Test Drive: The New Suzuki Swace
Suzuki’s latest estate car brings Ian Lamming peace among the turmoil of an increasingly crazy world
PETROL crisis? What petrol crisis? I laugh in the face of petrol crises.
Why? Because the week of petrol pandemonium, of frenzied forecourt foolishness, I’m in the incredible Suzuki Swace.
It’s another wonderful collaboration with Toyota, this time in the form of a renosed Corolla estate, and it’s another humdinger, like the RAV4/Across symbiosis.
So as the cars spill forth, queueing for the panic-stricken pumps, Swace simply cruises on by. That’s because this marvellous petrol/hybrid has a potential to achieve more than 600 miles per tankful if you dare run it from brim to empty.
That in itself is enough to make it a favourite at a time where the world seems to be caught up in a mass melee of mileage anxiety – and they are not even driving electric vehicles. We live at a time of fragility, where societal breakdowns bubble beneath the surface and when you really need a great car to get you through the week; the last thing you need is anything to impede your progress. So I can’t praise the Suzuki enough for soaking up the anxiety I would have undoubtedly felt ifI’d been testing a gas-guzzler this week.
It does this using a seemingly modest 1.8 litre petrol/self-charging-electric hybrid which is amazing because it is so smooth, surprisingly rapid and stunningly economical. The paper figure of 64.2 miles per gallon on the combined cycle is within reach of normal driving. I manage an average of 60mpg with ease, without trying, with mixed conditions of motorways and minor roads and quite a lot of climbing. How good is that during a week that could have been stressful?
The supreme way it drives relieves the stresses and strains of life even further. Swace is comfortable and well equipped, it is near silent inside and smooth over the bumps and coarse surfaces. The air flows quietly over its sleek lines, the engine is imperceptible and switches between electric and combustion seamlessly. Driver is not even aware of these clever goings-on.
The CVT gearbox is creamy smooth, the engine/electric motor strong and willing. Ride, handling and grip are excellent, steering responses sharp as a razor. In truth, Swace is just a fabulous car to drive; really, really good. It comes into its own when you don’t feel like driving and during the week in its care I have both night jobs and weekend events to attend, each with long drives home at their end. But Swace cossets like no other to the point where the drive home is actually the most enjoyable part of the day, not the tiresome and trying termination of the working day it could have been.
Swace is well built and spacious inside with a large estate car load bay so it is practical and accommodating as well. Passengers are spoilt for space and equipment levels are high, with the exception of the lack of satnav – you have to use the maps app on your smartphone. But everything else is so impressive that I forgive Swace this transgression.
Swace is a car that could so easily be overlooked but it is so accomplished it really does stand out as one of the best vehicles of the year. It is certainly the car to have during a crisis. Crisis? What crisis?
Suzuki Swace SZ5
Engine: 1.8 petrol plus electric motor
0-62mph: 11.1 secs
Top speed: 112mph
Combined MPG: 64.2
Transmission: E-CVT auto
CO2 g/km: 103