Our Cars: Suzuki Swift 1.2

4 May 2012: Better weather, better car

The Details

Current mileage 2814
Claimed economy 56.5mpg
Actual economy 47.9mpg

The Swift first turned up on my driveway in November, so most of the time I’ve spent driving it has been in the cold darkness of the British winter. Snow and ice can be bad for a car, but even without either of those the winter isn't much fun for motorists.

First of all there’s the cold temperature, which increases fuel consumption. There are various reasons for this, including increased friction because engine oil is thicker at low temperatures. Tyre pressures are also slightly lower in cold weather because air is denser at low temperatures and this increases rolling resistance.

On top of that, fuel doesn’t burn as readily in the cold as it does in the warm. This, coupled with the fact the engine was still in its running in phase, meant that over the winter my fuel economy tended to hover around the 46mpg mark. Rarely did it rise above it.

Cue clement weather and there was a sudden improvement to almost 48mpg. If I cruise along in a 50mph zone it rises further still – so it seems the economy agrees with summer time. Not only that but the car just ‘feels’ better in warmer weather.

This year I didn’t have winter tyres fitted, contrary to my own advice. While there were never any slippery moments during the colder period, now it’s warm again the Swift feels almost like its riding on glue. The steering is very precise and the Swift can tackle corners much faster than you’ll ever need it to without breaking a sweat.

The air-con is better at keeping you cool than it is at keeping you warm too. In the winter it needs constant fiddling to maintain a comfortable temperature and takes quite a while to heat up on a chilly morning. In the warm it just ticks away, and it doesn’t seem to affect the fuel economy at all. 

None of this is to say that the Swift is bad in winter, of course, it just feels much more at home in warmer weather, as do most cars. It's just a shame that the next update will be my last, as the little Suzuki is will be leaving us in just a couple of weeks. 

« Earlier: A potted history     Later: Farewell, Swift »

Six months and 6500 miles have passed since the Suzuki Swift first arrived but now it's time to say goodbye. So how has it fared in its time with us?
4 May 2012: Better weather, better car
Most of the time I've spent with the Swift has been in the cold of winter but now the sun is out the Suzuki is much more enjoyable to drive.
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