For info on the COVID-19 pandemic say "Hi" on Whatsapp 0600 123 456 or visit

2018 Suzuki Swift Review – Swiftly Does It

  Calvin Fisher


 13 Sep, 2018

All the kudos. Some of the charm. Let me explain…

Carshop Likes:
Cute as a button. If that’s your thing
More space than something this size could possibly have

Carshop Dislikes:
Could do with a smidgen more pep in its little step
As it gets better, it loses some of that original magic

Look, I’m a believer. Of the small Japanese car. In general, and very much so when it has been engineered by the likes of Suzuki, a company synonymous with packing a lot of product into a tiny footprint.

So when the first Swift arrived in South Africa I was smitten. Maybe you, like me, fell in love with these keys because of either an obsession with Japan, or a love of video game racing in the ilk of Gran Turismo. But when the sushi-sized samurai finally arrived it was everything I wanted it to be. Cute, stylish, well-built and pure. It was engaging too. And then came the Sport and naturally, I was forever betrothed. They’re such excellent underdogs, worthy rivals to anything else in this segment but for an absolute bargain.

And then came the next one, this time built in Thailand as opposed to Japan. And that proved not to be a major issue, yay, but in certain lock-step with every other manufacturer, the designs became more ... well, 'designed'. More sweepy and swooshy, more style with less substance.

This is not my crit of Suzuki but in car design overall, I just lament how it has muddied up the purity of a stylist's pen, especially here on a car I connected with like a puppy. But now we're here with the latest generation of what is still a brilliant bargain on wheels - clearly a more refined package than it has ever been.

It looks great. But I stand by what I said

Ours is a red GL, that's the higher end model at R175,900 and it comes with a manual gearbox filled with five forward gears. There's a lowly GA in the range beneath it at R159,900 with steel wheels, and then at R189,900 Suzuki will sell you a car just like ours but with an automatic box of cogs.

It looks great, that floating grille, that intersecting C-Pillar, all interesting 'looks' I've observed trending in the motoring realm. It's resolved, but familiar. Not Swift familiar sadly, but I can't complain - it just makes me appreciate the original Swift so much more, that almost Bauhaus simplicity.

Hop aboard my cherry bomb

Drop a cheek into a comfy driver pew and you're met with a somber but stylish cabin, tactile as you like and with familar Japanese ergonomics. Sadly no funky touchscreen interface lives here, the new Jimny will be the first Suzuki with that particular honour.

Still, there's plenty to connect with plus a fair amount of luxury in which to do so, with a good deal of greenhouse for the light to come through. The seats do a decent job of gripping you and the steering wheel fills the palm, both literally and with the promise of an engaging drive. Something it only partially delivers on.

Moving forward

Vroom, but just a little bit of it, lives here. The entire range is equipped with the same 1.2 litre motor powering the front wheels. It makes for 61kW and 113Nm and that translates into a 0-100kph amble in 12 seconds and a top speed, should have the time to pursue it, of 170kph.

But the really impressive numbers are these: a claimed consumption of 4.9l/100km that we met easily and consistently, and with an CO2 footprint as tiny as it is. It weighs just 875kg despite being marginally bigger than the car it replaces and again, Suzuki work so well at turning small living spaces into 'big' ones.

But what the low weight means also is that when the road ahead gets interesting, there's not a lot of mass to chuck around, less inertia making for more direct controls all round. The result ergo, a really fun little hatchling to throw around, albeit one lacking in shunt. Got to leave something for the new Sport after all.

Okay, let’s wrap this up

So, this new Suzuki Swift can be had in six colours (but we quite like this one in red), comes with a 5-year/200 000km mechanical warranty (plus a 2-year/30 000km service plan) and at these prices remains a veritable bargain.

Should you get one? Absolutely. Don't let my begrudging comments about the styling put you off what is an excellent package that is a pleasure to drive. Especially if your domain is the city, where the Swift still thrives.

Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL Manual Specs:

Engine Naturally aspirated 3-cyl inline 1.2l
Power 61kW
Torque 113Nm
Average Fuel Consumption 4.9l/100km
0-100kph12 seconds
Top Speed 170kph
CO2 Emissions116g/km


Suzuki Swift 1.2 GA Manual R159,900.00
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL Manual (Driven) R175,900.00
Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL AMT R189,900 .00

 You Might Also Be Interested In

23 Mar, 2020
Carshop First drive: Suzuki S-Presso – Orange You glad?
Calvin Fisher gets to grips with the new cheapest car in the land.
19 Mar, 2020
Three Important Things to Know About The New Suzuki S-Presso
Kelly Lodewyks spent some time with the new, cheapest car in South Africa.
4 Feb, 2020
3 Key Things to Know About The Suzuki Swift Sport
Kelly Lodewyks shares some of the reasons why her love for the JDM supermini grows and grows.
27 Jan, 2020
#TechThursday – The Future is Underwhelming
Cruise Origin is the world’s first road ready fully autonomous car and it’s an uninspiring block; and that’s fine, says Lindsey Schutters.
8 Jan, 2020
New Year’s Resolutions For Car Owners
Kelly Lodewyks shares her finest 2020 tips for a good year of motoring.
1 Jan, 2020
Top Five Japanese Cars to Drive Before You Die
Calvin Fisher deep dives into our classifieds to find five Japanese gems.

Find the keys to your dream
Suzuki Swift

2018 1.2 GA

R 119,900

2018 Hatch 1.2 GA

R 119,900

2018 Hatch 1.2 GA

R 144,990

2018 1.2 GA

R 134,900

2017 Hatch 1.2 GL

R 129,900

2019 1.2 GA

R 149,900

All content © 2020