Suzuki Swift Boosterjet

    The arrival of Suzuki’s new Swift complete with Boosterjet engine and in SZ5 spec I might add, here at Chez Bird also coincided with a Ferrari GTC4Lusso being here too. I know, go on… say it: how I suffer for my art. And it’s at this point that you’re probably thinking “I bet that Suzuki didn’t get much use then did it?”  Well, you’d be wrong.

    You see, both the Swift, and, err… the very swift indeed (get it?) will seat four. Both too have sat-nav, automatic air-con, traction control, Hill hold control, Tyre pressure monitoring systems, keyless entry, LED headlamps, a multifunction steering wheel, electronic stability control with adaptive cruise control, DAB, Bluetooth, folding rear seats, and rear privacy glass. Neither, it could be said, want for standard equipment. The Swift even gets Apple CarPlay - for free. In the Ferrari, believe it or not, that’s a £2,400 option.

   The Swift gets two extra doors for no extra cost too, so getting your Mum in and out is far easier than it is in a Ferrari. Trust me, I know these things. The Swift also does very nearly its claimed 65.7mpg; we regularly saw 58mpg displayed upon its dash. The Ferrari struggled to do 18 - and that’s when I drove it carefully.

   And then of then of course there’s the price. For their leather-lined grandest of grand-tourers Ferrari will relieve you of the princely sum of £231,310 – before options. Suzuki’s Swift, in this the range-topping spec costs £14,499. Or to put it another way just £3,000 more than the Italians charge for panoramic sunroof.

    You can park the Swift anywhere too. It doesn’t draw a crowd, you don’t worry that some jealous lunatic is going to drag a key down the side of it out of spite, and of course its excellent visibility and manoeuvrability means it’s a doddle to fit into even the tightest of spaces.  The boot is virtually the same size as the GTC4Lusso’s too, it’ll swallow the weekly shop with ease.

    Ah, but what about the performance?  I hear you cry. You can’t go as fast in the Swift.

   Well, no, you can’t. I’ll grant you that. But tell me: When was the last time you needed to carry four people at 208mph, or for that matter, get them from 0- 62mph in 3.4 seconds? 

    I’ll let you think about that for a moment while I tell you about the Swift’s clever Boosterjet function.

   The Boosterjet engine for the Swift has been developed with Suzuki’s ethos of reducing weight and size whilst simultaneously aiding response and smooth power delivery. The 1.0-litre 3 cylinder engine employs six-hole fuel injectors which inject petrol, at a pressure of 35 Bar, into the combustion chamber during the air intake stroke. It then forms a rich mixture around the spark plug and leaner mixture around the outer edge of the piston. This compact little triple also utilises a variable fuel pressure control system that optimises the amount of fuel injection according to driving conditions and is also Direct Injection turbocharged (DITC). As a result 125lbft of torque is available from 2,000rpm through to 3,500rpm.

   OK, that’s not exactly the stuff of supercars but in real-world driving, and when coupled to Suzuki’s sweet 5 speed gearbox (a 6 speed auto is an option) the Swift never feels sluggish.   

    That’ probably something to do with the SHVS system that was also fitted to the Swift Suzuki lent me. It’s a very mild form of petrol-electric hybrid that utilises an integrated starter generator to gently assist the engine during acceleration and also improve start-stop performance. It’s bit like a KERS system as used in Formula 1.

    It does comes with a 6.2kg weight penalty (Suzuki are very keen to point out this new, curvier Swift is actually lighter than the model it replaces) as a result of the additional a 12V lithium-ion battery mounted under the driver’s seat, but its handy extra 37lbft of electric motor-supplied torque helps to reduce CO2 emissions by 7g/km which also means the Swift now sits, just, in the sub-100g/km category.

   The system is recharged during braking, and I had great fun, out here in the Shropshire Hills, watching the bars of dashboard battery graphic disappear and then reappear again whilst simultaneously tackling a few of my favourite undulating roads.

    What I wasn’t quite so enamored with however was the Swift’s interior finish There’s a lot of hard, black and scratchy plastics on display that do little to lift your perception of its quality, or indeed to suppress road noise. But at least the driving positon and ergonomics have been well worked out, and the seats remain comfy even after a couple of hours behind the Swift’s new flat-bottomed steering wheel.

     After a week in its company I was genuinely sorry to see the Swift go. As it turned out, and somewhat surprisingly maybe, I’d done more miles in it than I had in the Ferrari.

    Driving an Italian exotic is all well and good – an experience never to be forgotten – but the truth of the pudding as they say is in the eating.

    For day-to-day driving I genuinely preferred the Swift.



Suzuki Swift 1.0 SZ5 SHVS Boosterjet

Engine: 998cc 3Cyl 12V Petrol

Power:  110 bhp @ 5,500 rpm

Torque: 125 lbft @ 2,000 – 3,500 rpm

Transmission:   5 speed manual.

Performance: 0-62 mph 10.6 sec

Max Speed: 121 mph

MPG: 65.7 Combined.

CO2: 99 g/km

Price:  From £14,499 (as driven £14,984)


Many Thanks to Jess, Alun, and Adrian at Suzuki’s UK press department for the loan of the Swift


Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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