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Swift 4x4 provides new at-traction for Suzuki supermini

07:08 10 April 2014

Suzuki Swift 4x4 should appeal for people living in the country who want a supermini with extra traction.

Suzuki Swift 4x4 should appeal for people living in the country who want a supermini with extra traction.

Suzuki

Suzuki tailors Swift towards needs of rural dwellers with total traction variant. Iain Dooley, of the Press Association, drives it.

Suzuki Swift 4x4

Price: 1.2 SZ4 4x4 £15,739 (4x4 range from £13,819)

Engine: 1.2-litre, 94bhp, four-cylinder petrol

Transmission: Five-speed manual driving all four wheels

Performance: 0-62mph 13.4 seconds; top speed 103mph

MPG: 51.3 combined

CO2 emissions: 126g/km

Suzuki’s latest Swift looks familiar because, according to the Japanese company, that’s what the customer wants. As a cornerstone of its line-up, messing with a successful formula simply wouldn’t be smart.

Stylish, practical and good to drive, a considerable number have found homes in the UK so it’s hardly surprising that Suzuki chose to stick with a winning formula.

This refresh of the all-new car sees a number of subtle exterior tweaks and updates to specification, and incremental improvements to fuel economy and emissions.

The one thing missing until now has been an all-wheel drive option. Sure, you could always opt for a genuine 4x4 such as the SX4 or Jimny if you wanted to stay loyal to the brand and needed something compact. But if you’re keen on retaining the Swift’s compact footprint, agile driving characteristics and don’t need a lofty driving position, the Swift 4x4 sounds like a decent alternative.

For the UK, buyers are presented with a simple choice – one engine and one bodystyle. Believing that the heavy lifting will always be done by a regular sport utility vehicle, the Swift 4x4 gets the familiar 1.2-litre petrol motor in a five-door body.

For moderately taxing conditions the 93bhp should be ample. Its free-revving nature ensures progress is brisk, and it’s no hardship to zip through the manual five-speed gearbox.

Suzuki’s done more than simply add a few extra oily bits to the Swift, though. So that it’s not perceived to be all mouth and no trousers, the 4x4 supermini has a suspension set-up to maximise the all-wheel drive system’s potential. The changes have resulted in a useful 25mm ride height increase, which should see the car capable of clearing muddy ruts and uneven tracks with ease. The trade-off is a bit more roll in the corners, but it’s never enough to spoil the driving experience.

The Swift 4x4 is also hauling around a little more hardware – an extra 65kg. Yet, as a testament to the 1.2-litre engine’s talents, the additional weight barely makes a difference save for a fractional increase in CO2 and tiny drop in fuel economy.

Frankly, when the rain is lashing down and the country lanes are slippery, such issues will be the last thing on your mind. In the real world the Swift 4x4 proves more than adept at coping with adverse conditions. Firing up a big SUV just to go to the local shops doesn’t seem right when the Swift will do the job.

In every other respect the Swift 4x4 delivers the same familiar ownership experience as a regular two-wheel drive model. As an added bonus, the 4x4 model is pitched a little higher than normal so there’s no entry-level model.

What you get is a good standard of kit as part of the SZ3 grade, while SZ4 adds some useful skid plates fore and aft plus functional plastic wheelarch protectors.

The end result is an affordable and economical supermini with the added bonus of fully automatic all-wheel drive. The Swift’s modest size should make navigating country lanes painless, while the 4x4 part of the equation ensures that, come rain or shine, you’re ready for anything.

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Andy Russell

Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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