What is it?
It’s the perfect example of good things coming in small packages.
Overall length is small, at 3840mm. Engine is small at 1.2 litres. Kilowatts and torque are small, at 66kW and 120Nm respectively. Bootspace with seats down is small, at just 556 litres. Even the gear ratio number is small, with just five in the manual version tested.
Economy is rated at 4.6L/100km. From the 37-litre fuel thimble, a half tank saw 300km on the clock.
What isn’t small is the little Suzuki’s big-hearted ability to bring a smile to the face.
The Swift has always been a FUN car, especially the Sport model. It’s never been a car that has relied on big numbers to induce a silly grin as it’s punted into a corner, or jiggling across an uneven surface.
It thrives in what some would see as basic appeal.
And therein lies its secret.
What’s it cost?
The Swift GL Navigator is now the doorway to the Swift range.
Suzuki has given the non-Navigator version the heave-ho, making the satnav equipped machine a steal at $16,990 driveaway.
There is the Navigator with Safety Pack, GLX Turbo, and Sport above it.
The simplicity and its basic appeal starts with the aircon. The controls are dials, not buttons. The intake is a slide switch, not a button. Climate control are words not compatible with the GL Navigator’s badge. The seats are cloth covered, manual in operation, and the driver faces a tilt only steering column.
Plastics are simple, yet stylish. The upper dash has the now almost standard Euro arch sweep from door handle to door handle, and lines out the bottom of the windscreen. That and the A pillars are almost the only part unchanged in the body’s redesign.
Inside the driver’s dash binnacle are a pair of basic dials bracketing a simple monochrome info screen. That screen offers trip and fuel usage. Want anymore? Look elsewhere.
There are six airbags, no parking sensors, and no “high end” safety aids like Adaptive Cruise Control or Autonomous Emergency Braking. It forces the driver to rely on the old style analogue computers known as brain and eyes. However there is a small concession, with a Reverse Park camera standard.
A touchscreen houses an AM/FM tuner, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and extra connectivity such as Bluetooth and voice control, plus USB/Auxiliary.
Although it’s a stubby, sub-four metre length, the Swift GL Navigator packs a decent wheelbase at 2450mm. This means that leg room is somewhere between adequate and good. Headroom and shoulder room for most are also fine.
Part of this comes from the reskin some 18 months ago. It’s subtly wider and taller than the outgoing model. The tail lights lose their sleek, metal skin integrated look, and echo the Baleno.
The front smiles at you, with the lower air intake reaching from side to side. It’s almost a moustache, with upturns at each end touching the LED driving lights. It also sits under a wide hexagonal grille.
What’s it go like?
Frankly, it will never win any races unless that race is against a snail — tied to a rock. But that’s fine. Not every car has to be a space shuttle. And that lack of quickness adds to the appeal.
Peak power arrives at 6000 revs, peak torque at 4400 revs. The 5-speed manual gives the left arm plenty of exercise as gentle or hard driving sees the softly sprung gear selector moved quickly through the cogs.
It is softly sprung, that gear selector, to the point that a spoon in freshly made jelly puts up more resistance. But the gates are clear, there is no indecision and each ratio is easily access without fuss.
The clutch is the same. Even allowing for a leg accustomed to sitting idly by while the right leg swaps between go and stop, the clutch is light, so light helium has more weight.
Yet they work TOGETHER so well it makes the act of driving and changing gears as simple and intuitive as it should be.
Ride quality varies from bang crash thump to utter indifference. Sound deadening is also not part of the Swift GL Navigator’s dictionary, as coarse chip roads set up a constant drone and rumble from the 185/55/16 rubber that overrides the radio. Steering is quick, responsive, and full of feedback in comparison.
As a package, the Swift brings in what so many others don’t. A sense of whole, with that whole being what is required to drive a car — not merely pilot it.
What we like?
- Fun factor once used to the Swift’s foibles
- Surprising room for the size
- It’s an ideal first car for a brand new driver
What we don’t like?
- Not a lot
- Well, apart from the road noise
- DAB audio to complement the apps would be nice
The bottom line?
Having sold these cars over a decade ago and seeing first-hand the choice parents would make for their teenage driver-to-be over a similarly priced and specified offering from Mitsubishi, the Swift really is an ideal first car.
The 2019 Suzuki Swift GL Navigator continues that idealism and it really is a whole lot of fun, once the gear selector and clutch mechanism softness are dealt with.
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Suzuki Swift GL Navigator, priced from $16,900 driveaway