What’s it like?
The Suzuki Swift Mk2 is a three- or five-door small hatchback that offers excellent value for money – and it always has, even when it was new. Built between 2010 and 2017, it majored on Suzuki’s usual strengths of offering a no-nonsense, well-equipped and reliable car for a very reasonable price. So, while it might not look as flashy inside as some of its contemporary rivals, it is nevertheless a sound used proposition due to its low running costs and dependability.
Obvious alternatives include the Ford Fiesta, SEAT Ibiza, Honda Jazz, Toyota Yaris, Hyundai i20, Skoda Fabia, Opel Corsa, Renault Clio and more, while you might even consider a Dacia Sandero for its similar bang-for-your-buck ethos. However, the Swift is well worth checking out because it has always been good to drive.
Which model to go for?
It is a remarkably simple engine choice for the second-generation Swift. There’s a 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol unit making up to 94hp and 118Nm that is by far the most common engine in second-hand Mk2 Swifts. Available with a five-speed manual or a four-speed auto, it also usually only drives the front wheels, although Suzuki did make a 4x4 version of this Swift for certain markets – so you might find the odd import 4x4 turning up here.
In the main, though, it’s the 1.2 or nothing, and it’s a fine engine, if a little coarse when revved and lacking torque as it’s not turbocharged. Don’t expect fizzy pace from the Swift, despite its model name, as 0-100km/h takes 12.3 seconds. However, fuel consumption of 5.0 litres/100km is not to be sniffed at, nor are CO2 emissions of just 116g/km, both of which make the Swift cheap to run. A minor tweak later in its life saw the engine rebadged DualJet, which marginally dropped power but raised torque, but essentially to run and to drive it feels exactly the same as the earlier 1.2s.
There was also a 1.3-litre diesel model, with a Fiat-sourced engine, in this generation of the Swift, but it’s vanishingly rare here. Same goes for the 1.6-litre Sport, which is a shame because this is a hoot to drive. Power from its bigger engine was up to 136hp, which trimmed the 0-100km/h time to just 8.7 seconds, but it’s the joyous way the Sport corners that makes it so much fun. Obviously, what put people off were the increased running costs: a Swift Sport will consume fuel at a rate of 6.4 litres/100km and emits 144g/km of CO2, so it’s nowhere near as efficient as the widespread 1.2.
Trim levels on the second-gen Swift usually ran SZ2, SZ3 and SZ4, although you may find a few cars badged GLX from a time before Suzuki widely introduced the SZ hierarchy. Basically, all Swifts should come with a good level of equipment, including air conditioning, remote central locking and electric windows all round. Just don’t expect the latest in cutting-edge connectivity technology from the little Suzuki and you’ll be fine.
Does anything go wrong?
While we can never say never in this section of the review, the Suzuki Swift is one of the most reliable cars you can find. Mechanically simple engines and relatively little electronic safety kit – which is a minor drawback, in fairness – at least means there’s less to go wrong. The car’s budget nature might mean some previous owners have been uncaring towards it, though, so check the history and get the best one you can find to avoid an ownership experience marred by troublesome little niggles.
Suzuki issued six recalls for the Mk2 Swift during its life. These related to the brake lines, the auto stop-start function, the water pump’s belt, the heated seats, the rear axle bolts, and – pertaining to the 1.6-litre Sport only – the rear brakes.