The Suzuki Swift is a subcompact car produced by Suzuki since 1983. Over the years, the Swift has gone through six generations with upgrades in styling, performance, and technology. It is known for its nimble handling, fuel efficiency and affordability. The Swift was originally designed for the European market but it has gained popularity worldwide including North America, South Asia, Latin America and Africa.
Some key highlights in the Swift’s history include the first generation launched in 1983 which started it all. The second generation introduced the familiar hatchback body style still used today. The third generation in 1994 brought modern rounded styling. The fourth generation in 2004 marked the Swift’s launch in India under Maruti Suzuki. The fifth generation saw a major redesign in 2010 with a sportier look. Finally, the latest sixth generation Swift launched in 2017 features an all new HEARTECT platform and dynamic exterior styling.
With over 6 million units sold worldwide, the Suzuki Swift has proven to be a very successful model. This article provides an overview of the different generations of the Swift, looking at key upgrades, specifications and models over the decades.
First Generation (1983–1989)
The first-generation Suzuki Swift launched in 1983. It was available as a 3-door hatchback and 4-door sedan body style. The CA/CB series engines were offered:
- 1.0L I3 petrol producing 45 hp
- 1.3L I4 petrol producing 67 hp (1)
The first-gen Swift was known for its light weight, nimble handling, and fuel efficiency. It measured under 12 feet long and weighed around 1,600 lbs. This helped make it popular as an affordable, economical city car.
Second Generation (1989–1994)
The second generation Swift debuted in August 1989 and featured an all-new design and various upgrades over the first generation model. Major changes included:
- More rounded, aerodynamic body shape for improved fuel efficiency.
- Increased dimensions for more interior space. Overall length grew by 135mm.
- New double wishbone rear suspension for better handling and ride quality.
- Larger 1.0L and 1.3L engines with multi-point fuel injection.
- Available 4-wheel drive on some models.
- Power steering introduced on all models.
- Driver’s airbag available as an option.
The second generation Swift received positive reviews for its improved driving dynamics, increased space and comfort, and more efficient engines. It helped strengthen Suzuki’s reputation for producing affordable, functional small cars. Popular variants included the sporty Swift GTi with a 1.3L DOHC engine producing 95hp. Over 3 million second generation Swifts were produced worldwide before being replaced in 1994.
Third Generation (1994–2003)
The third generation Swift debuted in 1994 and was produced until 2003. This generation saw some major changes from the previous models.
Notable updates on the third gen Swift included a completely redesigned body and chassis, increased dimensions, and new engine options. Suzuki introduced a 1.3-liter and 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine on the third generation models. Styling was more rounded compared to the boxy shape of the second gen. The interior also received a redesign with improved comfort and ergonomics.
During this generation, Suzuki expanded the Swift lineup by introducing new variants. In 1995, they launched the Swift GA model which stood for “Grand Automobile” and featured luxurious amenities and accessories. A sporty Swift GT model was also introduced which had a 1.3-liter engine producing 92 hp. There was also the 4WD Swift which provided four-wheel drive capabilities.
Overall the third generation Swift delivered major advancements in power, performance, comfort and safety. It proved to be a popular compact car around the world thanks to its affordability and reliability.
Fourth Generation (2004–2010)
The fourth generation Swift debuted in 2004 on an all-new platform. It featured a major redesign with rounded styling and increased dimensions. Suzuki offered the Swift as both a 3- and 5-door hatchback. This generation introduced the Swift Sport in 2005, marking Suzuki’s entry into the hot hatch segment.
The Sport model featured a 1.6L 4-cylinder engine producing 125 hp. It had stiffer suspension, bigger brakes, and sports seats for a more performance-oriented driving experience. Suzuki aimed the Swift Sport at younger buyers looking for an affordable but fun hatchback.
In 2008, Suzuki gave the Swift a mid-cycle refresh. Changes included a redesigned front fascia, rear bumper, headlights and taillights. The interior also received some minor styling updates. The biggest change came under the hood, where the base 1.3L engine was replaced by a more powerful 1.4L unit.
According to WardsAuto, Suzuki sold over 512,000 fourth generation Swifts worldwide. It helped further establish the Swift as Suzuki’s most popular model https://www.wardsauto.com/vehicles/suzuki-unveils-fourth-gen-swift
Fifth Generation (2010–2017)
The fifth generation Swift was introduced in 2010 and was available as a 5-door hatchback. Styling was all new and featured a curvy design with a rounded nose and large headlights. The interior was redesigned as well with higher quality materials.
Engine options included a new 1.2 liter 4-cylinder producing 94 hp and a 1.3 liter 4-cylinder with 95 hp. Both engines featured variable valve timing for increased power and efficiency. The Swift was also offered with a new 6-speed automatic transmission for the first time.
