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Little Suzie sizzles; Suzuki's city slicker, the Swift, has been given a makeover and turned into a funky little funster which still gives value for money - but with plenty of performance writes BILL CAVEN.

Byline: BILL CAVEN

IF ONE car has ever lived up to its name then it's the Suzuki Swift.

The Japanese city slicker has proved to be an absolute sales winner since it was first launched two years ago.

Demand has far exceeded the wildest dreams of the automaker and shows no sign of slowing up.

And it is little wonder as the Swift is one of the best cars in its class by far.

Suzuki has always had a strong interest in the low-budget segment of the market.

Unfortunately the previous Swift fell into the cheap-and-cheerful category and did the brand no real favours.

Indeed the hatch was so loosely built you could still hear the doors reverberate several weeks after you had first shut it.

But few could complain as the car cost under pounds 5000 and offered amazingly low running costs.

Recognising the need to move up the motoring ladder, Suzuki bosses undertook a complete rethink over the future role of the next-generation Swift.

Thankfully, it has proved to be a master-stroke as it has proved a massive winner in the UK and across Europe.

Their decision to create a funky, well-constructed, solidly-built supermini is paying handsome dividends. The latest Swift is much more funky yet still adheres to the same principle of offering excellent value for money.

In fact, the Suzie sizzler ticks all the right boxes of what today's small car should be about.

It has to be agile and easy to drive. Throw in the fun factor and nippy performance, and the full picture is beginning to emerge.

Despite the compact dimensions, it also has to be spacious enough inside to accommodate at least four adults in comfort.

Above all there should be quality and substance about the finish as well as clever touches that set it ahead of the rest.

Well, Suzuki not only found the masterplan but stuck to it to craft this amazing little machine. The latest generation Swift is a real breath of fresh air in every respect.

It comes with a choice of four powertrains, three petrol and one diesel. The entry version has a 1.3-litre unit which is geared towards economy rather than sparkling performance. But that's not to say that it doesn't drive well but really the attraction is the 45 miles from a gallon. The 1.5-litre and 1.6-litre choices are a different kettle of fish as they really do raise the bar.

If squeezing the most out of a tankful is top priority, the 1.3-litre diesel can cover more than 60 miles on a gallon.

With a price tag of around pounds 7600 it is easy to see why Swifts are flying out of showrooms these days.

Factfile: Model: Suzuki Swift Engine: 1.3, 1.5 and 1.6-litre petrol, 1.3-litre diesel Power: 68 to 123bhp 0-62mph: 8.9 to 14.2 seconds Economy: 39.2 to 61.4mpg Warranty: Three years/60,000 miles Price: pounds 7999 to pounds 11,549 On sale: Now
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 19, 2007
Words:503
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