Swift little car is a gem for in and around town

Bruce Fraser

Bruce Fraser

It's not often one receives back-to-back vehicles for testing from the same motor manufacturer, but that's exactly what happened recently when we swopped Suzuki's impressive SX4 for its smaller sibling, the Swift.

Initial concerns about downsizing from the 2litre SX4 to the 1,5litre Swift were quickly dispelled as a weekend away with this entry-level vehicle in the Suzuki range proved once again that the Japanese know a thing or two when it comes to the small car segment.

The Swift comes in three derivatives - the 1,5 GL, a slightly higher specced 1,5 GLS and lastly the 1,5 GLS automatic.

We tested the GLS five-speed manual, but all three are identical in the majority of specifications.

A word of warning though, if you're going on holiday in the Swift, two small bags and the space in the boot is taken care of.

Depending on how many passengers are in the car, the back seats can easily fold down for extra luggage space.

Don't let this put you off though, as the majority of consumers will be buying the vehicle for its around-town capabilities - of which there are many.

Excellent fuel consumption - we got just under 7litres for 100km, a small turning circle radius - which makes parking a breeze - and a whole bevy of extras that include power steering, electric windows and air conditioning all add up to a comfortable, pleasant and hassle-free drive.

Heading up the N1 to Bela Bela, the vehicle happily cruised along at the national speed limit and the MacPherson suspension soaked up the bumps.

Priced at R123900, the GLS doesn't fall into the "cheap" category, but kudos to Suzuki for taking safety seriously and not skimping on what should be essential requirements for any motor vehicle in this day and age.

Air bags, ABS brakes, brake assist, child-proof rear door locks and an immobiliser are all standard features and whereas some motor manufacturers will omit the above for the sake of keeping prices low, the Swift comes in with a very credible 4-Star Euro Ncap safety rating.

To sum up in one word, the Swift I would say is "practical". It avoids some of the cosmetic gimmicks of its rivals and provides a safe, economical and practical driving experience.

What more can one ask for in these recession-hit times?

l The Suzuki range comes with a 3-year warranty and a 4-year service plan plus roadside assistance.