After driving the new Suzuki Swift at its launch in Monaco, Simon Davis heads out in our new long-termer on UK roads
When I caught my first glimpse of the press images for the new Suzuki Swift, I have to admit that I was disappointed. I thought that Suzuki had taken what was a cute and attractive supermini and absolutely bottled it.
I held on to this belief right up until I arrived at the model launch in Monaco back in March. In the metal, it's actually quite an attractive little car. To top things off, I thought the new model was a rather cracking car to drive, too.
So, when I found out that Suzuki would be supplying us with a Swift as a long-termer, I was eager to find out if the car I had grown to be quite fond of in Monaco was as impressive back on home soil.
One of the things I liked most about the Swift when I drove it on the launch was the fact that it felt like a little go-kart, egging you on to really chuck it into corners and work the peppy little engine hard.
After sliding down into the comfortable, supportive seats of our long-termer, I was happy to find that this sense of eagerness had not just been a figment of my imagination that was spurred on by the immense scenery offered up by southern France.
Now, let's get one thing straight, while the little Suzuki might be Swift by name, it certainly isn't swift by nature.
Our SZ5 model – that's the top-of-the-line one – is fitted with a 1.2-litre petrol engine that develops a meagre 89bhp and 120Nm of torque. This allows for a 0-60mph time of 12.4 seconds, and a top speed of just 106mph.
However, while it may have all the get up and go of a glacier, it's still a very entertaining car. The steering has a healthy weight to it, and because the engine is so lacking in power, you can really work the five-speed manual gearbox to keep the revs up and maintain your speed through the corners. It's even got an all-wheel drive system, which makes the Swift feel even more planted.
The only time the Swift's lack of power becomes a bit of a problem is out on the motorway. There's very little there to help you pick up speed, and dropping down a couple of gears really causes the four-cylinder engine to make itself heard.
If you're planning on overtaking out on a regular road, you'd better make sure you've got plenty of space in front of you, as it's going to take some time.
As this is the top-spec SZ5 model, I should probably talk about the toys on offer. There's a touchscreen infotainment system with satellite navigation, DAB radio, Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity, as well as 16-inch alloys and rear privacy glass. Not bad for the £16,149 asking price of our long-termer.
While our car's exterior may look rather funky thanks to its contrasting silver roof and wing mirrors, the same can't really be said of the interior. The cabin is basic in its design, with a good deal of scratchy plastic used on multiple surfaces throughout.
You certainly get the sense that this is a car that has been designed to be cheap and cheerful, as opposed to plush and upmarket. This certainly isn't a pretentious car, which is a good thing in my mind.
As far as boot space is concerned, our Swift offers up 254 litres of storage space – which is by no means class-leading. However, it more than suits the needs of yours truly, and managed to swallow up a decent-sized weekly shop with room to spare.
So, that about covers all the main points of our new long-termer. At the moment, the Swift remains firmly in my good books. I can definitely say that I'm looking forward to spending more time with it over the coming months.
Model: Suzuki Swift 1.2 SZ5 SHVS Dualjet 4WD
Engine: 1.2-litre, four-cylinder petrol
Max speed: 106mph
0-60MPH: 12.4 seconds
MPG (combined): 62.8
Mileage (to date: 1,981