Reviews | 03 November 2018

Suzuki Swift versus Mazda 2 and Honda Jazz

  • Small But Mighty
    1 / 24 Small But Mighty

    Superminis used to be affordable runabouts for getting from point A to point B.

    But over time, consumers’ demands have increased, so these little hatchbacks have had to become more than just cars that get you from point A to point B. They had to put the “super” in “supermini”.

    The three cars we’ve assembled here need no introduction. The Honda Jazz, Mazda 2 and Suzuki Swift are household names in Singapore. Be it regular drivers or enthusiasts, these models will be mentioned whenever hatchbacks are the topic of conversation.

    The Mazda 2 and Honda Jazz have been around for quite some time, and their popularity from one generation to the next goes to show how well received they are.

    Both hatchbacks have styling that appeals to a wide audience, and are each powered by a naturally aspirated 1.5-litre engine. Both are also known for their sportiness and keen handling. They are also reliable, which is a characteristic that every driver appreciates..

    Poised to challenge the Mazda 2 and Honda Jazz is the latest Suzuki Swift, which is the only contender in this lineup with a turbocharged engine.

    How well does the Swift perform? And will its overall package meet the “small” needs of supermini buyers in Singapore?

    Continue reading to find out what we think about these cars.

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  • Suzuki Swift – Engine
    2 / 24 Suzuki Swift – Engine

    Suzuki’s turbocharged 1-litre 3-cylinder with 110hp and 160Nm has the most torque, and its soundtrack brings the widest grins to the driver’s face.

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  • Suzuki Swift – Gearbox
    3 / 24 Suzuki Swift – Gearbox

    Swift’s 6-speed automatic is the most responsive and has the most satisfying manual-override function, too.

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  • Mazda 2 – Engine
    4 / 24 Mazda 2 – Engine

    Mazda’s 1.5-litre 4-cylinder with 114hp and 149Nm feels the punchiest and offers the most enthusiastic response when revved.

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  • Mazda 2 – Gearbox
    5 / 24 Mazda 2 – Gearbox

    Mazda’s 6-speed automatic is the smoothest of the trio, but is the only gearbox here without paddle shifters.

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  • Honda Jazz – Engine
    6 / 24 Honda Jazz – Engine

    Honda’s 1.5-litre 4-cylinder with 129hp and 155Nm has the most ponies, but could be more refined at higher revs.

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  • Honda Jazz – Gearbox
    7 / 24 Honda Jazz – Gearbox

    Jazz’s CVT is as smooth as Mazda’s 6-speed auto, but sounds workmanlike when the car is driven hard.

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  • Suzuki Swift – Ride & Handling
    8 / 24 Suzuki Swift – Ride & Handling

    Swift’s ride quality is the most pliant, but its helm takes some getting used to due to its artificial weight and feel.

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  • Mazda 2 – Ride & Handling
    9 / 24 Mazda 2 – Ride & Handling

    Mazda has the group’s best balance between comfort and control, thanks to a chassis capable of taking high-speed corners without breaking a sweat.

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  • Honda Jazz – Ride & Handling
    10 / 24 Honda Jazz – Ride & Handling

    Jazz is surprisingly agile despite being the tallest of the three hatchbacks, but its ride is correspondingly the firmest.

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  • Suzuki Swift – Cockpit
    11 / 24 Suzuki Swift – Cockpit

    Most stylish and driver-friendly cockpit has clearly labelled controls and a unique flat-bottomed steering wheel for a sporty touch. Swift’s locally fitted infotainment unit offers Apple CarPlay, but not Android Auto.

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  • Mazda 2 – Cockpit
    12 / 24 Mazda 2 – Cockpit

    Mazda 2’s cockpit is the most solidly built and feels like it could outlast the car’s COE. The leather seats are also the grippiest and most supportive.

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  • Honda Jazz – Cockpit
    13 / 24 Honda Jazz – Cockpit

    Jazz offers the most space for the driver, plus the most commanding driving position and the greatest all-round visibility. The infotainment system could be more intuitive, though.

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  • Suzuki Swift – Meters
    14 / 24 Suzuki Swift – Meters

    Motorcycle-inspired gauges with racy red backlighting are the sportiest of the group and sure to please keen drivers.

