Which Swift generation is best?

  • OUR DEFINITIVE RANKING

    Following the release of the New Swift, we thought it was an excellent time to look at previous iterations of the hatchback, how it's evolved, all while taking factoring its style, driveability and impact.

    Ready? Let’s get into it.



    • FIRST GENERATION

      1983 - 1989

      Introduced in Japan as the Suzuki Cultus, the model adopted its current nomenclature just before release in European markets.

      Launched in 1983 at the 25th Tokyo Motor Show, it went head-to-head with rival entries from Toyota and Nissan, standing up well to the ultimate test – the choice of the consumer! A name and identity lasting well into the next 40 years would prove testament to its popularity, with a 1.3 GTi variant being the top model of choice.

      This first generation might not have scooped any awards or magazine features, but it was the start of something truly special. Pure and rose-tinted nostalgia boosts its ranking here.

      8/9



    • SECOND GENERATION

      1989 - 2003

      The following generation stuck around for a fair bit longer than the first - in production for a whopping 13 years!

      This time around, Suzuki opened up their small car offering, making available a wider range of variants to choose from, with different levels of suitability for drivers. That meant both three and five-door options, as well as providing a choice between three or four-cylinder, 1.0 litre engines. A 1.3 litre GTi model option, with almost 100bhp and four-wheel disc brakes, positioned this generation of Swift as one of the first hot-hatches ever.

      5000 units sold annually, for each year in production, backs up the notion that the second-generation is where things really started to take off for the nameplate.

      6.5/9



    • BONUS GENERATION

      2000 - 2006

      Yes, including a model without the Swift nameplate might seem strange. Firstly, just look at how beautiful it looks; and secondly, this release was essentially the start of Suzuki’s ‘Sport’ edition of it’s famous hatchback.

      Released as the ‘Swift Sport’ in Japan, but badged as the ‘Ignis Sport’ in export markets, this three-door variant made its way onto roads worldwide, following the manufacturers’ exploits in the World Rally Championship, toward the end of the 1990s. Fans loved the classic box design and its street-style bodywork. Its impact soon became undeniable, and the Swift Sport line as we know it was born.

      The engine and drivability were typical of an era just starting to embrace internet technology, but starting the Swift Sport line, means this generation earns a respectable score.

      6/9


    • THIRD GENERATION

      2005 - 2010

      The 2004 Paris Motor Show was the location for the release of this generation of Swift, which wowed crowds with a distinct bodywork design that eventually became synonymous with the model.

      Marketed as a ‘sporty’ subcompact, its chassis and driving characteristics were refined through rigorous European road-testing, with 1.3 and 1.5-litre variants available, as well as 4WD models.

      Super-easy and super-fun to drive, a 2005 campaign featuring a fresh-faced Cristiano Ronaldo was immaterial; sales figures were already twice the amount forecasted. The Swift was a runaway success.

      With a design set to enter automotive lore for years to come, its impact was obvious. The Swift become a brand in its own right.

      7.5/9


    • FOURTH GENERATION

      2010 - 2017

      By 2010 the Swift was now iconic. An evolutionary design sat atop a slightly longer wheelbase, which reduced body roll by shifting the center of mass.

      But the big changes were to the interior. Enhanced space, comfort and convenience brought the Swift into the modern age. A 2013 facelift added LED daytime running lights and smartphone connectivity - reflecting the tech explosion that shifted driving habits.

      New Dualjet technology outlined the Swift as extremely dependable and practical. And drivers thought the same, with 5 million units sold by 2016.

      Improved driveability supplemented a raft of interior updates, as Suzuki modernised the Swift. Its impact was arguably less than the first generation, with the refined - over radical - design pushing its ranking down slightly.

      6.5/9


    • FIFTH GENERATION

      2017 - 2023

      Debuting in December 2016, this Swift was the first built on the Heartect platform. The 10% weight reduction combined with Suzuki’s new Boosterjet engine and mild-hybrid tech made the driveability THE best of all generations.

      An upgraded interior reflected advancements in technology, adding Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a touchscreen display. Safety features like lane departure warnings and emergency radar braking made this model the safest Swift ever.

      Safety features and driving assists complimented a revolutionary exterior design, with Suzuki pushing the engineering envelope to offer a boot with 10-20% more space than previously.

      The impact this generation had was second only to Suzuki’s first generation. New technology, improved handling and driveability, plus enhanced safety features made this the safest, most practical and reliable Swift ever made. A high bar had now been set.

      8/9


    • THE NEW GENERATION

      2024 - Present

      The New Swift has officially launched to the public, following an April 2024 launch, returning with a new look, but with the same fun attitude.

      Not only has the exterior been transformed, but the amazing and all-new interior combines to give the New Swift a complete premium makeover.

      And to top it all off, the famous hatchback comes absolutely packed to the brim full of specification!

      So, we're pretty confident when we say that drivers will love the New Swift and its unexpected quality. As standard.

      Where does it rank in the pantheon of hatchbacks? There's only one way to find out...


    • SWIFT TOPS RELIABILITY TABLE


    • NEW SWIFT: LEARN MORE

      Learn more about the brand-new Swift from Suzuki.

      Check out vehicle features, industry reviews, calculate finance quotes, and book a test drive, here.

    • NEW SWIFT REVIEW: OUR VERDICT

      We deliver our verdict on Suzuki's latest and highly-anticipated release.

      “Refined design, sweeping tech and safety improvements, and a heavily-upgraded interior positions the brand-new Suzuki Swift among the very best small cars.”

    *Model Shown: New Swift 1.2 Mild Hybrid Ultra at £20,649 on the road including dual-tone metallic paint available at £850. Terms and Conditions apply. All prices, specifications and offers correct at time of publication. Fuel economy and CO2 results for the New Swift range: Mpg (l/100km) (combined): 64.2; CO2 emissions: 99g/km. Figures shown are for comparability purposes; only compare fuel consumption and CO2 figures with other cars tested to the same technical procedures. These figures may not reflect real life driving results, which will depend upon a number of factors including the accessories fitted (post-registration), variations in weather, driving styles and vehicle load.

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