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Suzuki Swift review: Delivering a swift kick

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SUZUKI SWIFT.

BT_20180824_SWIFT243NSR_3541216.jpg
SUZUKI SWIFT.

BT_20180824_SWIFT243NSR_3541216.jpg
SUZUKI SWIFT.

Singapore

IT'S back, the little city hatch with that alliterative, mellifluous name, the Suzuki Swift. This habitual bestseller for its maker made a quiet exit from our market when pricey Certificates Of Entitlement made it too expensive to sell well here.

The good news is, in its latest iteration, it lives up to its moniker pretty well. It's powered by a chirpy three-cylinder turbo engine and six-speed transmission, and when you ask it to chase the horizon, it really feels like it puts its heart into it.

On paper, the dash to 100km/h takes all of 10 seconds, but the actual experience makes the Swift seem, well, swifter.

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That might be down to its personality; the Swift may be a mere machine, but it has the soul of a puppy on coffee.

That would explain the handling, too. It doesn't turn into bends so much as bound at them, but never feels as if it's waiting to bite you for wanting it to hustle.

The skinny tyres don't offer fearsome levels of grip, but this is still the kind of car that you feel able to take liberties with. Basically, it's archetypal of the way zippy small cars can be a hoot to drive.

There are compromises that tend to come with cars of this size, however.

The Suzuki has that jittery, busy ride that lightweight cars often do, and the engine buzzes noticeably at idle.

As a matter of fact, the Swift feels like Suzuki built it down to a cost, skimping on sound insulation here, and choosing the cabin plastics more for durability than tactile quality there.

And while the Swift offers a surprisingly habitable space in the back and a decent boot, it's easy to buy a bigger car with more power and more features for similar money - the new Kia Cerato is an obvious candidate.

It doesn't help that a S$10,000 pollution surcharge under the Vehicular Emissions Scheme has nudged what is a car aimed at the proletariat towards bourgeois pricing territory.

Yet, it's hard to think of a car that offers more fun for the money, so there are a couple of circumstances in which the Swift makes perfect sense: As a first car, for example, which you'll enjoy for its jolly nature and zesty performance until you need something bigger.

Or you might be the sort of person who got a finance degree precisely so you wouldn't end up driving a Suzuki Swift, in which case you could consider buying one for your offspring (it has six airbags) or for the people from which you sprang (it's so easy to operate, the captain of the Titanic couldn't have crashed it).

Either way, there's something appealing about cars that drive with a bit of brio but are uncomplicated about it, and the Swift embodies precisely those qualities. If one of these Suzukis does end up in your porch, there's bound to be the odd tussle for the key.

Better learn to be swift yourself.


SUZUKI SWIFT

Engine 998cc, turbo in-line 4
Power 110hp at 5,500rpm
Torque 160Nm at 1,700 to 4,000rpm
Gearbox Six-speed auto
0-100km/h 10.0 seconds
Top Speed 190km/h
Fuel Efficiency 5.7 L/100km
Agent Champion Motors
Price S$78,900 with COE
Available Now