Our Cars: Suzuki Swift 1.2

6 January 2012: Spot the difference

The Details

Mileage 1921
Claimed economy 56.5mpg
Actual economy 46.2mpg

When the current Suzuki Swift was introduced in 2010 there was a bit of confusion. The press information may say ‘all-new’ but it looks suspiciously like the old model. That’s hardly a problem because it’s a handsome little car. Perhaps they went by the adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

To the untrained eye, the styling of the two models is identical, but if you catch a new Swift and an old Swift side by side you’ll notice they’re very different indeed. The new model is slightly taller, slightly wider and slightly longer.

It’s got bigger, more angular head lights and tail lights, and a little ‘rump’ at the rear, like a toned down Megane. So it is different, after all, and the changes to the Swift are more than skin deep – beneath the metal there’s a lot to separate this car from its predecessor.

The old model had a 1.3-litre 16v engine with emissions of 140g/km and an official economy figure of 49mpg. That meant an annual VED bill of £110. The new car, though, has emissions of 116g/km, saving you £80 a year on tax. You’ll also get further on a gallon of fuel – the official figure is 57mpg.

The new model achieves this by merit of its new engine, which is a 1.2-litre 16v with 93bhp. It’s all-alloy, which means it’s light and eager to rev. Despite having a lower capacity than engine in the old model, the new car has a whole extra horsepower (yes, one horsepower), so there’s nothing lost in terms of performance for those gains in economy and emissions.

Quality is improved, too. The cabin of the old car was acceptable, but felt a little lacking in terms of charm, and the plastics left a lot to be desired. The interior of the new model is much more attractive, with a well designed centre stack, textured plastics and better fabric upholstery on the more supportive seats. In the image below, you'll see the new model at the top and the old one underneath. 


Indeed, the only areas in which the new car loses out, really, are boot space and acceleration. The boot is two litres smaller, and the car takes 1.3 seconds longer to reach 62mph from standing – something unnoticeable in practice.

If those differences are deal breakers then there must be something wrong! See below for a direct comparison of the key statistics.

What's good:

It's more efficient: The new model is more efficient than the old model, meaning fewer visits to the pumps and cheaper annual road tax bills.

And what's not:

Dulled performance: It takes slightly longer for the new model to hit 62mph. Having said that, it still feels... swift.


Suzuki Swift 1.3 SZ4 (2005)

Suzuki Swift 1.2 SZ4 (2010)

Combined economy



CO2 emissions



VED band

E (£110 annually)

C (£30 annually)







Top speed




11 seconds

12.3 seconds

Kerb weight















Boot space

213 litres

211 litres

« Earlier: Disaster!     Later: That's interesting... »

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