Suzuki Swift Gains Hybrid Technology;
Suzuki Motor Corporation unveiled the new Swift for Europe at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show as its all-new global compact supermini. The new Swift represents an automotive advancement aimed at uplifting the driver through succession, evolution and innovation. Initially offered in petrol engine guise, the new Suzuki Swift is now available with Hybrid technology across all trim levels. With global Swift sales of 6.9 million units since 2005, the latest generation Swift is a hugely important car for Suzuki. The new Suzuki Swift benefits from completely new styling, and a performance-enhancing extremely light body with advanced safety technologies. The result is exterior European flair complemented by a sporty and functional interior, nimble and agile driving, and enhanced peace of mind. In addition to its stylish exterior design in a compact size of just 3,840mm long, the new Swift features excellent visibility, a spacious cabin and ample luggage space. With the rear seat backs in place, the boot can accommodate 265-litres of space, but this can be expanded to 579-litres when the rear seat backs are folded..
New-generation platform ‘HEARTECT’;
Under the ‘SUZUKI NEXT 100’ plan announced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2015, Suzuki developed a new platform strategy for its future models and the Swift is now the third model (following Baleno and IGNIS) to adopt this new generation platform and be introduced in Europe. The new Swift rests on a new-generation platform “HEARTECT” that delivers enhanced fundamental vehicle performance due to being light and highly rigid. A comprehensive overhaul of the underbody’s structure and component layout resulted in the adoption of a highly rigid frame that enhances collision safety and has a continuous, smooth and curving form that better helps disperse energy. This has led to a reduction in reinforcements, and greatly contributes to lower fuel consumption and vast improvements in the fundamental vehicle functions of running, turning and braking. The bodyshell (Body in White) is also of lightweight construction and includes the use of Ultra High tensile steel across 17 per cent of its structure and High tensile steel across four per cent of its structure.
There are three trim levels in the new Suzuki Swift – SZ3, SZ-T and range-topping SZ5, with six airbags, air conditioning, DAB radio, privacy glass, LED daytime running lights and Bluetooth fitted as standard on all new Swift models. SZ-T adds smartphone link display audio, rear view camera, front fog lamps and 16-inch alloy wheels, while SZ5 adds automatic air conditioning, satellite navigation, LED headlamps, polished 16-inch alloy wheels, rear electric windows, Dual Sensor Brake Support and Adaptive Cruise Control. With a choice of 10 paint colours (one solid colour, six metallic colours, and three dual-tone metallic colours), and with full personalisation options available for both the exterior and interior trims, the new Swift can be as individual as the person who drives it.
Aspects of Styling Innovation;
While resolute efforts were made so that the new Swift would inherit the model’s characteristic styling, elements that needed refreshing were boldly transformed to innovatively evolve the new car. Enhanced carry-over elements include strong shoulders, blacked-out A-pillars and vertically arranged front and rear lamps. The Swift now offers a more emotional appearance together with a muscular and well-grounded look. The body is shorter, lower and wider, while a wide and aggressive front grille, and supporting bumper grille character lines all express strength.
Put Through Its Paces in Europe;
In order to suit the needs of European customers, Suzuki knew that simply designing and developing the new Swift in Japan would not be sufficient. So it turned to the roads of Europe, where teams of local evaluation drivers helped to hone the new car. Testing of the chassis, which is the centrepiece of the new Swift’s evolution, began in the United Kingdom and Germany. Covering a total of more than 10,000 km’s, the teams tested as many as 90 different suspension prototypes in an effort to meet the need for optimum steering feel together with providing supple and agile suspension for European roads. This was combined with the demand for high-speed steering stability and riding comfort on winding German roads as well as the Autobahn. Damping force has been seperately tuned for both 2WD and ALLGRIP Auto equipped models. Powertrains, including those featuring Suzuki’s SHVS mild hybrid system, were also put to the test, being subjected to freezing weather in Sweden and to high temperature and high altitude environments in southern Spain. Additionally, hill-climbing and descent attributes were tested on the challenging roads of the Swiss Alps.
Suspension & Steering;
The new Swift suspension utilises traditional MacPherson strut design at the front and beam axle at the rear and various upgrades have been made during development. For example, the front stabiliser bar is now shorter and of hollow design and the subframe is of lighter construction. At the rear, redesigned components include a new shape crossmember and modified trailing arms to further enhance cornering stability. The steering rack is of variable ratio design which allows the angle of the wheels to change depending on steering input. The variable ratio increases response when the driver begins to turn the wheel to help achieve more direct and sharper handling. For greater manouverability this system has a wider turning angle than before which has helped reduced the turning radius to just 4.8 metres. The steering rack itself is now of hollow design to help reduce weight.
Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki (SHVS);
The SHVS mild hybrid system is a compact and lightweight system that incorporates an Integrated Starter Generator (known as ISG) which acts as both a generator and starter motor, the ISG is belt driven and assists the engine during vehicle take off and acceleration and also generates electricity through regenerative braking. In the new Swift, SHVS is available together with Boosterjet for the first time and results in CO2 emissions as low as 97g/km.
The system also uses a compact high performance 12V lithium-ion battery placed under the front passenger seat to store energy and incorporates an idle stop function operated via the Integrated Start Generator. The SHVS system only uses its conventional engine starter motor when first started from cold, under all other conditions it uses the ISG unit to allow smooth and quiet engine restarts. The ISG unit has a power output of 2.3kW and a torque figure of 50Nm.
The energy assistance provided during acceleration enables the SHVS to be known as a mild hybrid system which is ideally suited to a compact car and adds just 6.2 kg to the overall weight. In situations that require higher fuel use, such as when starting from a standstill or accelerating, SHVS helps suppress fuel consumption by providing electric motor assist using electricity generated through regenerative braking. Because the ISG uses a belt drive rather than a conventional starter motor to restart the engine after an automatic engine stop it allows for a quiet and smooth start. Furthermore, the light and long-life lithium-ion battery has excellent regenerative efficiency, which increases the frequency of engine assists. The battery also supplies power to electrical components for the engine, instruments and also the audio system.
My test car was a 2020 Suzuki Swift 1.2 SZ-T SHVS, and was finished in Burning Red Pearl Metallic paintwork for maximum impact. A power output of 89bhp offered by the naturally aspirated 1.2-litre engine sounds small by modern standards, but the Swift’s light weight means that it feels anything but sluggish. The lack of a turbo means that it’s down on torque though, so be prepared to work the slick and smooth five-speed manual gearbox to get the best out of the engine. The 0-100km/h sprint can be completed in 12.6-seconds, while fuel consumption as low as 5.01l/100km (56.4mpg) is achieveable on a combined driving cycle, with annual road tax for my test car costing just €180. The Swift’s steering wheel communicates well with the front wheels, as it is nicely weighted and consistent, making it relatively easy to place the Swift in corners. The Swift is happy to change direction quickly and it stays admirably flat in corners. Unique to the class is the AllGrip all-wheel drive system available on some models, which offers extra traction and security. However, the standard front-wheel-drive set-up in my test car will be the drivetrain of choice for the vast majority of Swift buyers.
Verdict, Pricing & Warranty;
Overall, the new Suzuki Swift SHVS is a competent, efficient and enjoyable car to drive, and it can hold its head high in the crowded supermini car segment. Pricing for the new Swift SHVS starts at just €16,025, with my test car specification priced from just €17,025. All Suzuki passengers cars come with a 3-year/100,000km warranty as standard.
Visit www.suzuki.ie for further information.