Sunday, March 24, 2013

Used Car Review - Suzuki Swift (2005-2011)

Is it a bargain for those seeking a sporty drive? Myk Belmonte tells it all and watch out for the answer at the end of the article.

2005-2011 Suzuki Swift

Yeah, everyone dreams of having a Mini Cooper in their garage, but the wallet dictates having an econobox. So, the wizards at Suzuki made a hatchback priced less and infused with sports car genes and vola! The Swift was born. With a focus towards the European market, its design and driving dynamics are based and tested there.

September of the year 2004 saw the launch of the Suzuki Swift at the Paris Motor Show, a proof that Europe was in their minds while developing this car. While both sedan and hatchback styles are available, you'll see more of this car without a trunk. Versions in the name of Sport and Indian market exclusive Maruti Suzuki Swift were spawned. This generation was, indeed, a runaway bestseller in Europe and Japan, with consumers can buy this vehicle brand new until 2010 (or later, depending on the market you live in), with the third generation model replacing this one.

After the Jazz capturing the hearts and wallets of Filipinos, the Swift arrived in August 2005. Although the Honda was the sales leader, the Suzuki had a following among motorists who prioritized driving excitement than practicality. Until 2008, buyers had to make do with a slushbox until consumer demand had a stick shift variant being launched, which I think the lack of both automatic and manual transmission options is an omission in this market segment. 2011 saw the third generation model being introduced, thus the discontinuation of this generation.

Value and Costs
Slightly priced higher than its main competitor, a second hand Swift can cost you P400,000-P530,000. Partly because this was a more recent model than the Jazz and also, only a few of them are sold than the Jazz of the same period. Oh by the way, purchase yourself a May 2010 unit or later to get the remaining chunk of the warranty.

While fuel efficiency is tops, 95 octane gasoline is the required medicine to keep the Swift purring along. Otherwise, maintaining one does not call for taking economy class flights and does not require your arms, legs, and even your liver.

Exterior and Interior
While its looks resemble a Mini Cooper, it does possess a simple look that is definitely timeless. Problem is, if we were to compare it with its peers, the design lacked flash and appeal. Dress it up with aftermarket accessories then you're good to go.

If there is one disadvantage of getting a Swift, it is the lack of passenger room especially at the back. And also if all the seats are up, only a couple of bags can be stored in the cargo room. Although fit and finish is excellent, space management is not good. The front seats is decent enough for short trips, in fact you'll even forgo with the rear occupants since you want the driving excitement.

Going with its sporty nature is a 1,490cc I4 double-overhead-cam VVT gasoline powerplant that comes to life when revved at 4,000rpm. If you are choosing the automatic variant, do take note that while taking a prospective unit for a test drive if the tranny is unresponsive which downshifts with delay. But still, the engine is no slouch if we drive it side by side with its contemporaries.

Driving Impressions
Sport is the game, Swift is the name. With a great handling, a short length, and a firm suspension; the Swift is a joy to drive. It may have some noise coming from the under chassis and engine, but still, it is bearable and adds to the excitement of tossing one to the limits. Who said cheap is inferior?

If you have high priorities in the field of driving excitement, look no further than the Suzuki Swift. While it is nearly identical in all aspects to the new one, purchasing one can save you thousands of pesos in depreciation costs. So if you want a daily commuter that wants to have fun, this is what you are looking for.

The Good:
  • Its a mini Mini, at lower prices
  • A swift performer on the open road
  • Excellent powertrain
The Bad:
  • Not passenger friendly rear seat
  • Interior quality is not from Japan
  • The added requirement of 95 octane or higher gasoline
The Pick: MT variants

Engine: 1,490cc I4 gasoline
Power: 110hp @ 6,000rpm
Torque: 143Nm @ 4,000rpm
Fuel Consumption: 9-11km/L (city), 13-15km/L (highway)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear torsion beam

Price (New): P730,000-P770,000
Price (Now): P400,000-P530,000
Rivals: Honda Jazz, Toyota Yaris, Ford Fiesta hatchback, Mazda 2 hatchback
On Sale: 2005-mid 2011

Suzuki Manila Bay - (02) 556-1485
Suzuki E Rodriguez - (02) 726-3747
Suzuki Pasig - (02) 571-6870

Photos courtesy of

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