Small cars are popular. So are 4x4s. And so are small 4x4s.
That sounds good for Suzuki, because it’s rather good at making small cars. And 4x4s.
So here we have a small Suzuki 4x4. Sounds like a bit of a Bingo moment, really.
This new version of the Swift blends the impressively efficient 1.2 Dualjet petrol engine with a top-spec SZ4 kit list and, of course, all-wheel drive. It also sits 2.5cm higher than the standard Swift (that’s an inch in old money, which off-roaders will tell you is enough to make a difference) and features wheelarch rubbing strips to go with its eye-catching front and rear skid plates.
That’s not enough to make it a Jimny-basher on the trails, of course. But it looks cool, and it grips better on the road.
The Swift was already fun to drive on the twisty stuff, and it wasn’t short of grip in the first place. Now there’s more than ever, especially in the wet, yet the extra height in the suspension doesn’t provoke undue body roll. It steers with real verve and rides well enough most of the time – for something with only 89bhp, it’s more entertaining than you’d dare to hope.
The gearbox is a breeze to use, though it only has five cogs and that’s one too few for our liking. Even without a tall sixth to cruise in, however, 58.8mpg and 111g/km ought to meet with approval.
So too should the cruise, climate, Bluetooth, nav and dusk-sensing lights you get with this model, as well as the generous cabin space and smart instrument panel that are among the Swift’s best calling cards. A full set of seven airbags provides further reassurance, too, on top of that offered by four-wheel drive.
Thus the Swift enters an arena populated by not a lot else – its only obvious competitor is the Fiat Panda 4x4. But what we have here is Suzuki doing both the things it’s best at, and in each case that can’t be bad.
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