements include strong shoulders, blacked-out A-pillars and vertically front and rear lights.
“The Swift now has a more emotional appearance,” its maker says, “with a muscular and well-grounded look. The body is shorter, lower and wider; a wide and assertive front grille and supporting bumper-grille character lines each express strength.”
MORE ELBOW ROOM
Blacked-out pillars create the appearance of a floating roof and pillar-mounted door releases are said to add style and sporty flair.
The front seats have been lowered and separated by an extra 20mm for elbow space; head clearance is up and 23mm vertical and lateral space added for the rear seats. The steering wheel is of new design ‘D’-shape and an LED auto aircon fitted to the SZ5 units.
Adopting Suzuki’s new generation platform strategy minimised the size of the engine compartment which has enabled maximising the space available for cabin occupants and luggage.
Suzuki knew that simply designing and developing a new Swift for Japan would not suit Europe so teams of local evaluation drivers helped to hone the new car. Chassis-testing – claimed to be “the centrepiece of the new Swift’s evolution” began in January 2016 in the United Kingdom and Germany.
Nearly 100 suspension prototypes were tested over nearly 10 000km to meet the need for optimum steering-feel and a supple and agile suspension suited to British roads. Let’s hope they can handle the potholes endemic outside of South Africa’s Western Cape.
Standard spec on all units is described as “comprehensive”.
The SZ3 has a 1.2-litre Dualjet engine and manual transmission, include six crash bags, aircon, leather-wrapped steering wheel, digital radio with Bluetooth and four speakers, rear privacy glass, diode daytime lights, 15″ rims, body-coloured external mirrors and front power windows.
The SZ-T has a one-litre Boosterjet engine and a manual transmission but adds rear camera, Smartphone link display audio, 16″ alloy rims and front fog lights.
The SZ5 adds auto aircon, 16″ polished alloy rims, satnav, forward detection radar, keyless entry/start and rear power windows.
‘GENUINE DRIVING PLEASURE’
The one-litre, three-cylinder, 83kW / 179Nm Boosterjet was introduced in the Suzuki Baleno in June 2016 and S-Cross in October 2016. It has the same power and torque of a much larger non-turbo (1.7-1.8-litre) engines and, Suzuki says, “delivers an effortless drive and genuine driving pleasure”.
The 1.2-litre Dualjet engine was introduced in 2014 in the Swift (followed by the Baleno in 2016) and uses twin fuel-injectors to conserve fuel. Maximum power is 67.5kW, torque 120Nm at 4400rpm. Acceleration to 100km/h takes 11.9sec in the SZ3 2WD and 12.6sec in the SHVS AllGrip-equipped model.
AUTO ALL-WHEEL DRIVE – AS NEEDED
The SHVS mild-hybrid system is compact and light and has a dual-use, belt-driven, “starter / generator” that generates electricity through regenerative braking. The recovered energy is used to assist acceleration.
The new Swift has as an option on the SZ5 an AllGrip automatic all-wheel drive introduced for the previous Swift in 2014. It’s permanently enabled to transfer through a viscous coupling extra torque to the rear wheels as required.
The SZ5 also has Suzuki’s first forward detection system that combines a monocular camera and laser sensor for advanced safety functions, among them auto emergency braking, lane-departure warning and auto high-beam assist.
Millimetre-wave radar controls the auto cruise-control.
HI-DEFINITION COLOUR DISPLAY
The camera, Suzuki says, “excels at mid- to long-distance detection and traffic elements recognition, including pedestrians and lane markers; the laser sensor covers closer hazards and also night detection.
The SZ5 also has an 11cm high-definition colour display for information such as engine / torque output, fuel consumption, average speed, acceleration and brake operation, and G-force
The new Swift will be in UK showrooms in June 2017. Guess South Africa will get it around the same time – check with your local dealer.