The Swift hatch has never been a hated car, it has however been quite neutral. But, with that said, when the new Swift Sport catches your eye you'll look twice. My word it's hot!
Following on from its launch in the Japanese domestic market in late 2016, Suzuki Motor Corporation unveiled the new Suzuki Swift for Europe at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show as its all-new global compact supermini. The new Suzuki Swift represents an automotive advancement aimed at uplifting the driver through succession, evolution and innovation. But thankfully, unlike Renault, they haven't gone and changed the entire design for their next generation.
It carries forward the Swift DNA while adopting completely new styling and a performance-enhancing, extremely light body with advanced safety technologies. The result is exterior European flair complemented by a sporty and functional interior, nimble and agile driving, and enhanced peace of mind.
In addition to its stylish exterior design in a snug size of just 3,840mm long, the new Swift features excellent visibility, a spacious cabin and ample luggage space. The development goal was to create an all-new hatchback styling that is undoubtedly Suzuki.
During interior design, lowering the seating positions have ensured sufficient head clearance (the same as for outgoing Swift for the front seats) and added 23mm vertical and lateral space for the rear seating positions. The fronts seats have been moved outwards by 10mm which has increased the centre-on-centre distance between them by 20mm. I noticed that when driving the previous version, the seats do sit quite high off the ground, much like the Hyundai Getz.
The new Swift rests on a new-generation platform called "HEARTECT" that delivers enhanced fundamental vehicle performance due to being light and highly rigid. A comprehensive overhaul of the underbody's structure and component layout resulted in the adoption of a highly rigid frame that enhances collision safety and has a continuous, smooth and curving form that better helps disperse energy.
This has led to a reduction in reinforcements, making the body a lot lighter than the current Swift, and greatly contributing to lower fuel consumption and vast improvements in the fundamental vehicle functions of running, turning and braking. Also, optimising the underbody together with the components that are attached to it as a unified whole rather than focusing on the partial optimisation of individual components. This strategy has reduced NVH (Noise, vibration, and harshness) by three percent overall at 62mph for improved driving comfort.
This new platform or underbody of new Swift is now 30kg lighter which has contributed to the car registering a kerb weight of just 890kg (SZ3 model) which is over 100kg lighter overall than before.
The bodyshell is also of lightweight construction and includes the use of Ultra High tensile steel (980Mpa) across 17 percent of its structure and High tensile steel (789 MPa) across four percent of its structure.
The new Suzuki Swift is 10mm shorter than the outgoing model, while its wheelbase is 20mm longer, creating more interior room including 20 percent more luggage capacity at 265L, or 54 litres more than the current Swift. It is 15mm lower and 40mm wider, further accentuating its low and wide stance. The European Swift is 40mm wider and has a wider track than the Japanese Domestic model.
Behind the New Suzuki Swift: Aspects of Styling Innovation
Development of the new Swift's exterior design was based on the concept of a "bold evolution of Swift's DNA". While resolute efforts were made so that the new Swift would inherit the model's characteristic styling, elements that needed refreshing were boldly transformed to innovatively evolve the new car.
Enhanced carry-over elements include strong shoulders, blacked-out A-pillars and vertically arranged front and rear lamps. Swift now offers a more emotional appearance together with a muscular and well-grounded look. The body is shorter, lower and wider, while a wide and aggressive front grille, supporting bumper grille character lines all express strength.
The look of a low centre of gravity is further established by blacked-out pillars that create the appearance of a floating roof. Pillar-mounted door handles add both style and a sporty flair, while a high-tech look comes in the form of LED signature illumination used in the headlamps and rear-combination lamps (SZ5 model).
For the interior, the highly dimensional instrument panel highlights a sense of nimble speed, while sporty and sophisticated white accents and satin chrome throughout the cockpit work with a basic tone of black to create a high contrast interior space. The instrument cluster features either a colour or monochrome LCD in the centre, with a coolant temperature and fuel gauge incorporated within the two main gauges.
Other interior features include a centre console turned five degrees towards the driver, front seats with optimised shape and spring position with heightened side bolsters, new design steering wheel with 'D'-shape section and an LED auto air conditioning panel (SZ5 models).
Adopting Suzuki's new generation platform strategy minimised the size of the engine compartment which has enabled maximising the space available for cabin occupants and luggage. Within its compact body size, Swift features a roomy and comfortable cabin with ample space between occupants, ample headroom and legroom contributing to its relaxing environment.
Development of New Swift: Put through its paces in Europe
In order to suit the needs of European customers, Suzuki knew that simply designing and developing the new Swift in Japan would not be sufficient. So it turned to the roads of Europe, where teams of local evaluation drivers helped to hone the new car.
The new Suzuki Swift suspension utilises traditional MacPherson strut design at the front and beam axle at the rear while various upgrades were made during development. For example, the front stabiliser bar is now shorter and of hollow design and the subframe is of lighter construction. At the rear, redesigned components include a new shape cross member and modified trailing arms to further enhance cornering stability.
The steering rack is of variable ratio design which allows the angle of the wheels to change depending on steering input. The variable ratio increases response when the driver begins to turn the wheel to help achieve more direct and sharper handling.
