Tuesday, October 19, 2021
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2021 Suzuki Swift GL Navigator and GXL Turbo (car review)

THANKS to urban sprawl, ever tightening streets and a distinct lack of parking in our cities, the small car has come into its own. And none more so than the 2021 Suzuki Swift GL Navigator and GXL Turbo.

Both of these rides are solid small cars that conquer that urban sprawl like a boss, and starting from $18,990 (plus on-roads) for the GL Navigator and $25,290 (plus on-roads) for the Swift GLX Turbo, they’re jam packed with style and technology.

The exterior has seen some cosmetic updates over the last few years, and the latest versions looks great. Some might say it’s become a little too rounded and out of proportion, but in reality it now looks like a car that’s ready for open road adventure.

Inside the style and flare continue, with a modicum of convenience too. It all works together really well, with all models featuring a cloth interior and an ultra-modern dash that brings all of the necessary items together nicely.

The GL Navigator and the GXL Turbo are both fitted with a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, packing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. It also provides hands-free phone and voice recognition, and satellite navigation.

Suzuki has opted for a finger slide volume control, and while it’s reasonably effective, we just weren’t fans of it. Nothing beats a good old-fashioned volume knob. That said, the cabin overall is clean, tidy and spacious.

The GL Navigator gets air-conditioning, a reversing camera, cruise control, remote central locking and auto-down power windows. The GLX Turbo adds telescopic/tilt steering adjustment, paddle shifters, and climate control air-conditioning.

Additionally, it scores keyless entry, and a 6-speaker sound system. Safety is key for Suzuki too, but only if you buy the better model. The GXL Turbo gets autonomous emergency braking, weaving assist, lane departure warning and rear cross traffic alert.

It also scores forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control. The GL Navigator gets none of these, but does get six airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, and stability and traction control.

The wide doors and a tall ceiling allow for easy entry, and there’s a decent amount of rear leg and foot room. The seats are comfortable and provide support in all the right areas, even in the rear.

We even managed to fit a rear facing baby seat in the back seat, with ample room next to it. The biggest surprise was not having the front passenger seat buried into the dashboard.

The GL Navigator is powered by a 1.2-litre 4-cylinder DualJet petrol engine, putting out 66kW and 120Nm through either a 5-speed manual, or CVT auto transmission (as tested). The latter is average at best and makes the Swift feel, well un-swift.

It’s jittery and clumsy; from utter confusion on what gear it should be in, to it’s failure to respond under heavy acceleration, it’s less than mediocre. In the GXL Turbo, it’s a much better story though.

Instead of a 4-cylinder, Suzuki has opted for a 3-cylinder BoosterJet 1.0-litre turbo producing 82kW and 160Nm, mated solely to a 6-speed auto (a real one, not a CVT). Aided by that gearbox, the Swift feels quick and energetic off the line.

The throaty 1.0-litre has plenty of oomph, albeit with a heavily controlled gearbox that changes gear for you, even when you’re using paddle shift (just to make sure you don’t break it). Road noise is apparent, but not to the point of being unbearable.

Fuel economy in the DualJet GL Navigator, which utilises dual injectors for each cylinder, is a claimed 4.6-litres/100km We saw 5.2-litres during testing. The BoosterJet uses direct-injection to deliver a claimed 5.1-litres/100km. We managed 6.8-litres in practice.

Both variants offer mind blowingly good value for money, and the Suzuki Swift GLX Turbo should be on your radar (and so should the GL Navigator, depending on your budget). Despite a few issues, it’s certainly a car that you’d be happy to have in your driveway.

The 2021 Suzuki Swift GL Navigator and GXL Turbo are available in Pure White Pearl, Burning Red, Speedy Blue, Premium Silver, Super Black and Mineral Grey. They come with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty.

Our test vehicles was supplied by Suzuki Australia. To find out more about the 2021 Suzuki Swift GL Navigator or the GXL Turbo, contact your local Suzuki dealer.

Our rating for ‘Driving Experience’ is based on a middle ground between the two variants (individually, the GL Navigator scored a 6 and GXL Turbo an 8). 

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Driving Experience
7
Exterior Styling
7
Interior Look and Feel
7
Technology and Connectivity
8
Family Friendliness
7
Value for Money
9

SUMMARY

Pros - Both variants: full of technology, good interior space; build quality; value for money.
Cons - GL Navigator: under powered, CVT transmission is terrible; poor safety standard. GLX Turbo: None.
Mick Glenn
Mick is a car fanatic, with petrol pumping through his veins. With a deep love for cars, and what makes them tick, Mick likes things that go fast, very fast. But he also appreciates a Sunday cruise in the Rolls...... who are we kidding, he'd drive the wheels off that too.

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