The New Suzuki Swift | Part Two (2005)

Suzuki Swift

Suzuki Swift

Enjoyable performance

With the Swift likely to spend much of its time in urban environments or on twisting country roads, its two petrol engines, a 92 PS 1.3 litre and a 102 PS 1.5 litre, have been selected for their strong performance at low and mid-range engine speeds. The 1.5 litre also features advanced variable valve timing to maximise torque and power throughout the rev range. Peak torque figures are 114 Nm at 4200 rpm and 133 Nm at 4100 rpm, respectively.

Both engines deliver enjoyable driving characteristics, with the Swift 1.3 litre dispatching 0-62 mph in 11 seconds, the manual 1.5 litre model taking a second less, and reaching top speeds of 109 mph and 115 mph, respectively. Those figures are complemented by strong fuel economy with all models exceeding 40 mpg on the Combined cycle, including the automatic at 40.9 mpg. That rises to 43.5 mpg for the 1.5 manual and to 45.6 mpg for the 1.3 litre.

The five-speed manual transmission features satisfyingly firm and quick gear shifting thanks to an enhanced linkage arrangement. Unusually for this category, the four-speed automatic has a gated shift lever allowing the driver to enjoy gear shifting for added exhilaration.

Global outlook, European focus

The Swift is the first product of Suzuki’s radical programme of innovation aimed at strengthening its position as both a leading compact car manufacturer and one of the world’s leading motorcycle brands. The Swift provides the first glimpse of the new ideas and design approaches that will shape many new Suzuki models in years to come.

Global in its outlook and global in its production - it is built in Japan, Hungary, China and India - the Swift’s development has nonetheless focused firmly on the demands and tastes of the European market in terms of design and driving characteristics. Indeed, the design team’s first step was to establish a base in Europe, where it was able to gain a valuable insight into the European mindset and draw inspiration from the European environment. And much of the programme of chassis development and refinement resulted from extensive road and track testing across the continent.

The result is an innovative, sporty and elegant design with genuine international appeal. A whole new departure in Suzuki design, the Swift develops styling themes first seen in the Concept-S and Concept-S2 show cars, and demonstrates the company’s desire to develop original interpretations of established market segments.

The stylists deliberately shunned the trend towards ‘one-box’ uniformity, instead producing a substantive design with a distinct bonnet. Muscular, flared wheel arches, bold sills, wheels ‘in each corner’, and a broad-shouldered beltline that continues all the way to the tail lights suggest stability and provide more than a hint of the car’s dynamic appeal.

The strong curvature of the nose together with the square cut openings of the wide, deep spoiler and mesh grille add further distinction. Then there’s the wraparound glasshouse effect, created by black A- and B-pillars, and headlamp housings that sweep back into the wings to mirror the rear tail lights.

The expressively styled tailgate meets a large rear bumper that forms a solid visual base for the lower part of the body, while at the top of the tailgate the roof’s trailing edge is shaped as a spoiler - improving aerodynamics while saving a valuable 1kg over a conventional bolt-on item.

continues... | Part Three
Published 6 April 2005 Melanie Carter
 

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