For greater manoeuvrability, this system has a wider turning angle than before which has helped reduced the turning radius to just 4.8 metres, 0.45 metres tighter than the previous Swift. The steering rack itself is also of hollow design to help reduce weight.
Standard equipment for all models in the range is comprehensive and the SZ3 model with 1.2-litre Dualjet engine and manual transmission includes six airbags, air conditioning, leather steering wheel, privacy glass, DAB radio with Bluetooth and four speakers, LED daytime running lights, 15-inch wheels, body coloured door mirrors and front electric windows.
The SZ-T model available with 1.0-litre Boosterjet engine and manual transmission adds rearview camera, Smartphone link display audio, 16-inch alloy wheels and front fog lamps.
SZ5 is available in three variations which are 1.0-litre Boosterjet SHVS with manual transmission, 1.0-litre Boosterjet automatic and 1.2-litre Dualjet with SHVS and ALLGRIP Auto. Specification for the SZ5 adds auto air conditioning, 16-inch polished alloy wheels, satellite navigation, Advanced forward detection system, keyless entry and start, rear electric windows, LED Headlamps, LED Combination rear lamps, adaptive cruise control and six speakers. A full equipment table is listed at the end of this press pack.
Swift is available in one solid colour, six optional metallic colours and three dual-tone metallic colours whereby the roof colour is either Super Black Pearl or Premium Silver Metallic.
After the debut of the 1.0-litre three cylinder Boosterjet in the Baleno and S-Cross models during 2016, this engine technology is now extended to the new Suzuki Swift. Offering the same level of power and torque of a much larger capacity normally aspirated engine (1.7-1.8-litre), it delivers an effortless drive and genuine driving pleasure.
This unit has an output of 111PS and is also Direct Injection turbocharged (DITC). The engine has very compact dimensions and offers 170Nm of torque available from 2,000rpm through to 3,500rpm. The optional six speed automatic transmission model offers 160Nm of torque which is available slightly earlier from just 1,700rpm through to 4,000rpm.
Boosterjet technology is developed by Suzuki and is characterised by improved fuel efficiency and driving pleasure made possible by using a small displacement, high torque turbocharger. By controlling the wastegate valve, which closes to create higher boost pressure during heavy load operation and remains open during normal driving, the Boosterjet system reduces pumping loss, thus achieving high levels of both power and fuel-efficiency. An air bypass valve is also utilised to prevent turbo 'stall' after the throttle has been closed and then quickly reopened.
The 1.0-litre engine employs six-hole fuel injectors and high tumble port technologies to inject fuel with a high combustion efficiency to provide greater fuel economy and improved power output.
Fuel is injected at a pressure of 35 Bar into the combustion chamber during the air intake stroke which then forms a rich mixture around the spark plug and leaner mixture around the outer edge of the piston. The tumble flow of the fuel is created by utilising a straight intake port and a complex shape piston crown design.
The Boosterjet engine for Swift has been developed with Suzuki's ethos of reducing weight and size with added response and smooth power delivery to achieve the characteristics that Suzuki engines are renowned for.
The 1.0-litre engine offers strong benefits in performance too with 0-62mph acceleration time of 10.6 seconds with manual transmission and a slightly faster time of 10.0 seconds for the optional automatic gearbox model. Maximum speed, where permitted, is 200km/h for manual and 190km/h for the automatic.
In summary, Dualjet incorporates Suzuki's latest engine technology and uses twin fuel injectors for improved fuel economy. Utilising Dualjet design that positions the fuel injectors very close to the engine inlet valves allows for a finer fuel atomisation (or mixture) which in turn provides a more effective transfer into the cylinder. Internal modifications to the engine include the use of a new design inlet port and combustion chamber. Other mechanical parts are also modified to reduce frictional losses and facilitate smoother running.
The piston crowns are modified with a slight bowl shape to achieve higher air turbulence inside the cylinder and the pistons incorporate cooling oil jets to help reduce internal temperatures. Additionally, an Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system is used which helps avoid abnormal combustion or 'knocking'. The maximum power output is 90PS with a torque figure of 120Nm at 4,400rpm. Acceleration time to 62mph is 11.9 seconds for the SZ3 2WD and 12.6 seconds for the SHVS ALLGRIP equipped model.
The SHVS mild hybrid system is a compact and lightweight system that incorporates an Integrated Starter Generator (known as ISG) which acts as both a generator and starter motor, the ISG is belt driven and assists the engine during vehicle take off and acceleration and also generates electricity through regenerative braking. In new Swift, SHVS is available together with Boosterjet for the first time and results in CO2 emissions as low as 97g/km.
The system also uses a compact high performance 12V lithium-ion battery placed under the front passenger seat to store energy and incorporates an idle stop function operated via the Integrated Start Generator. The SHVS system only uses its conventional engine starter motor when first started from cold, under all other conditions it uses the ISG unit to allow smooth and quiet engine restarts. The ISG unit has a power output of 2.3kW and a torque figure of 50Nm.
The energy assistance provided during acceleration enables the SHVS to be known as a mild hybrid system which is ideally suited to a compact car and adds just 6.2kg to the overall weight.
