2006 Suzuki Swift 1.3 from Australia and New Zealand
This is a very easily accessible, practical, comfortable supermini without so much of the super
Absolutely NOTHING this far into ownership of two months.
OK - so we bought this little beastie about two months back from a local dealer, who was a reputable & registered yard specialising in Japanese imports with its own garage attached - and about 65-75 cars displayed.
She is a base model automatic 1300, in silver with wheelcaps, not mags, with the single exhaust and not a mark on her anywhere, even the bumpers, save for one tiny dimple in the rear N/S door from probably a shopping trolley.
Very cute looking overall, and narrow/tall with big doors to the front & rear for easy ingress/egress, so no issues there whatever!
The front doors are rather like minivan doors in that they open directly OUT. Basically coming down to it - you just walk IN & OUT of this car as if you were entering from the kerb level, so if you lack for any mobility or are older, you will have NO issues whatever there.
This car has nearly as new tyres all round, with a full 7mm of tread left, both to the rear AND and to the front unusually, where normally you'd find half as much AGAIN wear, so I'd say this "particular" example we chose was run gently during its 25,000-33,500 mile bedding in period.
There's plenty of room in the rear for TWO full size adults of say UP to 5 ft 10 or so. Any taller, over 6 ft+ and you might run into certain headroom issues.
Knee room was not an issue with front seat in the mid position - for me.
Rear seat comfort is OK to very good, being compliant enough in the cushion for up to 200 mile runs, although a little upright in the backrest for longer journeys than say about 85-100 miles back there - IF you could endure that however, even 200 mile trips are on the cards in this super mini, but more of the SUPER aspect side of it - or lack OF - later on in this report.
Do NOT attempt to get any more than TWO adults in the back of this edition, because it just won't work - but the seats DO fold down. You DO get a versatility in this car - one that DOES equate to being USEFUL for lugging larger loads other than just the weekly shop.
Meanwhile in the seats stakes, up front things are more "adjustable" and you'll find it's easy to recline the seat through the manual adjuster, & so with quite good under the bum cushioning by the overall standards of today (this is augmented with extra adjustability) for two people at least, I can see no reason why you should not attempt journeys as long as up to 300 miles in duration one way.
The 42 MPG helps quite a bit on a longer journey here as well, and you will find you get as many as about 320 miles or 540 km one way trip range on a brimmed to 9.5 gallon tankful, though only IF you have a light foot. I don't, & so I might get about 250 miles max - but IF you can refrain from hard motorway on ramp accelerations, nearer 300 miles OUGHT to be well in reach.
Among everything else on offer, this is very definitely an ECONOMICAL drive, even in its four stage automatic form, but it's NOT 65 MPG (!) diesel ECO.
The stoppers on the base model Swift are 10.5 inch steel discs up front with three pot calipers per side, and with otherwise conventional drum brakes to the rear with a proportioning valve & small "vacuum assist servo", which pumps the brake system back to its full efficiency again rather rapidly after a quick stop or two, and they are reputedly initially quite sensitive to even the lighter pedal pressures - so you may find you need to feather the pedal a little to avoid slight grabbing at lower TOWN speeds. Anything over 55 mph and the stoppers are good though, and progressive, and as well they will recover quite quickly from any water splash. The RS model, particularly the later ones so I'm told, have four wheel discs, but that's a full 130 mph car now for 2018 with the booster jet 1.4 - so that car will have outstanding "stopping capabilities" from 100 mph and over.
But back to the 2006 model Swift 1300 automatic we have to hand.
OK! Get it out of your head right away (if buying secondhand) that this is some kind of performance hatch, because frankly it ISN'T.
What it IS & can be relied on to do day IN and day OUT, is to deliver reliable and in the main "comfortable transportation" to and from your chosen destination, for as many as FOUR people at one time - so long as those in the front OR rear at the same time, are not far over say five foot eight in height.
When cruising "on smooth roads" at 45-50 mph it's smooth and quiet. Throw in a few potholes and the front mac struts are going to crash through fairly easily - since after all it's a narrow track car with a lot of weight in one spot.
That said - it never actually becomes uncomfortable, because the front seats are UP to IT - in about every situation you are likely to meet on give and take roads.
General ground clearance is OK as well, so farm tracks and out of the way rural driveways are not about to pose too much of an issue - IF it's dry.
If it's WET under these circumstances however, you can choose the four by four drive version lately, and these cars really grip in poor on road or greasy conditions.
So when you finally get her up onto the motorway, THIS is where you are going to notice a few things you didn't while driving at 20, 30, 40 & 50 mph...
First up! As ever, there is going to be an appreciable INCREASE in wind noise, but in THIS car, NOT until you are well up into the 80s or 135 km/hr area, & then it's just merely a slight rustle about the LARGE door mirrors, which are both in unison, electronically retractable - by the flick of a switch. So you can even "temporarily avoid" this situation if you so wish.
OK, so once on the motorway on ramp, getting up to speed is fairly easy in the definitively gated & staged 4 speed auto trans, since low is LOW (you will feel it) and your 2nd ratio, if held manually, is good for about a true 55 mph or 97 km/h at about 6000 RPM - which is spinning 500 RPM shy of the redline.
After that, on a level motorway, you can bypass 3 and click straight across into 4 where the revs then drop handily to about 4100 RPM at 75 mph or 133 km/hr, which is where you will be "at your happiest cruising" in this model. At that speed, you will find mile after mile passes by easily (and quietly), and that you can get up to a whole unprecedented 40 MPG (!) with very little trouble on a consistent light throttle opening.
