|Photos by Ulysses Ang|
End of story.
It’s a mystery why there aren’t more Swifts running around. I mean, look at it. With the exception of the overly ballooned tires (appropriately enough, they’re Goodyear) and the tall ride height (the so-called “rough road package”), it’s a looker. It’s been around for a while, but it still looks fresh and modern. The floating roof, short overhangs, and large lamp clusters all contribute to a sense of style that’s sporty yet devoid of unnecessary angles, lines, and gashes. It’s clean any way you look at it. Dig deeper and there are more interesting cues here and there. The front wiper blades come with little spoilers which contribute to less lift, hence a better wipe, at higher speed. It also comes standard with front fog lamps, turn signals integrated into the side mirrors, and a rear spoiler—normally unavailable in this price range.
Inside, the Swift’s all business. The choice of materials is reflective of its budget positioning, so it’s understandably of the hard variety. And yet, the craftsmanship is good. The texturing on the plastics is consistent and the controls all feel durable. Ergonomically, the Swift is also sound. The driver’s seat only moves four ways and the steering wheel only adjusts for tilt, but it’s easy to find the comfortable seating position in no time. All the stalks, buttons, and knobs are also chunky and can be easily operated by feel alone. And despite the budget pricing, it’s got standard iPod playback via USB and steering wheel controls. Classy move, Suzuki. There’s perhaps one minor gripe: rear visibility. It’s compromised by the small rear glass and the headrests poking out of the rear bench. Thankfully, the Swift’s stature is so small, it doesn’t necessitate having back-up sensors.
With smaller dimensions than other sub-compacts, the cramped interior is expected. Despite other sub-compacts touting how many adults and stuff it can fit inside, the Swift’s not going to do any of that. It’s got rear seats, sure, but if you need to fit three abreast, good luck. It’s best suited to two adults or three kids, assuming they’ve outgrown child seats already. It’s also got a luggage compartment with a standard cover, but it’s not exactly segment leading in anyway. What’s more, the rear seats fold down in a single piece limiting its flexibility. In short, college students, single yuppies, and empty nesters are a perfect fit for Swift ownership. Families with three kids may need to look elsewhere.
Fitted with a 1.2-liter 4-cylinder engine, the Swift 1.2 doesn’t have the figures you’ll outright crave: 87 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 114 Nm at 4,000 rpm. In reality though, it behaves in a way that matches the sporty looks. Even when mated to the 4-speed automatic, there’s good power from a standstill. It’ll even scoot all the way to triple-digit speeds when needed. And unlike the Ertiga which suffers from a peaky power delivery, this application feels much more suited. The acceleration-biased gearing maximizing the modest power outputs and doesn’t make the Swift feel taxed at any point; well, unless you’re taking it up above 130 km/h—at which point, progress on the speedometer halts. 100 km/h is hit at 2,500 rpm at top gear (compared to 2,650 rpm in the Ertiga). Fuel economy is good, registering 11.37 km/L in city driving.
While its ability to handle a straight line comes out as a surprise, the fun-to-drive nature is even more so. It’s best suited to the confines of traffic, where it feels tossable through traffic. The small stature, short overhangs, and quick steering all give a smile you your face even when you’re actually stuck at just 40 km/h. At higher speeds, the electric power steering loses more its limited communicability, but the trade-off is a very stable ride. NVH isolation is extremely good with just some tire noise managing to permeate the cabin.
Priced at P 648,000, the Suzuki Swift 1.2 is one of the best valued, if not the best, among the current crop of sub-compact hatches. The Indian-made Swift comes reasonably loaded (it has all the safety necessities for instance) and looks like a complete car inside and out. It’s also fun-to-drive and frugal. It gives up a bit in interior space (and some flexibility), but it’s a wonderful car to drive, even if you find yourself stuck in traffic most of the time. College students, take note: this makes for a great car. And in case you’re really, really, really turned off by the stance, you can always get a set of aftermarket rims and coilovers. But take extra care not to get pregnant; that child seat’s going to be a squeeze in the backseat.
2015 Suzuki Swift 1.2 A/T
|Ownership||2015 Suzuki Swift 1.2 A/T|
|Body Type||5-door Hatchback|
|Engine / Drive||F/F|
|Under the Hood|
|Aspiration||Normally Aspirated, VVT|
|Layout / # of Cylinders||Inline-4|
|BHP @ rpm||87 @ 6,000|
|Nm @ rpm||114 @ 4,000|
|Fuel / Min. Octane||Gasoline / 91~|
|Dimensions and Weights|
|Curb Weight (kg)||1,035|
|Suspension and Tires|
|Front Suspension||Independent, MacPherson Strut|
|Rear Suspension||Torsion Beam Axle|
|Front Brakes||Vented Disc|
|Tires||Goodyear Duraplus 185/65R15 S (f&r)|
|Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)||Yes|
|Traction / Stability Control||No|
|Fog Lamps||Yes, Front|
|Steering Wheel Adjustment||Tilt|
|Steering Wheel Material||Urethane|
|Folding Rear Seat||Yes, 60/40|
|Power Door Locks||Yes|
|No. of Speakers||4|
|Steering Wheel Controls||Yes|