Brief drive: 2024 Suzuki Swift Hybrid review

New cars Suzuki Reviews

Petrolblog has been driving some new cars, which makes a change from taking photos of French tat for Instagram and searching Facebook Marketplace for terrible but cheap cars. Welcome to the new 'Brief drive' section, which gets underway with a look at the new 2024 Suzuki Swift Hybrid.

As the name of the section suggests, these are new car reviews based on brief encounters. Petrolblog will be transparent about the time spent in the car and how many miles were completed behind the wheel. You should consult the likes of What Express? and Auto Gear before parting with your cash. You might find some of the following interesting, but if not there's sure to be something better on television.

Is the new Suzuki Swift an electric SUV?

No, the fourth-generation Suzuki Swift is a five-door hatchback with a 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine. Don't be fooled by the 'Hybrid' tag, because it's just a mild hybrid, so you can't drive it in pure electric mode or plug it into the mains.

Should I buy a new Suzuki Swift?

On the evidence of this brief drive, absolutely. It's getting increasing difficult to buy a new car for less than £20,000, so the fact that the new Swift starts from £18,699, with even the high-spec Ultra trim coming in at £19,799, makes it worth a look. It's also worth remembering that the Ford Fiesta has been axed and the cheapest Vauxhall Corsa costs £18,505, but you'll need to find another £5k for the Ultimate edition.

How much is the new Suzuki Swift?

The Motion trim costs £18,699 and includes adaptive cruise control, heated front seats, wireless smartphone tech, keyless entry and start, traffic sign recognition and blind spot monitoring. That's a decent amount of kit, but the Ultra trim costs £1,100 more and adds 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, electrically folding door mirrors, height adjustment for the front seatbelts, rear assist grips, rear heater outlet, indicators in the door mirrors and, wait for it, painted door trim ornament. This is like having a number plate garnish on your Proton Wira.

Has the new Suzuki Swift got a good infotainment system?

The jury's out on this one. On the one hand, both trim levels have a 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard, with connectivity for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto devices via wifi and USB. Even sat nav is standard, although you'll most likely use your own smartphone app for this.

But the infotainment system flatters to device, as the display is significantly smaller than the actual unit, so it's not the widescreen experience you might be expecting. The display itself feels a generation behind its rivals, while the view offered by the rear-view camera will make you nostalgic for the Driver series of racing games on the PlayStation.

On the plus side, the heating and ventilation controls are separate from the infotainment system, while the primary audio functions are easily accessible on the screen and steering wheel.

Will the new Suzuki Swift be cheap to run?

Suzuki says the Swift's 1.2-litre three-pot engine (which sounds excellent, by the way) will return 64.2mpg if you choose the five-speed manual gearbox (which you should) or 58.8mpg if you opt for the CVT (which you shouldn't). An Allgrip four-wheel drive version will follow later in the year and will most likely see the fuel economy drop into the 50s.

The key to this excellent fuel economy is the Swift's lightness, with the Motion model tipping the scales at just 949kg and the Ultra a hardly lardy 984kg. In theory, this should make the Swift cheap to run, but there is a problem...

Is the new Suzuki Swift fun to drive?

And that problem is that the Swift is surprisingly fun to drive. It feels like a featherweight boxer in a world of heavyweights, which means taking a series of bends on a B-road can be an enjoyable experience. Don't be fooled: the vague gearshift and numb steering puts paid to any thoughts of this being a modern Swift Sport, but the eagerness (and sound) of the engine, the inherent lightness and the suspension's ability to iron out all but the worst imperfections are reasons to be cheerful.

The absence of a sixth gear on a motorway could be an issue, but at just shy of 3,000rpm at 70mph, it's not as noisy in the cabin as you might expect. Another factor in its favour is that the Swift doesn't feel like a small car inside. There's so much headroom, you can leave your hat on.

Is the new Suzuki Swift a quick car?

As evidenced by the zero to 62mph time of 12.5 seconds, the Swift isn't a quick car, but with 81bhp at 5,700rpm and 83lb ft of torque at 4,500rpm, there is some reward for sticking in second or third gear and staying close to the 6,000rpm redline. Which takes us back to the point about fuel economy. Behave yourself and you'll be spending less time collecting Shell points. Enjoy yourself and be prepared to spend more time at the pumps.

As an aside, the zero to 62mph time drops to 11.9 seconds if you choose the CVT version, which is 0.1sec faster than a Proton GEN-2 Persona with a 1.6-litre petrol engine. Guaranteed bragging rights at the bar.

Will my neighbours be impressed by the new Suzuki Swift?

It hasn't got an Audi, BMW or Land Rover badge, so the chances are your neighbours won't even notice it. That's their loss, because Suzuki tends to perform well in reliability and satisfaction surveys. And in Pure White pearl metallic, the Swift looks like it has just rolled out of a Japanese gadget store.

Will my dog like the new Suzuki Swift?

Probably not, although with the rear seats folded down, the luggage capacity increases from 265 litres to 589 litres. If your dog doesn't mind the small jump over the loading lip and enjoys the sound of a three-pot engine, it'll forgive you for not buying an estate car.

How much time has Petrolblog spent with the new Suzuki Swift?

Petrolblog spent about an hour in the new Swift, completing around 15 miles. Most of the driving was on a mixture of single-track lanes and B-roads in Dorset, plus a short run along the A303.