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SWIFT COVERED (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Suzuki's Swift 4x4 might be a minority player in the range but it offers supermini buyers something decidedly different. Jonathan Crouch reports.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 57
The Suzuki Swift 4x4 brings all-weather ability to the buyer who wants a new car but doesn't need the bulk of an SUV. With a modest 1.2-litre petrol engine, it's not going to cost a lot to run. Just budget for a set of winter tyres to really get the best from it in more inclement seasons.
Backgroundword count: 144
Suzuki have history with four-wheel drive cars. Although we like to kid ourselves that modern stability and traction control systems will get a two-wheel drive car most places that a four-wheel drive model will go, when the chips are really down, Suzuki knows there's no substitute for sending drive to each corner. It's sold thousands of Vitaras and Jimny SUVs but the Japanese company has also shifted quite a few rather less overtly four-wheel drive cars. Vehicles such as the SX4, the Kizashi and this, the Swift ALLGRIP 4x4. The Swift's much improved in this sixth generation form and the availability of this 4x4 ALLGRIP variant delivers supermini buyers an option that's at once a little different to the mainstream and with no little ability at its elbow. If you don't think along the same straight lines as most, this one might well appeal.
Driving Experienceword count: 274
The basics first. You're not offered any choice in the engine department, this Swift ALLGRIP coming with a 1.2-litre petrol four-cylinder that's good for a wholly unexceptional 90bhp, so don't get any illusions that you're at the wheel of a shrunken Audi RS3. If you can get this thing off the line and through 62mph in less than thirteen seconds, count yourself as a pretty deft driver, or at least one who is deft while displaying zero mechanical sympathy. The 'Dualjet' powerplant features mild hybrid assistance. Suzuki calls it 'SHVS' or 'Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki' technology and it's based around the use of what's called an 'Integrated Starter Generator' powered by a tiny 0.2 kWh lithium-ion battery that sits under the driver's seat. This set-up harvests kinetic energy when you brake and converts it into electrical energy. Not the kind that could take you short distances on electric power alone - the battery isn't big enough to allow for that. Instead, the regenerated energy is used to power the standard engine stop/start system and also to provide a mild extra power boost as you accelerate - around 50Nm of extra torque for up to 30 seconds. The all-wheel drive mechanicals are simple and rely on a permanent 4-wheel drive system which transfers additional torque to the rear wheels when required via a viscous coupling. You'll appreciate the added security this brings in wintry conditions but remember two things. In such conditions, any car is only as good as its tyres and four wheel drive traction advantages aren't equalled by commensurate braking benefits, so it's always best to err on the side of caution.
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