Swift’s electric charge

Suzuki Swift Hybrid Allgrip

By Bill McCarthy

AS the electric revolution moves on at pace, so the hybrid, once expensive and exclusive, is now pretty mainstream.

Becoming mainstream, means even small vehicles are now using the technology with Suzuki’s excellent Swifti no exception.

A so-called mild hybrid the SHVS includes a battery under the passenger seat which powers an electric motor which in turn boosts power to the 1.2 litre petrol engine, delivering extra grunt, but a reduction in CO2 emissions to 101g/km and economy of around 50mpg.

 The SHVS works on the principle of regenerative braking. The kinetic energy that is generated while slowing down is converted to electric energy, which is then stored in the car’s battery. This model also featured the firm’s tried and tested on demand all wheel drive system. 

So an all wheel drive, range topping hybrid for just under £17.5k is  pretty impressive.

Which should not be surprising because the Swift is a very impressive car, few frills, but plenty of substance, packed with standard kit.

It is a stylish looking car, looking like a three door but in fact is a five-door, with rear door handles cleverly concealed so it still has that dynamic, coupe-like styling.

It is available in SZ3, SZ-T, Attitude and SZ5 grades and all models feature Suzuki’s  Heartect platform seen on stablemates the Ignis and Baleno, making it much lighter yet stronger with increased rigidity. 

It does look good with sharp creases and angles giving an impressive profile, while the smart 16-inch polished alloys and LED running lights add to the attraction.The interior is more utilitarian than executive, but that does not detract from the quality or indeed the comfort.

 The layout is simple with  logically placed dials and stalks and excellent build quality, with everything feeling solid and well screwed together including the sturdy plastic trim. The central console is turned five degrees towards the driver and on higher spec models a central screen controls infotainment, connectivity and navigation systems.

This seven-inch touchscreen  controls infotainment, sat nav and connectivity  for smart phones with with MirrorLink, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connection. It also houses the rear view camera for reversing.

Standard kit on the base model includes six airbags, air conditioning, DAB Radio, privacy glass, LED daytime running lights and Bluetooth. This model had extra goodies such front fog lamps, auto air conditioning, navigation, LED headlamps and  rear electric windows.

 On the road, the car is a lively performer, despite its seemingly pedestrian 0-60mph time of over 12 seconds and handles well, with direct and responsive steering and feeling well planted and agile on corners. In fact it’s a really fun drive.

The on-demand all-wheel drive sends power to the rear wheels when adverse driving conditions are detected and extra grip is required in muddy or icy conditions.

It’s not a car that is seen that often on the roads despite selling a million in Europe and nearly 130,000 in the UK since first being introduced. But it certainly sparked interest from a couple of neighbours looking to downsize from larger family cars.

It will comfortably seat four adults and boot space is now a decent 256 litres, which increases substantially with rear seats folded.

Safety kit is comprehensive with those airbags as standard, stability programme, advanced forward detection system, Lane Departure Correction adaptive cruise control and assisted braking.

Factfile

Suzuki Swift Hybrid Allgrip

Price: £17,749

Mechanical: 90PS, 1242cc, four cylinder petrol engine with electric motor driving all wheels via 6-speed  gearbox

Max speed: 105mph

0-62mph: 12.2 seconds

Combined mpg: 49.7

Insurance group: 9E

CO2 emissions: 101g/km

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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