Hi, Bob Aldons, The Car Guy, reporting in on my review of the Suzuki Swift GLX. I was a Suzuki dealer in 2004 when Suzuki first released the then all new Swift. A few dealers and I went to Japan to see the manufacturing plant where Swift was built. Swift was launched in Japan in late 2003 and from first look became an iconic small vehicle around the world. In Australia Swift took the market by storm and for the next few years was one of the top-selling small cars in the Car Business.

As a dealer, Suzuki Swift kept our business viable – I’ve often said that Suzuki was one of the best-kept secrets in the car industry, at least until Swift came to the market. This all-new model may look familiar to the 2004-2016 Swift, but apart from the similarity in shape – read evolution rather than revolution –  there’s a lot to be said for this new model. Gone is the 1.6 normally aspirated engine replaced with a 1.0-litre “BoosterJet” turbo engine. Safety and tech have improved markedly. So let’s see what this all-new Suzuki Swift GLX is all about.

And if you think the three-cylinder engine isn’t big enough for the Suzuki Swift GLX, think about the size of the power plants in a Formula 1 car. Since 2014 these high-performance engines are a 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engine producing over 648 kilowatts. So, it’s not the size of the engine that matters; it’s the power and weight of the car that’s important.

And not too far down the track is the Suzuki Swift Sports model. Rumours abound that this will have a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine producing 25% more power at 103kw. Can’t wait!

Front

Suzuki Swift GLX

The large ‘mouth’ on the Suzuki adds to its front end appeal

This design is an evolution, not a revolution as the stylists have maintained basically the same shape, look and feel. Purists will decry that comment and say that it’s got plenty of new sheet metal and other stuff, but I think it looks similar but different.

I like the large ‘mouth’ on the Swift GLX although in this colour it doesn’t stand out from the crowd as it does in the lighter colours.

 

 

 

 

 

 Under the Bonnet

Swift GLX - Turbo

Suzuki builds great engines and this one is no different.

A 1.0-litre booster jet turbo engine gets the Swift GLX around the suburbs wonderfully. Coupled with a 6-speed automatic transmission, there’s plenty of oomph but light on the fuel use. Smooth engine, good performance so forget about the engine capacity and consider the performance of the package.

For those more technically minded the engine produces 82kw of power at 5500rpm and 160nm of torque between 1400 and 4000rpm.  As far as kilowatts are concerned that’s nearly 25% more than the larger capacity, but non-turbo 1.2-litre dual jet engine found in all the other Swift models.

 

 

 

 

 

Down the Side and Safety

Suzuki Swift GLXParticularly in this colour, the side of the Swift GLX looks a little slab-sided. However, colours can be misleading and in the light silver or white, the car looks clean. The rear door handle is incorporated into the c pillar which gives the impression of a coupe rather than a hatch. The suite of safety features is extensive as you can see from the list below.

This little car is packed full of tech and gets a 2017 ANCAP Five Star RatingFront Air Bags, Side Airbags, Curtain Airbags, Knee Air Bag (Driver)

ABS Brakes, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist System

Vehicle Stability Control, Hill Hold Control

Adaptive Cruise Control

LED Projector Headlights, Dusk Sensing headlights

Suzuki S-Cross SX4

The ANCAP testing of Swift (scores below) reveals a 5 Star score for this model, the Swift GLX. However the base GL model only scores 4 stars and of course Suzuki market the car as a Five Star model using the Swift GLX in their advertising. Whilst 4 stars isn’t a poor score at all, just be aware that there is a difference between the models.

Airbags: Dual Frontal, Side, Head
Frontal Offset: 14.39 out of 16
Side Impact: 15.74 out of 16
Pole: 2 out of 2
Whiplash Protection: Good
Pedestrian Protection: Good
ESC: Standard
Seat Belt Reminders: 3.0 out of 3
Overall Score: 35.13 out of 37
ANCAP Safety Rating: 5 Stars
Rating Year: 2017

On the Car Guy ranking Suzuki Swift GLX scores 94.94% – good work Suzuki.

