Suzuki Swift first made its mark on the Malaysian shores back in 2005. It received a very welcoming response from the local crowd, especially those who were really into B-segment cars due to its relatively affordable pricing and practicality as well as quality. A year after it was introduced, Suzuki brought in the Sport variant to pander to those ‘boy racers’ and in 2007, the popular Swift was made as a CKD, making it even cheaper and lusted.
In January 2013, Suzuki launched the new Swift, which happens to be the third generation Swift. Truthfully, it took quite a while for me to brood over the design of the new Swift as it looks like a carbon copy of the old one. Maybe Suzuki were holding to the famous “if it ain’t broken don’t fix it” principle when they designed the car (which is good in some situation), but we are all aware that the other competitors in the fierce B-segment are stepping up in designing their cars to win the hearts of the consumers. That being said, the Swift is still attractive, especially to young females.
The new Swift measures at 3,850 mm long, 1,695 mm wide and 1,150 mm tall, making it beyond doubt bigger then the second gen sibling. Wheelbase has also grown 40 mm longer at 2,430 mm. Despite the extended dimensions, the new Swift does not gain any weight. In fact, it loses approximately 60 kg of weight over the older model. Pretty impressive.
We have always thought that the Swift was a basic, practical car and the interior proved that we were right. The cabin is adorned in black and silver colour scheme, with the silver trimmings making themselves apparent on the dashboard, door panels as well as the leather-wrapped steering wheel. The layout is simple and every button is well placed within reach. The centre console is enhanced with the a two-DIN CD player with MP3 and USB functionality stacked on top of the automatic climate control. Talking about the audio system, the unit we tested – the GLX, comes with six speakers which produce decent sound quality.
We are not sure why Suzuki decided to use a smaller engine for the new Swift but they did it anyway and it certainly rubbed some of the fans the wrong way, which is understandable. On paper, the new K14B 1.4-litre, four-inline mill is coupled to a four-speed automatic transmission, produces 94 hp at 6,000 rpm and 130 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. The figures are in fact more minuscule compared to the 100 hp/133 Nm available in the olden Swift. However, the new Swift recoups its bantam power figures with its curb weight of only 1,000 kg.
We drove the car to Kemaman during the general election weekend and not to praise anybody to the skies but the Swift did really well during the trip. First, we thought the car was going to struggle climbing the hills on Karak highway but it did not as there was plenty of torque available at low rpms, making the climb easier. On straight roads, the lightweight car was quite impressive. The needle could hit easily hit beyond 130 km/h but we reckon a five-speed transmission is what the car really needs. However, we were quite hindered with how the electro-actuated steering felt. It was too light at low speed, resulting in a rather unresponsive handling thus giving us less fun experience carving the Karak bends.
Another thing that deserves a praise is the MacPherson strut and torsion beam set-up, which are pleasant and spine-friendly. The set-up is soft and it absorbed those uneven surfaces of the trunk roads around Kemaman and Cherating quite well. Regardless its cushy character, the set-up works favourably with the car’s light body, reducing the infamous body roll.
Well, one obvious advantage of having a small displacement engine is how economical the engine can be and the new Swift is not excluded. We left town with a full tank and with an average speed of about 110 km/h, we arrived at Kemaman three hours later with the needle well above the half mark of the fuel gauge. Not bad. The average fuel consumption and range are displayed right in the middle of the simple instrument cluster.
The cabin, again, may not be the most luxurious cabin offered in the segment but it was still quite comfortable and relatively roomy. We put two grown-ups in the back seat and from what we could see, there were plenty of room for one more person. The boot, however, is rather disappointing. Put a few medium-sized bags and it is nearly full. Not good if you have more than one child and a wife who brings half her wardrobe on a single trip.
We were pretty impressed with the car’s overall performance although there are still plenty of room for improvement, in terms of design mostly. It’s not the most rakish hatchback we have ever seen and Suzuki needs to fix that soon to compete with other big players in the segment. With a price tag of RM76,445.50 the 2013 Suzuki Swift will find itself wading in the dangerous waters together with another B-segment contender from Korea.
|Price||RM76,445.50 (OTR With Insurance)|
|Engine Type||1.4-litre DOHC VVT|
|Power||94 hp @ 6,000 rpm|
|Torque||130 Nm @ 4,000 rpm|
|Gearbox||4-Speed Automatic Transmission|
|Kerb Weight||1,000 Kg|
|Body Type||5-Door Hatchback|