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Meeting expectations

Suzuki Swift 1.2L A/T

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Text and photos by Neil Pagulayan

Suzuki is a brand that’s sometimes overlooked usually in favor of the other Japanese brands available locally. Though not typically among the top choices for new cars,their subcompact hatchback, the Swift,offers more value than meets the eye.

The Swift has been around since about 2004, with minor changes here and there over the years. Suzuki’s been pretty good at keeping themselves looking current and it probably helps that they’re not in the spotlight as much as the other mainstream Japanese brands.

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In this age where city cars are downsizing their engines even further, and pairing them with newer and even more complicated transmissions and features, the Swift offers established, familiar features so as not to daunt the buyer.

The Swift is your typical hatchback that easily seats four, maybe five if one doesn’t mind the squeeze.  You’d have to be a car whiz to notice the little changes that Suzuki made to this Swift for its latest iteration.

Out front, the silver trim on the outer side of its fog lights give it some class. The brake and turn signal combination lights haven’t changed much, sloping as they have since this generation’s introduction. The third brake light mounted in the spoiler on the tailgate is a nice touch and the turn signal indicators are built into the side mirror housing.  This is taller than the previous model (which had a 1.4L engine) with 30mm higher ground clearance helped along by it’s 15-inch alloy wheels with taller 185/65 tires.

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The interior is black below the windows with some brushed aluminum trim on the steering wheel and accents on the dashboard and doors. I wish the black went all the way up to the roof liner.  The fit and finish of interior components is as expected for a Japanese marque: everything nice and tight and nothing looking out of place or misaligned.

Finding your driving position is easy and visibility is good all around.  The double DIN touchscreen entertainment system is a nice update with CD, AM/FM, USB, Bluetooth and Navigation, and it was easy to use. The instrument cluster is a set of basic no-nonsense tach and speedo with a multi-info screen in between—typical Suzuki.

The seats are comfortable, now done in leather, giving it a more upscale feel with the driver and front passenger seats having ‘Swift’ stitched into it in red thread. The back seats feel like Suzuki should have put a center armrest in keeping with the upscale feel the leather gives it.  It folds forward to expand the 210-liter luggage area to 533 liters. Standard are power windows, door locks and door mirrors.  Safety features are dual airbags, ABS, side-impact beams, childproof rear door locks and an immobilizer.  Electric power steering is standard.

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Under the hood, it has the K12M 1.2-liter four-cylinder DOHC 16 -valve engine. It puts out  87-hp at 6000 rpm with 114-Nm of torque at 4000rpm, mated to a four-speed automatic transmission.

The Suzuki Swift is everything you expect from a Japanese car in its class.It’s easy to drive, handles predictably, is big enough to fit your friends and is economical.  It’s stable on the expressway at high speed. The best thing about this car is it’s priced at P698,000.  If you’re looking for your first car, getting one for one of your kids, or just getting a second vehicle to use for coding, you might want to check this one out first before the mainstream brands.

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