Suzuki Swift 2021 glx turbo

Like the idea of turbo power, but not keen on a Swift Sport? Here’s one Suzuki prepared earlier…

Suzuki’s latest advertising efforts align its brand to a fun, jovial demeanour. I know you’ve seen them – ‘for fun’s sake’, or the other that sees a gentleman perched atop of a Suzuki as if it were a (fun) motorbike.

After jumping out of the 2021 Suzuki Swift GLX Turbo, I’d have to agree with the marketing message. Before we get to the fun stuff, let’s cover off the vital points first.

It’s $26,790 before on-roads or $27,790 drive-away under the current promotional campaign. If you want any other colour than white, add $595 to the bill. Compared to others in the same segment, it’s middle of the pack. A comparable Kia Rio GT-Line costs $25,990, and Mazda 2 GT $28,595, both drive-away.

2021 Suzuki Swift GLX Turbo
Engine 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Power and torque 82kW at 5500rpm, 160Nm at 1500–4000rpm
Transmission Six-speed torque converter automatic
Drive type Front-wheel drive
Kerb weight 945kg
Fuel claim combined (ADR) 5.1L/100km
Fuel use on test 6.6L/100km
Boot volume (rear seats up/down) 242L/556L
Turning circle 9.6m
ANCAP safety rating Five stars (2017)
Warranty (years/km) Five years/unlimited km
Main competitors Kia Rio, Mazda 2, Volkswagen Polo
Price as tested (excl. on-road costs) $28,385 (incl. metallic paint)

Part of the fun with the Swift GLX Turbo is its three-cylinder turbocharged engine. It produces 82kW and 160Nm, with the torque figure offered in full from 1500–4000rpm. Coupling this engine with a teeny-weeny kerb weight of 945kg makes the experience brisker than you’d first expect.

It’s a willing motor with plenty of mid-range torque to support its cause. As with most three-cylinder engines, it also makes a gruff, burbly noise that’s somewhat appealing. The six-speed torque-converter automatic is calibrated well, with appropriate ratios ensuring the Swift gets the most from its engine.

Which, with two on board, feels unaffected by the additional mass. Fully loaded, however – including the boot – does result in extra use of the throttle pedal. Most important is that it never feels underpowered or as if it should have more go.

It’s frugal, too, with the car’s fuel consumption readout showing 4.3L/100km on the highway. With some suburban peak-hour grind thrown into the mix, it settled on 6.6L/100km. The official combined figure is 5.1L/100km, so not the best result compared to that, but a good one in isolation.

There are also inherent qualities with light cars that cannot be replicated once mass is applied, no matter how good the engineering cleverness or attempts at deception may be. Without using too many superlatives, nimble, deft, and dare I say swift all bubble to the surface of my mind.

With some more thought, it’s more the combination of good on-road manners coupled with flat handling that sparks curiosity with this car. Given it’s not managing much weight sees its escape from overly harsh and stiff suspension, which results in great ride quality.

Something else weight greatly influences is manoeuvrability, as there isn’t much inertia to fight, or in other words, whatever weight-shifting is going on is very easily handled. Down a faster-paced road it feels secure and even fun when carrying speed, with there being continuity in this feeling to how it zips through metro environments also.

Its traits will be noticed by all regardless of your driving experience, with those new to driving likely to comment on ease of use, and those more seasoned on its non-fatiguing nature. Its controls have been calibrated to be light, too, which makes them feel in line with the car’s overall manner.

Behind the wheel, you’ll notice more fundamentals to help calm the mind, like an unusually high roof height. The almost vertical A-pillars become obvious from here; something in contrast to other cars where they often appear raked. Also stemming from the upright roof supports is a tall glasshouse that promotes visibility. It’s easy to peer out and downward from a Swift, which is great for those in busy urban environments or those who are learning.

The cabin itself looks somewhat austere due to a vast amount of black, hard plastic dominating the theme, with no respite coming from colour or other materials. Aside from my eye perceiving simplicity, it also noticed that you get keyless entry and start, digital climate control and adaptive cruise control as standard.

Speaking of the advanced driver assists, the Swift GLX’s overall safety suite is great for the segment, with autonomous emergency braking, lane-departure warning, blind-spot warning, rear-cross traffic alert, and auto high beams all coming as standard. As a result, the Suzuki Swift GLX Turbo wears a five-star ANCAP rating.

Sitting centre in the dashboard is a 7.0-inch infotainment system that benefits from Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but no digital radio. If you prefer to use in-built navigation, lucky you, the Swift has that too. About the basics, its seats are squishy and comfortable, but are rather flat and lack lumbar support at this trim level.

Storage areas are abundant, with large door bins complete with split bottle holder area, cupholders up front, and another small cubby located on the most rearward part of the centre console. Overall, it feels spacious for the size.

In the second row, space punched above expectations. I’m 183cm tall and was able to sit behind my own driving position with plenty of knee, foot and head room to get comfortable with. Even as one of the most spacious cars in its segment, it’s still only fit for two fully grown humans in the back or three younger teenagers.

In terms of babies, its rear seat bench will absorb a large convertible baby seat or taller infant booster seat easily enough. The amount of leg room offered also means the front passenger doesn’t need to squash up against the dashboard to allow for a support seat behind.

The only downfall for prioritising space in the passenger area is a reduction in boot space. There’s just 242L of storage space with all seats up, and 556L with the second row folded. Still, there’s enough room for a decent grocery shop, and you’ll also be able to wedge in a compact stroller for those quick dashes for milk and eggs with bub. Thankfully, despite the small boot area, there’s still a space-saving spare wheel underneath the carpet.

Suzuki’s Swift GLX Turbo is a fun take on a segment littered with affordable yet dreary motoring. The warmed-up engine gives the car some character, and its well-appointed cabin makes it feel in keeping with the times.

More important, however, is there’s a genuinely capable car underneath. The fun yet safe handling gives confidence no matter the skill level, and its big glasshouse helps promote good habits – like checking over your shoulder.

If you’re someone who’s also using the second row often, then I’d recommend checking out a Suzuki Swift.