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Suzuki with a swagger – Swace SZ5

What is it?

It’s a Suzuki Estate with a rather odd name and it’s built in the UK!

Really? Yep, it’s an interesting piece of badge engineering and go beyond that badge and hey presto, you find a Toyota Corolla Estate built at Burnaston in Derbyshire. Bur what about that name?

Swace is the ultimate combination Swagger and Grace according to and from the outside there’s very little to tell it apart from the Corolla – in fact you’ll only spot the difference if you inspect the grille and the front bumper.

Suzuki likes to keep things simple in terms of range complexity to the extent that there really isn’t much at all. The only option is a 1.8-litre hybrid, a 100bhp four-cylinder petrol engine with a 70bhp electric motor, combining to produce a maximum of 120hp and matched to a CVT transmission.

I’m thinking it unlikely that you will come across too many Swaces on the road, but then Suzuki is only looking at small numbers annually in sales terms while much also depends on production availability from the Burnaston factory.

Entry point for the entry SZ-T is £27,750 – a couple of grand more than the base Toyota Corolla Touring – while the SZ-5 we tried comes in at £29,299 – although the smart silver paintwork adds a further £600.

You can have any colour you like as long as it’s white with a choice of seven different paint colours costing an additional £600-900 – that’s the only option really, the rest of the spec is standard. Suzuki is offering a five year/100,000-mile warranty for the Swace – the same as a Corolla.

What do we think?

The Swace is best described as being built for comfort rather than speed – it’s not the fastest or the best handling but it does feel smooth and floaty on the road and for many, that’s just what they are looking for.

That 1.8-litre engine is fairly quiet and smooth unless you try and spur it into serious action when the CVT struggles to keep up and it all becomes rather revvy, but again, it’s not that sort of car.

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The transition between electric and engine is automatic and very smooth with just a small dashboard indicator telling you when you have switched modes. Suzuki makes no wild claims about the EV range, it’s designed for short distances or when stuck in traffic but it does help with acceleration from the traffic lights and with fuel consumption. We averaged just 1mpg short of Suzuki’s claimed 64.2mpg.

As with all Suzuki models, the interior and instrumentation is clear and easy to use with simple dials and tactile climate controls. The infotainment system comes from Toyota  and features an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity as standard even on the base spec versions.

There’s also heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a rear parking camera and active cruise control. The top spec SZ5. At £29,299 adds park assist with front and rear parking sensors, a blind spot monitor and wireless phone charging.

In terms of seating and space, the Swace is comfortable enough although the load space is not the biggest around – 596 litres as standard and 1,606 litres  with the rear seats folded down. There are some useful bits such as cargo netting for the boot, a roof rack and a protective film over the door handles prevent the paint from being scratched.

So, when faced with the choice do you buy a Suzuki Swace or a Toyota Corolla Touring? No idea really, it comes down to which grille and front bumper you prefer. Both are ultimately well-sorted cars.

Suzuki Swace SZ5

.P11D value: £29,899 (as tested)

Engine: 1.8-litre hybrid

Max Power: 102hp

Max Torque: 142Nm

Max Speed:  112mph

0-62mph:  11.1 secs

Fuel economy: 63.4mpg (on test)

CO2: 103g/km

VED: £145 (first year) £140 (second year)


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