Performance upgrades for the fifth gen included a stiffer chassis and revised suspension tuning for better handling. The top-trim Swift Sport model featured a larger 1.6 liter engine making 134 hp. This allowed the Sport version to accelerate from 0-60 mph in under 9 seconds.
According to Wikipedia, the fifth generation Swift received positive reviews for its fun driving dynamics, spacious interior, and fuel efficient engines when it debuted. It continued Suzuki’s reputation for producing affordable, enjoyable small cars.
Sixth Generation (2017–present)
The current sixth generation Suzuki Swift was introduced in 2017 and represents the latest evolution of the popular compact hatchback. Key features of the sixth generation Swift include:
Three trim levels offered: GA, GL, and GLX
1.2L and 1.0L VVT petrol engines mated to a 5-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission
Comprehensive safety features including seven airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, ESP® with hill hold assist, and ISOFIX child seat anchors
Smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay® and Android AutoTM on higher trim levels
Available all-grip Auto four-wheel drive system on GLX models for enhanced traction and handling
Sporty RS variant introduced in 2020 with unique styling and features
Refreshed for 2023 model year with updated front grille, bumpers, and LED headlamps
Overall, the sixth generation Swift represents Suzuki’s continued commitment to the fun, affordable, stylish, and safe compact hatchback segment with the Swift.
Performance & Engines
The Suzuki Swift has been powered by a range of small 4-cylinder petrol engines over its generations. Here are some key specs for notable engines:
First gen (1983-1989) – 1.0L I4 producing 53hp. 0-60mph in 13.5 seconds.
Second gen (1989-1994) – 1.0L I4 producing 58hp. 0-60mph in 12.5 seconds.
Third gen (1994-2003) – 1.3L I4 producing 92hp. 0-60mph in 10.5 seconds. Source.
Fourth gen (2004-2010) – 1.5L I4 producing 102hp. 0-60mph in 9.9 seconds.
Fifth gen (2010-2017) – 1.2L I4 producing 94hp. Up to 61mpg fuel economy.
Sixth gen (2017-present) – 1.0L turbo I4 producing 111hp. 0-60mph in 10 seconds. Up to 65mpg fuel economy.
In summary, the Swift has focused on small, efficient engines delivering decent acceleration and excellent fuel economy over its generations. More powerful sport versions like the Swift Sport have also been available.
Awards & Reviews
The Suzuki Swift has won many awards over the years, cementing its reputation as one of the top small cars globally. Expert reviewers consistently praise the Swift for its affordable pricing, sporty handling, fuel efficiency, and overall value.
The current generation Suzuki Swift won the Indian Car of the Year 2018 award, beating out stiff competition like the Hyundai Verna and Honda City (https://www.suzukigaborone.com/car-of-the-year-awards-suzuki-a-shining-star/). It was also named Subcompact Car of the Year by AutoGuide.com. Reviewers highlighted the Swift’s energetic driving dynamics, spacious interior, and high safety ratings.
Earlier generations of the Swift also received accolades from the automotive press. The second-gen model won the RJC Car of the Year award in Japan in 1993. The third generation was named Semperit Irish Small Car of the Year in 2009. More recently, the previous generation Swift Sport won Top Gear’s Bargain Car of the Year award in 2017.
Overall, the consistent high praise and awards won by the Suzuki Swift over multiple generations demonstrate its enduring appeal as an affordable, fun-to-drive small hatchback.
The Suzuki Swift has been a popular small hatchback known for its affordability, reliability, and sporty handling since its debut in 1983. When shopping for a used Swift, there are some key things to consider regarding maintenance costs, issues to look out for, and the best model years.
In general, the Swift is economical to maintain and repair. Scheduled maintenance costs are reasonable, with oil changes and tune-ups costing similar amounts to other small hatchbacks. The engines and manual transmissions have proven very durable, often lasting well beyond 200,000 km with proper care. Watch for issues with automatic transmissions, as these have required rebuilding in some vehicles over 150,000 km.
Rust can be an issue on older models, especially 1st and 2nd generation Swifts. Carefully inspect the underbody, wheel wells, and lower door panels for any signs of rust or corrosion. Later generation Swifts have much improved rust protection. Other common issues to look out for include problems with power window regulators, worn suspension components, and faulty ignition coils.
For used Swift buyers, the third (1994-2003) and fourth generations (2004-2010) tend to offer the best value. These models offer the reliability and low cost of ownership Swift owners expect, without as many of the problems found on earlier cars. The Sport models from these generations are also popular for their nimble handling.