The feisty little compact hatchback drops the turbo three-cylinder for an electrically assisted four-cylinder
The Suzuki Swift was given a mid-life update recently back in its home market of Japan, and Singapore is getting ours too with Suzuki distributor Champion Motors announcing the launch of the 1.2-litre mild hybrid version today, replacing the 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo version that has been sold here since 2018.
Carrying a sticker price of $86,900 with COE, the car uses essentially the same body panels as before, with the only noticeable cosmetic difference being a redesigned front intake grille with a horizontal chrome stripe across.
What’s of interest though is that the car is claimed to be very economical, with an official fuel economy rating of 24.2km/l. Official emissions figures were not disclosed, but it’s below 120g/km as the car is rated in the A2 VES band, the second most efficient category.
The hybrid credentials on the car comes from the fact that the 1.2-litre K12C engine is paired with an Integrated Starter Generator (ISG). It’s really a mild hybrid system, as the ISG generates electricity for the onboard electronics, taking some load off the engine, as well as helping to restart and assist the engine as a motor.
Charge is stored in a 12V lithium-ion battery and juiced up through regenerative braking. The internal combustion engine alone is rated at 81 horsepower which doesn’t sound like a lot these days, but during acceleration the 1.94kW electric motor kicks in, which should make the car feel quite zippy under 60km/h. The system drives the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission, and the official 0 to 100km/h sprint time is 12.2 seconds.
One thing that the Suzuki Swift always had going for is that it’s very comprehensively packed with safety features and the trend continues here. Marketed as the Suzuki Safety Support Suite, it includes adaptive cruise control, hill hold assist, electronic stability programme, lane departure warning, weaving alert, and a full complement of six airbags. Many of these features are typically only found in vehicles a size up from this category and price point.
The entertainment system is also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto enabled. You’ll be quite spoiled for choice on colour schemes too, as there are 10 colour options including four two-tone paint schemes.
Suzuki’s Swift is one of the most versatile compact hatchback platforms in the world largely because of the HEARTECT platform that it is built on. Designed and engineered as a unified whole for excellent chassis rigidity while reducing noise from mechanical vibrations.
Meanwhile, the Suzuki Swift Sport, which is not officially sold in Singapore, was updated in mid-2020 in other markets. In Europe, the old K14C 1.4-litre turbo engine was replaced with a K14D variant to meet Euro 6d emissions standards. Despite a slight power drop from 140hp to 129hp, it gained a mild hybrid system as well for more off-the-line torque.
Small and compact hatchbacks may have lost some ground to the current crossover SUV trend, but cars like the Suzuki Swift and its stalwart rival the Honda Jazz still have a lot to offer for drivers that prefer smaller, nimbler drives.