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  • Mazda 2 – Meters
    15 / 24 Mazda 2 – Meters

    This cluster is the most ideal for newbie drivers as it displays just the right amount of information, so that they don’t feel overwhelmed.

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  • Honda Jazz – Meters
    16 / 24 Honda Jazz – Meters

    Dials are the clearest and easiest to read at a glance, and like the Swift’s, remain readable even under harsh lighting conditions.

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  • Suzuki Swift – Backseat
    17 / 24 Suzuki Swift – Backseat

    Swift’s wheelbase is the shortest of the trio, but its backseat is, surprisingly, wide enough to accommodate three average-sized adults.

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  • Mazda 2 – Backseat
    18 / 24 Mazda 2 – Backseat

    Mazda 2 has the longest wheelbase but the least efficient packaging, which means it’s better at accommodating two adults than three. The lack of doorbins also makes this space the least practical of the group.

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  • Honda Jazz – Backseat
    19 / 24 Honda Jazz – Backseat

    Roomiest cabin in this company is also the most versatile thanks to the Jazz’s unique seats, which have backrests that fold flat and squabs that can be flipped up.

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  • Suzuki Swift – Boot
    20 / 24 Suzuki Swift – Boot

    Swift’s 264-litre capacity (rear seats up) has the lowest internal height below the parcel shelf, limiting its usefulness to smaller and lighter bags.

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  • Mazda 2 – Boot
    21 / 24 Mazda 2 – Boot

    Mazda 2’s 250-litre boot (rear seats up) is the only one without wheel-arch intrusions, enabling users to maximise the space. The boot light is the largest, which makes sorting/organising items at night easier.

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  • Honda Jazz – Boot
    22 / 24 Honda Jazz – Boot

    Jazz’s 354-litre volume (rear seats up) is the most useful and easily swallows bulky items such as prams and folding bikes.

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  • Mazda 2, Suzuki Swift and Honda Jazz – Keys
    23 / 24 Mazda 2, Suzuki Swift and Honda Jazz – Keys

    Mazda 2 key (left) is the longest and least pocket-friendly; Swift’s device (middle) is the lightest, but its little buttons can be tricky to press; Jazz’s fob (right) feels the sturdiest and its relatively big buttons have the clearest markings.

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  • Last Word
    24 / 24 Last Word

    The new Suzuki Swift is a good choice for anyone who enjoys driving. Key to its compelling performance are the lightweight chassis and punchy drivetrain, which features a turbocharged 1-litre 3-cylinder engine paired to a 6-speed automatic.

    The Swift is also roomier and more practical than before, although its backseat space still loses out to its two rivals in this story.

    Big boys who love to soup up their small toys would find that the Swift probably has the most potential for modification. More significantly, with a list price of $78,704, it is the most affordable of the three contenders.

    The Honda Jazz RS is a terrific all-rounder. It may not be the sexiest or the sportiest hatchback here, but in every other respect it either beats or matches its key competitors.

    The Jazz’s strongest points are its impressive roominess and incredible versatility. If these are your top priorities when shopping for a new supermini, then the Honda hatch should be your first choice.

    This jazzy number, however, could do with a more refined cabin which is less prone to wind noise on the highway, and a quieter transmission.

    The biggest obstacle to Jazz ownership is the pricing. Listed at just under $98k, it is significantly more expensive than the other two cars.

    The Mazda 2 isn’t the most powerful and doesn’t have the roomiest interior. But it has the best combination of performance, handling and refinement in the context of this comparison test.

    The Mazda 2’s cabin is both well-built and well-insulated, making it a surprisingly pleasant expressway cruiser.

    The 2 is also ahead of its two rivals in terms of driveability, offering the most responsive motor and smoothest gearbox.

    All in all, this Japanese supermini is super convincing. Too bad the Mazda’s $90k asking price is closer to the Honda Jazz than to the Suzuki Swift.

    Why the Mazda 2 is an ideal car for the swinging single

    Mazda 2 review

    Honda jazzes up the Jazz hatchback

    Latest Suzuki Swift Sport is lighter and quicker than the previous one

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