But before you head down to the showroom, my only advice is to throw out or shelf away all your driving experience with respect to luxury marques and sports cars for those 10-15 minutes behind the wheel of this car. Because what the Swift (was and still is) meant to be, is a wholly different type of creature from those nether regions exciting marques. And within its class, I would say that it is pretty outstanding.
Just opening the door, the first thing that strikes anyone is that the interior has been refreshed and suitably updated to bring it on par with a more modern look to the interior. All around, there are improvements to the build quality and the sound insulation. The interior does bear a slight resemblance to Suzuki's flagship - the Kizashi; which is a good thing. It is on paper, bigger than the previous generation, but still would not be considered large enough to be fully practical. All in all though, it is good enough to hold its own against its bread and butter competitors. There is no major misstep here - it all boils down to personal preferences.
But as with most cars, the proof is to be found in the driving. And that is where this little Swift has that little edge that makes you feel that perhaps the Swift moniker is not such a misnomer after all. Thanks to its really light weight, the 1.4 litre engine does not really struggle. It is a gutsy little engine that really revs quite well. Before you know it, the revs have already climbed up to 3k and then 4k and then more. In this car, you won't be winning any traffic light drag races against the turbo-diesel cabs that ply our roads, but you won't be faced with an agonizingly long climb to 3 figure speeds either.
My (biased) pick for this car would be the manual variant. Because that is where one can truly enjoy the difference in driving that the Swift has over its competing hatchbacks. But I suspect most would pick the auto. In which case, the main selling point for this Swift would be its looks and its price. If the price is kept below the strongest marque in this class (read, VW), I am sure the 2011 Swift will have its own group of fans. But if the price is ever pushed a little too close to those of the People's Car, then the sad truth is that most will just buy the DSG equipped Polo.
And it is on this somewhat sobering note that I end this review. The new Swift really is a more than decent car that I would love to see enjoy the same success that its predecessor did. But, with COE levels being the way they are and with the strong offerings from VW, it might prove to be a rare sight on our roads. So despite capturing fans, it might not capture the fans' wallets.
Still, at least it has got be eagerly anticipating the launch of the new Swift Sport. It looks like it could be another very decent car from Suzuki.