Suzuki Swift GLX

Green Vehicle Guide

Suzuki Swift GLX does very well on the economy stage achieving the following fuel economy figures. But remember that these figures are achieved in a laboratory, not in the real world. I’m comfortable that the highway 9extra urban) numbers will be spot on, but the Urban (around the city) figures will be variable depending on your driving style and the traffic you’re driving in. At best, use these figures to compare against others that you’re considering.

Combined                             5.1 litres per 100 klm

Urban                                    6.6 Litres per 100 klm

Extra Urban                         4.3 litres per 100 klm

Annual Fuel Useage           $1124

Air Pollution Standard      Euro 5

 

Warranty and Servicing Costs

When I was a Suzuki dealer back in 2000, the service intervals for the brand weres 15,000 km’s. With the advent of a 5-year warranty and capped price service, the intervals have been changed to 10,000 km

However, Suzuki has reduced the service costs and over the 5 years or 100,000 kilometers, you’ll be asked to pay $2620 for the 10 services, which at an average of $262 per service is very competitive with independent workshops. And importantly, Suzuki technicians are trained by the company on their vehicles specifically rather than being ‘Jack of all Brands’. I strongly recommend that you service your Suzuki Swift GLX at a Suzuki dealer at least for the 5 years during the warranty period and an extra 2 years after that.

Besides the brand specific knowledge that a Suzuki technician has, the dealer has invested thousands of dollars in Suzuki diagnostic equipment and that’s something that an independent will struggle to match.

 The Back End

Suzuki Swift GLX

Suzuki is a dab hand at making space very  usable in their small cars

Suzuki is pretty good at making a small car look big inside. You’re not going to ever get the luggage for a family of 5 in the luggage area of the Swift GLX, but with folding rear seats, it’s flexible enough for a golf bag and pull buggy, a large esky and certainly luggage for 2 or 3. The rear seats fold in a 60/40 split so you can decide to carry 1, 2 or 3 passengers in the rear seats and still get some luggage capacity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Other Side

On this angle, the sweet styling of the Swift GLX comes to the fore. Whether it’s rear three quarters or the same angle from the front, Swift GLX looks sporty, with huge taillights, smart alloy wheels, and that chunky C-pillar. I like it a lot. Entry to the rear seats is pretty easy and the switches for dropping the back seats are easily accessible.

 

 

 

 

Driver’s Seat

T

Suzuki Swift GLX

The drivers position, steering wheel and all controls for easily to hand

he Swift GLX cockpit is familiar to me – there’s a lot more switchgear than the first Swift, and everything falls to your hands easily. The only issue I had was with the gearshift. Pulling from park to drive is something that you need to pay careful attention to. If you pull directly down, you’ll engage the manual functionality of the gearbox rather than drive. I would have thought that Suzuki would have included a bump stop to prevent that. No fun thinking you’re in drive to have the engine racing because you’ve selected manual mode.

 

 

 

 

 

On The Road

What a fun car to drive. I toured the Redcliffe area and also took a short highway/mountain trip to my place at Peachester, near Australia Zoo. You can throw the Swift GLX around like a rally car and it just goes and does what it’s supposed to do. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not the sports version (due in 2018) but it’s got enough spirit to stop and go when asked. Front seat passengers and those in the rear seat found the ride comfortable, with probably the exception of the rider in the centre rear seat – she commented that whilst it was ok, she wouldn’t consider that seat for a longer trip. But that comment wasn’t unexpected. I consider the Swift GLX to be a 4 plus 1 configuration – four people comfortably and the extra one if you have to.

Insurance

I compare insurance prices through Finder.  Of course, there’s a lot of options for the buyer, but I want to point out one thing – just because you’ve been with one insurance company for a long time, doesn’t mean that you’re getting the best deal. By all means, get a quote from your current insurance company, but my suggestion is to use a comparison site such as Finder. You might be surprised at how much you can save.

