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May 28, 2019

Review: 2019 Suzuki Swift GLX CVT

A wise person once advised not to judge a book by its cover. If you do, it might walk (or in this case, drive) away without having told its story. Such is my experience with the 2019 Suzuki Swift GLX. Admittedly, when I hear the brand, the only model that comes to mind is the Jimny; that is, until now.

As it arrived, I thought, “This is a very cute car.” And it is, without a doubt. I liken the Swift to be the Japanese version of the MINI Cooper, a car that features a slightly nostalgic styling. Yet, it carries a sporty aura that speaks of taking on the streets in its own way; especially true with this Pearl Ablaze Red.

Compared to the previous Swift, Suzuki has made key improvements that give it more aggression. For instance, the front end is powerful, yet thankfully avoids the “all maw” look that’s prevalent of so many cars nowadays. I also like how the shape is well-proportioned throughout down to the polished 16-inch alloy wheels. It certain looks fashion-forward from the get-go.

Getting comfy with the car is a no-brainer, and surprisingly, there is more space than its exterior dimensions suggests. The front seats are generous and supportive while still allowing enough wiggle room when sitting in traffic for too long. Of note, there’s good lower back cushioning—something forgotten in cars of this class. Plus, despite its bargain positioning, the driver’s seat is adjustable for seat height. In terms of space, the front leg room is comfy, while for those in the back, it’s as expected, limited. Still, the Swift is good to fit average-sized Filipinos. Taller individuals though should exercise caution when getting in and out to avoid scraping the ceiling.

Moving on, getting acquainted with the Swift’s interior is quite easy. The gauges are easy to read and the controls are placed well. Though I understand that the round air vents are there for a dash of sportiness, a squarish-one would have fitted with the simple, modern theme better.

The interior though isn’t without problems. For one, there’s an issue with the positioning of the cup holders. Situated right below the A/C controls, it limits the size of cups it can accommodate. Once introduced to something large, say a 16-oz. Kleen Kanteen tumbler with cap, it would knock against the controls. Then, there’s the infotainment system. It offers things like Bluetooth hands-free, but even at full volume, calls could barely be heard.

Moving on to the rear of the car, the cargo space for the Swift is just right for daily commuting necessities or a weekend grocery run. It can store enough load for an out-of-town weekend drive that includes duffel bags or backpacks, and maybe a crate of food items. Taking a trip abroad? Prepare to limit it to about 2 medium-sized check-in luggage and 2 carry-on roller bags. Having experience with Tetris would be helpful, too.

Single-handedly though what’s really impressive with the Swift is the drive. Despite packing just a 1.2-liter 4-cylinder engine with 82 horsepower and 113 Nm of torque, it’s pretty fun to drive. Given its size and weight, the power is just right. Whenever I pressed on the accelerator, I didn’t have to wait long for it to respond. Beyond its spritely power, the sharp handling actually makes it quite fun to drive. There’s enough lightness making it easy to weave in and out of Manila’s crazy traffic while good visibility all around making it very easy to park.

My expectations for the 2018 Suzuki Swift did not put it on a pedestal. Perhaps, that alone gave it an advantage. After all’s said and done though, the Swift is a good contender in its class and its P 899,000 price tag doesn’t seem so bad. In spite of its little interior flaws, it comes across as an impressive sub-compact. The elements of having a lightweight compact body and a peppy engine makes the Swift a car that’s perfect for the daily drive, and even for the occasional weekend drive out. It’s the car that’s just right in almost every way.

Words and Photos by Gen Tiu.

2019 Suzuki Swift GLX CVT
Ownership 2019 Suzuki Swift GLX CVT
Year Introduced 2018
Vehicle Classification Sub-compact Hatchback
Warranty 3 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type 5-door Hatchback
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.2
Aspiration Normally Aspirated
Fuel Delivery EFI
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 82 @ 6,000
Nm @ rpm 113 @ 4,200
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 91~
Transmission CVT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 9.20 km/L @ 15 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 3,840
Width (mm) 1,735
Height (mm) 1,735
Wheelbase (mm) 2,450
Curb Weight (kg) 900
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Torsion Beam
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires Bridgestone Ecopia EP150 185/55 R 16 H (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 2
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control No
Parking Sensors Yes, Rear with Camera
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR with pre-tensioner x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features None
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front
Auto Lights No
Rain-sensing Wipers No
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Manual, 6-way
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Manual, 4-way
Seating Surface Fabric
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Yes
Audio System Stereo
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes

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