Cars we want to buy: Suzuki Swift

Updated May 17, 2021 | Same topic: Best Advice for Car Buyers

This mighty mini is small yet incredible.

Hello, car fans. Joseph here, Content Lead for Like many of my contemporaries from Generation X, I grew up watching Japanese henshin and super sentai shows on TV, where characters used improbable transformations and shouted their fighting moves out loud. 

Cool costumes, fantastical weapons, and even the awe-inspiring mechas used in an episode’s climactic fight scene were known trademarks of this genre. But the ones that made the biggest impression on me were the vehicles that the protagonists used when they were out on patrols.

And more often than not, those rides were made by Suzuki. Whether it was the Bio Mach motorcycles on Choudenshi Bioman, the nondescript blue SJ with the top down on Shaider, or even Mask Rider Black’s Battle Hopper, the product placement ingrained in my young mind that Suzuki was what the good guys used.

Suzuki Swift front

The Suzuki Swift wasn't built for fighting aliens, but it will still get you pumped up         

Years later, I got a front-row seat to probably the first Suzuki I’ve ever wanted to get since: the Suzuki Swift.

Small yet incredible

It isn’t exactly built as a battle steed against alien monsters and villainous cyborgs, but the Swift still has the chops to get you ready for action. The small dimensions on the subcompact hatchback make it a joy to bring on urban commutes, aside from resulting in hassle-free parking. It has a wide and low-slung stance inspired by a certain British four-wheeled icon, and the generous greenhouse does away with much of the blind spots, inspiring confidence even for newbie drivers.     

Suzuki Swift side

Its petite dimensions make it a breeze to drive 

Don’t let the conservative proportions fool you though, as the Swift has more than ample space inside for up to five occupants, especially with the current generation’s increased proportions. Plastic surfaces are par for the course on the Swift’s price range, but the generous head- and legroom overall won’t leave you feeling shortchanged. There’s ample space for groceries and luggage with 242 liters behind the rear seats, expandable to 918 liters with all but the driver’s seat folded down.    

The anti-theft head unit on the first release appealed to me, but I suppose the Swift has to keep up with the times, which explains the presence of a multimedia touchscreen display in the center of the dashboard. At least the flat-bottomed steering wheel is a nice touch, echoing Suzuki’s sporty aspirations for its hatchback.   

Suzuki Swift interior

The current generation has a sporty-looking interior   

A curb weight of just 1,000 kgs. helped the Swift effortlessly live up to its name, especially with the 1.5-liter M15A gasoline engine from Japan on the first generation. The particular downside of that motor was that it was a bit too thirsty for its own good, which wasn’t consistent with Suzuki’s reputation for economy and efficiency. That changed with the switch to a more frugal 1.2-liter engine along with a lighter body. The cool factor of having a 4-speed gated automatic gave way to the practicality of a CVT, but hey, at least you’re guaranteed to be left with more than just chump change by the end of the week. 

Suzuki Swift cargo space

There's ample space behind the rear seats for cargo, and the included tonneau cover is a nice touch

Despite the downsized powertrain, the Swift doesn’t feel compromised. Even when you tap the gas pedal midway to the floor, the smaller engine is happy to oblige. There’s less mass to deal with, which consequently means better handling, near the top of its class. The belts and pulleys that pass for a gearbox might feel a little strained at times with spirited driving, but it’s more to remind you of what the Swift is for rather than something to be concerned about.

Suzuki Swift engine

Despite being downsized, the engine feels as responsive as ever, if not more so

Before taking the wheel of the Swift, I had been accustomed to rear-wheel drivetrains and truck-based platforms. This front-driven mighty mini with the unibody frame made outdoor forays less of a chore for me, giving way to a realization: the Swift might be a decent family car, but it’s also an indulgence to hoard all to yourself, especially when it tackles corners with aplomb like an oversized go-kart, to your passengers’ occasional chagrin.

I tend to be drawn towards cars that are not about acceleration so much as agility. In that regard, the Suzuki Swift fits the bill nicely, so it qualifies as a car that I’d want to buy someday. But for now, I’ll be off to watch reruns of more tokusatsu shows over the weekend.

Know more about Suzuki Swift 2023

Suzuki Swift

The Swift is the Japanese small-car expert Suzuki's entry into the growing demand for reliable subcompact hatchbacks. For the Philippine market, the Suzuki Swift 2023 has one variant which is the Swift 1.2 CVT. It comes with a price tag of Php 972,000.  

Powering the Philippine-spec Suzuki Swift is a 1.2-liter inline-4 gasoline engine. This four-banger can make up to 82 horsepower and 113 Nm of torque. The said engine is then paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) only. Power is then sent to its front wheels. 

Size-wise, the Suzuki Swift 3,840mm long, 1,735mm wide, and 1,495mm in height. It also has a wheelbase length of 2,450mm, and a ground clearance of 120mm.  

Locally, the Swift Philippines competes against the likes of the Toyota Wigo, Mitsubishi Mirage, Honda Brio, Kia Picanto, and the Mazda2 Hatchback. 

₱ 972,000

Joseph Paolo Estabillo

Joseph Paolo Estabillo


Joseph holds a degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines Diliman and has been writing professionally since 1999. He has written episodes for CNN Philippines' motoring show Drive, and has worked on corporate projects for MG Philippines and Pilipinas Shell. Aside from being’s Content Lead, he also writes content for numerous car dealerships in the U.S., spanning multiple brands such as Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Maserati, among others.


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