Standard equipment levels on this car are good, but in no way are they exceptional, and so on a 10 star sliding scale I'd rate them at a solid 6.5.
There are other cars that offer more, but few that are as well thought out. For example, the more immediate control interface is also quite deceptively simple, in that you only realise what you HAVE got when you absolutely NEED it.
For the budget price - you get a fair decent radio with generally good reception (even away from town) through the rake multi-adjust rear mount stub aerial.
You also you get a worthy set of three speed wipers, that are sprung to STAY on the screen even at 90 mph in bad weather - those speeds are 1/2 and there's the intermittent flick wipe facility.
There's a unique natty display that comes on automatically in orange in the low light centrally ahead of you (just below the screen) and shows you the time, the outside temperature, and many other controllable, switchable functions besides, with just the briefest glance away from the road.
There's an efficient enough A/C under the sun and a fair powerful cabin heater; although there's no bleed off the main heater to DUCT the rear seats; this is a "small cabin", so even snow conditions OUGHT warm up in a few minutes.
The control column stalks are opposite in their action to those of "European cars", so if you are coming from a BMW, you may find that confusing at first, but it's ALL easy enough to get used to it in the longer term of a week or so.
Braking lights are large and bright, so you are unlikely to get someone inadvertently rear-ending you in dense traffic.
The doors are well trimmed in the front, and this carries through to the rear, & you get a couple of handy door bins and some radio speakers of average quality.
The windows are all electric one touch - and there's a solenoid central lock override.
Plastics quality ISN'T on the main dash panel where it's decidedly hard, yet still it's not coarse, but you have DO to remember "at times" that this is FAR from an expensive purchase in even the way a 3 Series BMW might be.
The view forward is "generally commanding" and the scuttle is low, yet you have considerably thick A pillars that restrict peripheral vision a little at junctions and when overtaking, so you need to bear this in mind when making those heavy traffic maneuvers that you need to in town.
You sit fairly high in the seat, and vision to all corners is good to park.
The "headlamp strength" that hasn't been commented on yet, is something that is sometimes (more often than not) overlooked, & this is quite OK to good - though again NOT exceptional in any way - you get a good enough W-I-D-E beam coverage on your low beam and an average to good on high beam. The range on high beam on an UNLIT rural road can be counted on to about 85 yards and no more than that, but then since this is NOT a high speed model, you have no need to keep up average speeds at night of more than 60 mph anyway. In fact 75 yards is more realistic for the STRONGER beam on an unlit road; that's about 220 feet, and that's enough for about up to 65 mph at night. Again it's perfectly adequate for the performance of this model of Swift, and the beams themselves are halogen projectors as far as I can determine.
OK, so that's where I am about to END this particular review of the Suzuki Swift 1300 auto - since it's NOT a sports saloon I am not about to go into the handling characteristics, either on a road or track, in any depth. Suffice it to say that the road holding & not the handling per se IS up to scratch as it ought to be! For a small front driver, under most all circumstances you are likely to meet in give and take everyday road conditions. Even for the most part in the rain, although in either second or first gear out of a steep turn, on a greasy surface, you MAY temporarily lose front traction going uphill with the weight transfer, and if you lift off in reaction, just as soon you will regain that same needed traction again.
In short and to summarise then, there's absolutely no issues ON any front that matters with this particularly sweet and well rounded little car, and so taken overall, it's a very well rounded & competitive package for most within its fairly high limits, although again I should add - it's NO RS either in its all disc braking OR in its RS style ONLY eight second acceleration.
Performance in the 1300 auto VS the "all new" for 2018 - 1400 "Booster Jet":
HP in the RS BJ goes from 97 BHP at 6100 revs now to 141 BHP at 5800 RPM, & the high performance version comes in a 6 speed close ratio manual ONLY, with a suitably specced "competition" clutch & uprated gas filled dampers.
The 1300 Swift in its 2006 configuration with 4 stage auto and the lock up torque converter for "eco reasons" on the automatic:
NO(!) for performance. What you get here instead with the torquey 1300 base, is for the 5 speed manual about 11.3 seconds to sixty, and with the 4 stage auto with the hand "lock up" converter for efficiency eco reasons, about 12.4 seconds, along with minimal converter slippage and correspondingly less power loss than with a more normally "viscous coupled" torque converter, with a nominally effective 105 mph top velocity of 170 or so km/hr. It's enough for most I guess - unless you are a dyed in the wool boy racer, where you will of course need to opt for the latest 141 BHP booster jet 1400, preferably with a 6 speed manual, for a top speed of 132 mph and a super rip snorting 0- 60 mph time for the supermini class of 8.1 seconds, along with a correspondingly good 16.4 seconds standing 1/4 mile. And you can be happy to cruise on motorways all day at 90 mph or more in 6th or 155 km/h or so, instead of 133 km/h. This all brings your MPG figures rather lower to about 30 MPG instead of 40+ though, although you DO get a slightly larger 11 gallon tank on the 1400 to compensate.
Yes, with all things, taking and bearing in mind the competitive pricing - I would highly recommend to you, if you PARTICULARLY love your driving, to go out and buy a brand new 1400 Booster Jet manual today!! You'll find it easier to achieve high point to point averages on 300 mile journeys.
There's that, and even the odd "every other weekly" visit to the track isn't out of the question when you want to let it "all hang out" for a little. And coming down to it in getting real - who doesn't once in while want to put their foot to the carpet and find out what their ride will really do, and that after all is where you all learn to become better drivers for it.
So get out and do just that today guys! Before you get old and creaky. Go enjoy your little car to the MAX, and all the best.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 8th October, 2018