A heartwarming smooth, cheerful car

An ordinary car! For just over 15 grand you have a Suzuki Swift with air conditioning and enough power. And no trace of exhibitionism, wonderful. Matte black plastic on the dashboard that the gurus of the premium event have strictly banned. A five-speed manual transmission without design frills. A center console that doesn’t bother knees, because it doesn’t have one. Stitching and logo free seats that are not very good but good enough.

The infotainment screen shines raunchy between two decorative frames in gruesome piano lacquer. There is a simple three-spoke steering wheel that really steers. To the left behind the steering wheel clumsy levers for answering the phone and executing voice commands, because that can happen nicely with it. Dull, round ventilation grilles, a three-cylinder engine that you just hear running healthy. The fashionably hidden vertical grab bar behind the rear door window is the only impractical thing about it. Everything else is normal about the Swift, except for the cup holders, which are square for reasons that are unclear. Cubism!

Anything else. I walk on eggshells in too many test cars for this newspaper. Either because of the risk of damage to their megalomaniac rims, or because of their excessive width, which is a nuisance in parking garages. How liberating is the Suzuki in that light. It fits in every parking space. I can enter the Q-Park Groningen, which is terrifying for SUVs, with my leg on the gas and a cheerful pike dive. While the craziest SUVs on seven-mile wheels two meters wide hinder free passage, the Swift leaves it at one meter seventy-three. Sixteen-inch rims with old-fashioned tires cover the wheels safely against curbs. In the Polo club you only count from size seventeen.

Light Voetigheid

The Suzuki Swift is built for normal people with normal needs. They want a small and handy five-door car. They can’t nor want to spend a fortune on it. They are allergic to premium talk and their tastes were shipwrecked on the Furniture Boulevard. Stronger; there’s a chance they’ll like the white high-gloss decorative stripes on the dashboard and door panels. I don’t want to go to the pub with them, but I like those people. They still say: as long as it runs. It does.

The Swift is unique. Its secret is its weight, one of the major current issues in car construction. The three-cylinder 1.0 Boosterjet with turbo weighs only 850 kilos, the even cheaper four-cylinder with 90 hp 815. That may not mean much to the layman, but it is two to three hundred kilos less than the small hatchbacks of the competition. A Ford Fiesta weighs 1,060, a VW Polo 1,160 kilos. And those Germans are raving about weight savings. They don’t make any of it. Suzuki dists Weight Watchers mother. And I assure you: that does more for the driving pleasure than a sports suspension or crazy tires. All the more so because the little one with its not insignificant 112 hp reaches 195 and completes the 0-100 sprint in 10.6 seconds. No world times, but due to its infectious nimbleness just fast enough to feel a little GTI. There’s a fun rough edge to the Swift that harks back to the youthful pleasures of your first car.

Yes, for his slim line you pay a toll. You don’t buy German rock mountains. The fuel filler flap feels like board paper, the doors slam tinny shut. You will not be hindered by it on the way. You reap the benefits in a superior way: low consumption and that bygone driving pleasure. Even with my delighted driving style, I get 1 to 19. Smart Hybrid will contribute to this, a mild hybrid system that allows the energy generated with brakes via the battery to supplement the electrical system. That makes it less bad that the tank with 37 liters is on the tight side. You have to drive 600 kilometers to empty it.

I had a luxurious Swift, a Style. With heated seats, multimedia with touchscreen, steering wheel controls, LED lighting and a pretty hip on-board computer display for a few things. The garnish will cost you next to nothing. In a German showroom, the final amount for this package was 23,000 euros. At Suzuki you have to pull out all the stops to get to twenty.

That Swift anyway. Nobody sees him. He is not a design statement. He doesn’t have a premium audience. Lease juniors will look down on him – no Polo. But it’s the first small hatchback I recommend in this class. What a heartwarming smooth, cheerful car.