The current Swift is a favourite with the DriveLife team, especially the fun-loving Sport model; it has the looks, fun factor, handling and enough performance to put a smile on your face, every drive. That’s going to be a tough model to beat.

Come 2024, we were invited to Whanganui to sample the 4th generation Suzuki Swift. Can Suzuki make it has fun and good-looking as the third generation?

Suzuki New Zealand claims the Swift is “one of New Zealand’s most recognisable vehicles”, and it’s hard to deny them that claim. Everywhere you go, there’s going to be a Swift. It’s become a national road-trip game too, a game that ends up with someone (or everyone) with a sore shoulder – especially if it’s a yellow Swift.

But while the Swift is Suzuki New Zealand’s most popular-selling model, what about sales in general? In 2022, they sold 168,000 cars here, and this was down to 149,000 in 2023 – a drop experienced along with most other manufacturers.

For 2024, the market is already down 13% year to date, with 61,000 total car sales by this time in 2023, and in 2024 this is sitting at 53,000. Passenger and SUV sales are down even more, sitting on a 22% reduction. Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) have been hit even harder, with a 70% reduction in sales versus this time last year.

Blinged-up RSC

For Suzuki in New Zealand, that translates to 6,929 total sales in 2023, with 2,388 year to date for 2024 (as against 3,386 at this time in 2023). You can bet that Suzuki is wanting to claw back those losses with the all-new Swift.

As always for Suzuki in New Zealand, the Swift is the top seller with 939 units sold to the end of April, Jimny sales are up to 402 for the same period – helped along by the new 5-door Jimny – this Ignis on 217, the S-Cross at 186 and the Vitara with 138 units sold. Apparently there will be a special-edition ‘Safari’ Vitara coming this month, and Suzuki have hopes that this will bolster sales of the model.

In our market, Suzuki takes around a 5% share of all new-car sales, year on year, with little variation. Broken down by segment, they manage 7% in the passenger and SUV segments. In the Light Car segment (for private sales), the Swift is the leader in sales, selling twice as many as Honda’s Jazz, it’s next closest competitor in sales numbers.

A key source of increased Suzuki global sales is the Indian market, where the company has an incredible 41% of all new car sales in that country. For 2023, that means 1.79m units sold in India.

Suzuki Swift: History

The Swift was launched in 1983 at the Tokyo Motor Show, and was a stand-out for the company as the car came equipped with larger engines than previous Suzuki models. In 1989 the second generation was launched, the all-too familiar wedge-shaped Swift that came with independent suspension and had a GTI variant.

The third gen was launched in 2005, and this is definitely the most well-known Swift. For that model, Suzuki absolutely nailed the design brief and its style and design has not been matched in the small car segment since. In 2010, the model got chassis changes for better handling, then in 2017 the facelift model included a 1.2-litre hybrid version.

In total, to date an incredible 9 million Suzuki Swifts have been sold globally.

2024 Fourth Generation Suzuki Swift

I’m happy to announce that on seeing the new Swift in photos, Suzuki has not gone all out to change the design. Those proportions and design clues are still there, but tightened up and modernised.

The car now gets LED headlamps and L-shaped daytime running lights. The rear is familiar but also more modern, now with blacked-out pillars to give the roof a floating effect. There are 16” alloy wheels on the top-sec RSC model, while the base model gets 15” steel wheels with hub caps.

In an important announcement, you will still be able to buy a manual gearbox Suzuki Swift. Hats off to the company for committing to a 5-speed manual gearbox, even though they expect it will only take 10% of all Swift sales. Interestingly, the manual gearbox is more economical than the CVT automatic, and that’s not something we often see – if at all.

On the inside, there is an all-new cabin with a 9” central screen as standard, one that’s been lifted from the new S-Cross model. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is standard, and after feedback from customers the car has redesigned front seats with better cushioning. The interior on the top-spec RSC gets a dual-tone grey and black cloth interior.

The Swift comes with a larger glovebox and more console storage than before, and the boot has a capacity of 265 litres – around the same as the outgoing model.

2024 Fourth Generation Suzuki Swift: powertrain

The 2024 Swift gets a new engine, the Z12E. It’s a 3 cylinder motor with 1,197 cc (1.2-litres), and a very-high 13.9 compression ratio. Interestingly, the new Swift is a hybrid only, so there is going to be just the one engine option for the time being.

The new motor puts out 61kW of power, slightly less than the third generation. Torque is up slightly to 111Nm, and fuel economy is listed at 4.0L/100km for the manual gearbox  model (only available in base spec) while any CVT model should return 4.3L/100km.

The new engine has some updated features, such as an electric water pump and cylinder cooling jets. The number of parts in the engine has been reduced to save weight and manufacturing costs.

The hybrid side of the car is a slightly updated version of the third generation’s hybrid system, and it still has the ‘integrated starter-generator’ unit. That’s a 12-volt mechanical device that helps start and assist the engine, and it’s rated at 2.3kW of power and 60Nm of torque. It assists the engine, but never actually drives the car. The hybrid battery on the model is smaller than the previous model’s 10Ah unit.

