1998 Suzuki Swift DLX 1.3 SOHC 16v from North America


Sporty car, that the girls like, and the boys make fun of


I've replace the front brake pads at 154,000Km.

Replaced all the exterior lights, only one headlight bulb was not factory, the other had "Nov 97" stamped on the plastic.

Replaced clutch, and rebuilt the transmission, due to a bad 2nd gear syncro.

Front suspension issues caused by a shop that did very very poor work, as in I had the passenger front left strut come undone from the upper strut mount while driving. I have since repaired and replaced all the damaged components.

General Comments:

Dealer parts are highly overpriced, even after managing to wring a 10% discount out of them.

I've had to replace the entire front suspension; this is due to poor previous ownership, as 10 years later they were all factory parts.

Had to replace the rear washer fluid line due to the previous owner using electrical tape to seal (didn't work) the cracks in the line.

There is rust over the rear drivers side wheel well, also both rocker panels have rust issues. Both of these are issues with proper maintenance or the lack there of.

The exhaust system is currently giving me problems, but that is probably due to the absolute hack job quality of repairs done to it prior. It is leaking and is rattling away.

There is a hole in the carpet where the drivers feet rest, this was caused bye dirt and gravel build up not being cleaned out.

Also as the previous owner was a rather heavy set gentleman, I have to replace the front drivers seat as the foam is crushed.

So far every issue I've corrected with this car is the result of a lack of care from the previous owner. Who ironically is or was a Dodge truck mechanic.

Due to the dealer costs for repairing this car, I'm happy that I've done most of the work, and sourced jobber parts for the repairs.

The car gets excellent fuel mileage of 40-45mpg in mixed driving, and is quite peppy (breaks traction shifting into 2nd at 40+kph). I knew it was a work of TLC when I bought this car, but it has never left me stranded on the roadside yet, and responds very nicely to just being cared for properly (runs better after a wash, wierd eh?).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th June, 2008

5th Jun 2012, 12:57

I agree with the maintenance aspect. People buy cars, drive off the lot and don't give a thought to maintenance. That's why you see cars that are only 5-6 years old stranded on the side of the highway. As long as it moves when you step on the gas, who cares?

I like that people are out there who do maintain even the cheapest, sometimes not-so-good looking cars. I have a 08 Mustang Shelby, a 600hp supercharged Corvette viper green with ghost flames and about 50000$ in mods........ and a black 98 Suzuki Swift!! And the Swift gets looked after (and detailed) as often as the two others... Yes, a clean car does run better!!! Probably just superstition from car buffs, but when you look after them, they usually do the same for you. And I get almost as much gratification getting 50 plus mpg cruzin at 120 km/h, as I do driving the other two.

29th Jun 2012, 05:02

Thanks for your article.

I have a few questions though!

In a week I'm driving from Charlottetown, PEI to Dawson City, Yukon with my 1998 Suzuki Swift. Around 7242kms, 2 week drive. Do you think it would make it? The Swift only have 152xxxkms on it. I just got it inspected as well. It's not in bad shape at all, I'm just nervous, it's a long drive for a little car!

Thank you, Jessica.

11th Nov 2012, 05:31

I posted the reply above, and I commute every ten days between Kamloops BC and our charter airstrip in Calgary AB... That's about 650 kms every 10 days... Been doing it for 9 months now, and no problems at all.

1998 Suzuki Swift 1.3 16v from North America


The Swift is fun to drive, economical, and reliable.


The muffler needed to be replaced at 96,000 miles due to rust.

General Comments:

The Swift is very fast for its size. My friend has a 1998 Pontiac Grand Am GT, and I can keep up in my Swift with ease.

The best part about the Swift is that it gets almost 40 mpg with a mix of highway and city driving.

The interior, in my opinion, is it's only downfall. It has plenty of room in the front seat, but the back seat is cramped for anyone over 5' tall. However, the rear seat folds down, and because the rear hatch opens so wide, you are able to fit things in it that wouldn't fit in most cars trunks.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th June, 2005

8th Dec 2005, 04:47

I appreciate your review. I am thinking about buying a Swift or a Metro. Since I will be doing a lot of highway travel, can anyone tell me what these cars are like at 70-80mph?

5th Jun 2012, 12:46

I have owned a 98 Swift 5 speed for a few months now. I bought it strictly as a highway commuter. I travel about 350 kms all highway each way, every ten days between a small BC town and the Calgary Int'l airport.

I have easily had the car around 150 Km/h, just to see what it would do. I generally drive about 110-120 km/h, which is around 65-75 mph, and the car is very stable.

Some areas of the drive are extremely windy along the foothills, but it's not as bad as I thought. It's very light, yes, but such a small surface area doesn't absorb wind gusts like a larger car. As long as your front end components, alignment and tires are all well maintained, they are great. It's a little weird at first when you hit those speeds, but after a couple miles you are used to it.

Road noise is obviously higher than most cars, but not a big deal. The engine is usually around 3000 rpm at 110km/h, which ain't bad. It's actually geared quite well to suit the little engine, so that even on mountain passes and grades, it's not totally gutless. Even doing 90-100 km/h, you still have a bit of juice to pass. Takes a bit more advance planning though. :)

5th Jun 2012, 12:48

I forgot to add, I consistently use about 4.5 - 5 liters per 100 kms traveled strictly highway. That's around 50 MPG give or take!!! And I check all the time.