If a car was judged on its paper qualifications alone, then the Suzuki Swift would seem uninteresting. It is not powered by a motor with forced induction and does not have a nifty dual-clutch gearbox. There’s neither a fancy infotainment system with satellite navigation nor a touchscreen interface.
Indeed, the Swift’s equipment could even be described as dated, for there has been no major change to the car since it was launched four years ago. The most modern function of its hi-fi unit, for instance, is Bluetooth telephony. You won’t find an electronic parking brake, and the gearbox is still an “ancient” 4-speed automatic.
The Swift’s design, however, remains fresh. But to attract buyers who want something snazzier, Suzuki offers this Special Edition variant, which looks even fresher with its two-tone paintwork and gunmetal wheels.
Inside, you’ll find the seats covered in a combination of leather and Alcantara, with silver contrast stitching. Complementing these are the door panels and dashboard, which have been trimmed with a silver applique.
What makes the Swift Special Edition really shine, however, is its cheerful and eager character. Its 1.4-litre inline-4 might only be good for 94bhp, but what the engine lacks in performance, it makes up for with responsiveness. You’ll be surprised at how much verve it displays the moment you plant your foot on the throttle.
Even more surprising is the supposedly ancient gearbox. The gearchanges are fairly quick, and the transmission never hesitates to drop a cog (or two) when you floor the accelerator.
In fact, the Swift feels so willing that you’ll wonder if Suzuki’s claimed zero-to-100km/h time of 11.1 seconds is a tad conservative. The wonderfully rorty engine note also makes it feel a lot quicker than it really is.
The Special Edition’s cosmetic upgrades are nice, but this Suzie’s greatest asset is its fun-to-drive quality, which is something that is becoming rare in an age when cool in-car gadgets seem to matter more than the driving experience itself.
Suzuki Swift Special Edition 1.4 (A)
ENGINE 1372cc, 16-valves, inline-4,
MAX POWER 94bhp at 6000rpm
MAX TORQUE 130Nm at 4000rpm
POWER TO WEIGHT 60.7bhp per tonne
GEARBOX 4-speed automatic
0-100KM/H 11.1 seconds
TOP SPEED 185km/h
CONSUMPTION 16.1km/L (combined)
CO2 EMISSION 147g/km
PRICE INCL. COE $104,900 (no CEVS rebate/surcharge)