The hybrid system will give up to 30 seconds of electric motor assist on hard acceleration, and according to Suzuki the recuperation of the newer hybrid system is far faster than before, allowing for that smaller battery.

There’s also an improved brake booster for stop-go traffic, the front anti rollbar is bigger, and Teflon sheets are now added to the suspension stabliser mounts to increase rigidity. Rear suspension travel has been increased, and the body structure has been increased in stiffness for better control of noise, vibration and harshness.

2024 Fourth Generation Suzuki Swift: Features

The new model has a number of driver assist and safety features that we will cover off in a full review.

Adaptive cruise control is standard across all Swift models, including the manual version. It works with a single button and can also be tied to the traffic sign recognition (TSR) system to make it easy to change speeds according to the current speed limit. The new Swift has a speed limiter, and this also works in conjunction with TSR.

The headlights now have automatic high-beams, and for the first time in a Suzuki, the TSR recognises stop signs and road works signs. There are other safety systems like blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, parking sensors and hill start assist.

The new Swift has not been ANCAP tested, so Suzuki are not able to provide an ANCAP rating for the car, although it will have a Euro ANCAP rating later this year.

2024 Fourth Generation Suzuki Swift: Swift Sport

There is no Swift Sport model available in the new Swift – yet. Suzuki NZ says the current generation of Sport will continue to be produced for at least the next 12 months.

2024 Fourth Generation Suzuki Swift: Models and Pricing

New Zealand will see three Swift models initially:

Swift Hybrid GLS Manual $25,990

Swift Hybrid GLS CVT $27,990

Swift Hybrid RSC CVT $29,990

Note this is introductory pricing, although Suzuki NZ could not give a specific point of when that introductory pricing would end.

Two-tone paint on the RSC models adds an additional $500. Pricing of these models is all less than the comparable current third generation models and is thousands of dollars less than comparable Jazz or Yaris models, says Suzuki.

The base Hybrid GLS model comes with standard items such as keyless entry and start, rear parking sensors, LED headlights, LED DRLs, and heated mirrors.

The Hybrid RSC CVT adds 16” polished allows, blind spot monitoring, leather steering wheel, heated front seats, and electric folding mirrors.

You’ll be able to choose from 6 colours for your Swift, with Frontier Blue being the hero colour for the fourth-generation Suzuki Swift.

As well as the Sport model, the current generation Swift GL 1.2 CVT will be for sale at its same $24,990 price, and will stay for sale in New Zealand for the next 12 months.

Suzuki NZ predicts sales of the new Swift to be around 2,850 in the next 12 months, and say that stock is available – you can go to a Suzuki dealer now and purchase the new, fourth generation Swift.

Easy to pick out the base model with its hubcaps

2024 Fourth Generation Suzuki Swift: Drive

Grabbing a two-tone top-spec RSC, we headed out for a decent drive from Suzuki’s HQ in Whanganui to a car and driver change near Hunterville. My first impression as a passenger is the ride – for such a small, light car, Suzuki have done exceptionally well to make the car ride so well. It’s not perfect, but it is surprisingly good at removing any jarring.

Heading away from Suzuki HQ

Being the top-spec model we made use of the heated seats; they are only single stage, so in a short amount of time – hot butts. But still appreciated to even have heated seats in a Swift, at last.

The engine can be a little noisy when under load, but on the open road it’s whisper quiet.

Our next drive car was the base CVT model, with my turn behind the wheel. The Swift is still fun – phew! – and turn-in is very good. It feels really chuckable as we headed on some particularly windy backroads towards Hunterville, and the steering provides good feedback. Up hills, I found myself using full throttle more than once; it would be good to test the Swift one day with 4 people on board to see how that engine copes with some weight.

Front a standstill, you can feel the hybrid assist helping the car get moving, and ‘our’ car was showing 4.0L/100km total fuel consumption to date, a very good figure.

So first impressions before lunch are of a worthy replacement for the Swift; not radically different, but a nice update to the design and drivability. Post lunch, we reset the trip meter for the easy drive back towards Whanganui. It went up to 3.8L/100km, and pretty much just sat there for the distance to the next car swap.

At the point, we got into the manual, base-model Swift. The clutch is extremely light, which is something I don’t mind at all, but there’s little feel to it so you can’t tell where the take-up point is. I expect this would become easy after a short time of ownership. The manual definitely has more performance than the CVT, and the engine sounds a lot happier under hard acceleration, since there is still CVT-flaring in the automatic version.

After driving the manual, it was day over. The new 2024 Suzuki Swift seems to be a great follow-on from the third generation, and we look forward to reviewing one as soon as we can. Needless to say, we are very much excited to see the new Swift Sport when it arrives at some point.

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Fred Alvrez
How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm a driving instructor and an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.


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