In situations that require higher fuel use, such as when starting from a standstill or accelerating, SHVS helps suppress fuel consumption by providing electric motor assist using electricity generated through regenerative braking. Because the ISG uses a belt drive rather than a conventional starter motor to restart the engine after an automatic engine stop it allows for a quiet and smooth start.
Furthermore, the light and long-life lithium-ion battery has excellent regenerative efficiency, which increases the frequency of engine assists. The battery also supplies power to electrical components for the engine, instruments and also the audio system.
4WD (ALLGRIP AUTO)
The new Suzuki Swift adopts Suzuki's ALLGRIP Auto four-wheel drive system and is available as an option on the SZ5 model with 1.2-litre engine. First introduced in the previous generation Swift in 2014 this is a well proven and simple fully automatic and permanent four-wheel drive layout which transfers additional torque to the rear wheels when required via a viscous coupling.
The viscous coupling essentially takes on the role of a centre differential to connect the front and rear axles and is made up of two sets of annular metal plates which rotate in a casing containing a silicon type fluid. In normal operating conditions the plates will turn at the same rate but when wheel slippage occurs the silicone fluid will quickly become highly viscous when heated by increased friction and shear caused by differences between the movements of the plates.
In summary, one part of the viscous coupling is connected to the driving axle and one part to the driven axle. When the front wheels spin the centre viscous coupling locks due to friction and shear caused by the differences in motion of the plates which will then rapidly transfer more torque to the rear axle.
Advanced Safety equipment
The Swift adopts Suzuki's Total Effective Control Technology (TECT) concept that provides a high level of collision safety. Some of the features include collapsible structures that absorb impact energy in the event of a collision, a frame structure that effectively disperses impact energy, and rigid cabin structure.
Other safety features include ESP® (Electronic Stability Program), which helps ensure stability while driving, along with front, side and curtain airbags to protect occupants in the event of a collision from the front or side.
Advanced Forward Detection System
The new Swift SZ5 features Suzuki's first use of an advanced forward detection system that combines a monocular camera and a laser sensor for advanced safety functions, including autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and high beam assist. It also uses millimetre-wave radar to enable adaptive cruise control.
The advanced forward detection system monocular camera excels at mid to long distance detection and also recognition of traffic elements including pedestrians and lane markers. The laser sensor excels at monitoring shorter distance hazards and also night vision detection.
Dual Sensor Brake Support (DSBS) - SZ5 Grade
The advanced forward detection system supports numerous safety technologies, chief among which is collision-mitigating Dual Sensor Brake Support (DSBS). With DSBS, at vehicle speeds from approximately 3mph to 62mph, if the system determines a risk of collision with a forward obstacle, it issues both an audio and visual warning. If there is a high risk of collision with a forward obstacle and the driver panic brakes, the system deploys brake assist, increasing braking force. If the risk of a collision increases, even more, the system applies full automatic braking in an effort to avoid the collision or reduce damage.
High beam assist
At speeds of 25mph or higher, high beam assist is designed to automatically switch the headlights between "High" and "Low", depending on the presence of other vehicles and also the lighting environment.
Adaptive cruise control
When there is a vehicle in front, the adaptive cruise control system uses millimetre-wave radar to gauge the distance to it and automatically maintains vehicle-to-vehicle distance in line with the setting selected out of three possible settings. When there is no vehicle in front, the system maintains the speed as input by the driver.
Lane departure warning function
When the vehicle is travelling at speeds of approximately 37mph or above and is departing the lane without the driver using a turn signal, the system vibrates the steering wheel and lights a warning indicator in the instrument cluster to draw attention to lane departures caused by factors such as inattention to the road.
Weaving alert function
When the vehicle is travelling at speeds of approximately 37mph or above and is weaving from side to side within a lane, the system sounds a warning buzzer and lights an indicator on the instrument panel. This quickly draws the driver's attention to weaving caused by drowsiness or other factors.
Advanced Multi-information display – SZ5 grade
The SZ5 model is equipped with a 4.2 inch high-definition colour LCD display that shows a range of information including engine output and torque data, fuel consumption, average speed, acceleration and brake operation as well as driving G-force tracking. For the SHVS model an energy flow diagram is also included.
Guide Me Lights
For convenience and safety after parking the car at night or when returning to it, Suzuki Swift SZ5 is fitted as standard with a 'guide me light' function that enables the dipped beam headlamps to remain on for 10 seconds after the door is locked/unlocked. This facility can also be adjusted to up to 25 seconds duration via the settings mode of the instrument cluster.
Display audio system with navigation and smartphone connectivity
The audio system for both SZ-T and SZ5 models has a Smartphone Linkage Display Audio (SLDA) with a large seven-inch touch panel display that enables intuitive operation. On the SZ5 grade a three-dimensional navigation map makes landmarks easy to distinguish and the system also allows the driver to use certain smartphone applications with MirrorLink, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connection.
Apple CarPlay is the smarter and safer way to use iPhone in the Suzuki Swift. Apart from making calls it also facilitates receiving directions for optimised traffic conditions, listening to music, accessing email, text messages and more.
Track (Dependent on Grade / Tyre size)