These quotes are based on a male driver, 60 years of age living in postcode 4019. He paid cash for the car, uses privately, and travels up to 20,000 kilometres per year. It’s parked in a driveway during the day and in a garage overnight. No claims, no license suspensions or other charges over the past five years and he didn’t add any extra drivers. The standard excess is around $800 but can be decreased or increased depending on your budget

Quotes Received:

Bingle (Part of the Suncorp group)                   $411.26

Budget Direct                                                         $505.00

QBE                                                                          $882.93

Prices quoted can vary depending on your personal circumstances.

There’s a healthy difference between the highest and lowest. All of these companies are large insurers with plenty of policyholders so I’m not quite sure why you’d pay over $450 for one over the other.

 Towing

No towing specifications were available. I’m not even sure that you can fit a tow bar, which is a bit disappointing for those DIY people who want to tow a small trailer, but if one’s available, have a chat to your local Suzuki dealer to find out.

Price Range

Swift starts out with the GL model available in the non-metallic paint for $16990 drive away in Queensland.  Current offers (1/10/2017) have it with $300 of accessories or 12 months service. I think the service option is the better value here. The Suzuki Swift GLX is $22,990 drive away plus a metallic paint charge if that’s what you desire.

Price, as tested for this Swift GLX, is $24240 drive away in Queensland with the inclusion of a black roof

What Else Compares

There are a plethora of cars in this segment and the choice can be confusing. Suzuki Swift GLX is considered a ‘light passenger vehicle’ and some of the other entrants with 5 doors are:

Ford Fiesta               Holden Spark                      Holden Barina         Honda Jazz

Honda City               Hyundai Accent                  Kia Picanto               Kia Rio

Mazda 2                    MG3                                       Peugeot 208             Renault Clio

Skoda Fabia             Suzuki Baleno                      Toyota Yaris             VW Polo

In my humble opinion, the Swift GLX is head and shoulders above most of these but if you want to compare, try the Mazda 2, Honda City, Kia Rio or Volkswagen Polo

Surprise and Delight

I wasn’t expecting it in a small well-priced car, but the Suzuki Swift GLX has a lane departure warning system. Lane departure has worked its way into the higher priced bracket cars, where Volkswagen, BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz have included this feature in their cars for a few years. But it’s a welcome addition to the Suzuki Swift GLX.

I also love the infotainment system standard with Apple Car Play or Android Auto. Using Google maps, I find is way better than having an inbuilt factory supplied navigation system. Google maps afford the driver up to the minute directions as well as advice on traffic hazards and hold-ups. Big tick here.

Where to Find One

Whilst the test vehicle was provided by Suzuki Auto Co from Eagle Farm, I try to recommend at least two dealers to visit when you’re shopping to buy a Suzuki Swift GLX. I base these recommendations on Google’s star rating scores. If you’re searching online, Google ‘Suzuki Dealers’ and your area. So, Suzuki Dealers Brisbane will give you a list of all the dealers in Brisbane. You’re looking for the dealer or dealers that have the highest star ratings and as I write, Von Bibra Suzuki at Helensvale and Zupps Suzuki at Aspley are the dealers (1 north, the other south) that I’d suggest that you visit.

Would I Buy?

As I’ve said before, there aren’t really any bad cars on the market in Australia today. Some of the Chinese and Indian manufactured cars are less than impressive, but even they are improving their quality quickly. I’ve just inspected an MG SUV and MG small passenger car and I’m amazed at how far they’ve come in such a short time. So would I buy a Suzuki Swift GLX? Given my history with the brand, I’m sure I would if faced with the need to buy a small car. One of the other models in the Suzuki range I reviewed recently is the Suzuki S Cross. If you’re after a larger vehicle and want to stick with the Suzuki brand, read my review here https://thecarguy.com.au/suzuki-s-cross-sx4/