Suzuki Swift 1.2 GLX

Tarted up mainline Swift keeps on ticking the boxes for upbeat Suzuki Auto

Suzuki has been doing great things in the local market. A start-up brand here not very long ago, its cool cars, dedicated service and back-up and a fun take on doing business has captured a surprising market share. More recently, Toyota has also begun selling rebadged Suzukis here. Now if ever there was a reverse compliment… We’d love to know how they’ve got it right, but we’re don’t see them often enough to learn and share those bit with you. No matter…


Now the core of the Suzuki range, its top-selling Swift recently benefited a raft of minor refreshments as part of its mid-life nip and tuck and we were lucky enough to be quick to get one to test soon after launch. Alas, we don’t get the new hybrid version in SA, but the other changes are now here and the new one is immediately distinguishable by a new chrome moustache bisecting its fresh mesh pattern grille.

Our GLX test sampler’s two-tone hues, front fog lights and fresh polished 15-inch alloys apparently bring a more sophisticated look. We thought this car’s styling was step back versus the edgy old one back then and some may argue that among the new bits are a bit cheesy. But then beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so you decide on that one! Our car’s Arctic Pearl White on Midnight Pearl Black is part of Swift’s cheeky new colour palette, by the way.

Nothing’s new under the bonnet. In fact Swift is so consistent that our test figures were within a few thousandths of a second across the board versus our pre-facelift test a couple of years back. We like that! That brisk performance is courtesy of the venerable, free-revving and frugal 61 kW 112 Nm variable valve tech K12M petrol four-pot and Swift’s lightweight and rigid ‘Heartect’ shell.


Swift benefits a fair dollop of standard tech — all models come with power windows, air conditioning and central locking. GL adds the fog lamps, USB and AUX audio and a rev counter and power wing mirrors. This GLX get-up further contributes high-resolution colour touch screen infotainment with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and that reverse camera, climate controlled air conditioning, keyless access with button starting, power folding mirrors and that step up to 15” alloys.

A new reversing camera image on the infotainment screen compliments rear parking sensors for easy backing up, but new Swift’s biggest step ahead has to be Electronic Stability to compliment its existing ABS EBD brakes. Add dual SRS airbags, force limited pre-tensioner seat belts, ISOFIX child restraint anchors, central locking and immobiliser alarm. Whether the ESC improves the Swift’s precarious 2-star 2018 Global NCAP showing, remains to be seen.

We took our Swift on a little trip away while we had it, which went a long way to refresh our liking for this fine little car. When we laid our luggage out behind it before loading up, I thought, ‘oh hell, that will never fit!’ That will teach me to be pessimistic – a bit of planning saw that triangular hole gobble it all up and still close that little lip.


We were soon four adults up and travelling fully laden up the coast. I sat a little forward to my regular position, but nothing uncomfortable and the guys and gals in the back were pleasantly surprised too. I was also impressed how the little 1200 picked off slower moving bakkies, trucks and tractors with such consummate ease. Not travelling with car people, I asked my passengers how big they thought the engine was…

The popular opinion was two litres, but one of them offered that it’s a one-point-six. That it’s just a 1200 tells another story all on its own. Swift gets on with it as it punches several classes above its weight on the road. But that’s not all — our Swift had a final surprise up its sleeve when its fuel mileage had me expecting a 50 litre top up to refuel and get home. So I was pleasantly surprised to find out it’s only took thirty litres’

Swift comes with an average 2-year 30 000 km service plan but an outstanding 5-year 200 000 km promotional warranty and at 218 grand for this top-spec version, its a pretty bargain, too.


Some may argue about the looks, others like the upgrades better than others and the sceptics will question those safety report. But this smart, well enough equipped, most capable and affordable little critter remains an all-round winner. Little wonder the brand is flying… — Michele Lupini

QUICK TEST: Suzuki Swift 1.2 GLX
Engine: 61kW 112Nm 1197cc petrol I4
Drive: 5-speed manual FWD
0-60 km/h         4.71 sec
0-100 km/h:       10.87 sec
0-120 km/h:       15.44 sec
400m:             17.5 sec @ 128 km/h
80-120 km/h:      8.25 sec
VMax:             175km/h
Fuel:             4.9 l/100km
CO2:              116 g/km
Warranty/Service: 3y 200K/2y 30K km
LIST PRICE:       R218K
RATED:            8
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