Pretty sexy may not (always) be associated with hatchbacks (HBs); but if HBs can be pretty sexy at all, Suzuki’s Swift may well be one epitome of this.
Consider the red (they “officially” refer to this shade as “Blazing Red Metallic”) unit that arrived at my doorstep in Las Piñas.
On the outside, the color is a must-mention; it isn’t at all tacky, instead, it’s of a shade that may easily remind one of… that eye-catching outfit worn by THAT “girl in the red dress” in “The Matrix”. It is also not as boxy as, say, the Wigo – a plus in my books because it gave this car a smooth(er) silhouette (instead of the seeming abrupt cuts of the former), mimicking sportier cars. It has a low hood that emphasizes the headlights that, as a pamangkin (nephew) noted, “looked like Pokemon eyes”. There’s the (more) expansive windshield – perhaps not as expansive as the Jimny’s, but definitely more than Celerio’s. And then there’re the 15-inch alloy wheels that give the car a somewhat “elevated” look (not as elevated as Jimny’s, but higher than Celerio’s).
The inside of Swift has touches that are also worth mentioning – e.g. comfy black seats that gave that sense of class (think of red trimmings on black, even on the door handles), GPS-ready touchscreen audio unit (though here, Ciaz’s Android-running capability was definitely better), brilliantly-lit gauges, high headroom (for those in front and the back), dual SRS airbags, side impact beams, and ABS.
This isn’t to say that the Swift is, well, ALL THAT; it also has (numerous) limitations. There’s the basag sound system, particularly when music is played loudly (literally, “broken”; though also referring to bad sound quality). The A/C sucks (on a hot day, expect to still sweat even if the A/C is already full blast). The leg room is a-okay in front; but at the back, it’s a tight squeeze (three can supposedly fit there, but the designers may have been thinking of people with short legs or of kids). Kulang (lacking) storage spaces – heck, there isn’t even a cup holder by the gear stick (!). And the trunk space is quite limited (perhaps typical of HBs here). On a trip outside the city, I chucked my backpack, a sling bag (with my laptop and camera in it), a pair of shoes and around six kilos of singkamas (yam bean from some vendor along the highway to La Union), and it was already full. Yes, the back seats can be folded (again, typical of HBs); but this isn’t always possible, particularly if you’ve (extra) passengers with you. And so making do with the tiny trunk is… tricky, to say the least.
But as was pointed out to me, who are we to complain when Swift – which is also available in: Pearl Metallic Arctic White, Metallic Silky Silver, Glistening Grey Metallic and Metallic Midnight Black – sells for only P678,000?
With a 1.2 liter, 4-cylinder VVT engine, the Swift is by no means a mean machine. I noticed, for instance, that the car sorta struggles revving up again once you’ve slowed down; it’s almost like the climb from 0 to 20 to 40 to 60 and so on is too taxing for the car. The Swift is also not malikot (doesn’t move a lot) even when force to speed up; nor is it noisy (driving along TPLEX, it was almost like being enclosed in a bubble).
Now, this car may be “sold” as a city car (i.e. small and all that). But we all know that (even) city cars are stretched to their limits by the owners who (still) use these cars for out-of-the-city trips. Which was what I did with a trip up north in Pangasinan (i.e. La Union) an then Ilocos Sur (i.e. Vigan).
If you think being in “tight spots” means driving in, say, Sta. Ana market during market day, or braving Divisoria’s insides on a weekend, then an alternative may be driving to a place like Marilao in Bulacan, where if you just blindly follow Waze (which I did, LOL!), you’d end up traversing cemented one-way roads right in the middle of rice paddies. Here, Swift’s small size came in extremely handy, so that the thought of a possible incoming traffic should be worrisome (for most), but not necessarily so when on Swift.
I found myself in the same tight spot (again) in a small barangay in Bauang in La Union, where – after following a tourist guide to a vineyard – Swift had to traverse a somewhat tight rough road, where the car’s size came in handy again (as much as the Hyundai Eon’s and the Mitsubishi Mirage’s also there then). Yes, the car felt out of place there (literally speaking, since I could “feel” the pebbles/rocks slip under the car); but that it fit the tight spot well was comforting, indeed.
The Swift also moved smoothly in braving curves – e.g. passing through the tricky roads that lead to/from Quirino Bridge in Ilocos Sur.
Fuel consumption in the city averaged from 10.6km/L to 11.6km/L; while outside, it went up to 12.7km/L to 13.0km/L. On the expressway, this went to 14.0km/L.
It was before entering TPLEX again (on the way back to Manila) that I felt Swift as a city “thing”. There, it was the only small car, with SUVs, 4WDs, buses, et cetera what appeared like “normal”…
Twice, Swift was mistaken for Wigo (“WHAT!?” moments for me), so this obviously pigeonholes this car with the likes of, yes, Wigo, Hyundai Eon, Kia Picanto and Mitsubishi Mirage. Suffice to say, if you’re considering a HB, then Swift definitely deserves to be given a spin.
And for me, plus points for it being pretty sexy…