There’s a saying that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Trouble is, that doesn’t really apply to cars.
The reason being that the market is so competitive, and customer behaviour so fickle, that to rest on your laurels can meet the onset of a slow but sure downward spiral.
The trick with an already good product is to evolve. Take the Suzuki Swift.
Sometimes you can’t get enough of a good thing, and the Swift is a lesson in how that is true, but only if you keep focused on innovation and changes in demand.
The Swift has been around since 2000, and has been constantly difficult to topple from its pedestal of being pound-for-pound one of the best superminis around, even if it’s not the best-known.
I’ve always been a fan of its handling, composure, good looks, reliability and affordable pricing.
The flagship model, the Swift Sport, has in particular been a joy,leading the way in hot supermini hatches long before such a thing was as common a concept as it is today.
The good news is the all-new generation of the Swift is only weeks away from our forecourts.
The essence of its design has been retained, although flowing edges differentiate it from the previous generation.
There are strong shoulders and vertically arranged front and rear lamps. The body is shorter, lower and wider, and the new front grille is more in your face.
The look of a low centre of gravity is further established by blacked-out pillars that create the appearance of a floating roof.
The new model rests on a new-generation light and rigid platform, which with other innovations means the car has shed 120kg.
The new Swift is 10mm shorter than the outgoing model, while its wheelbase is 20mm longer, creating more interior room, including 25% more luggage capacity at 254 litres — around 20% greater than the outgoing model. It’s also 15mm lower and 40mm wider.
Under the bonnet, you’ll find some decent powerplants, including a 90hp 1.2-litre four cylinder Dualjet engine with manual transmission that offers CO2 emissions of 98g/km and officially claims 65.7mpg.
Or you might choose the 111PS 1.0-litre three cylinder Boosterjet turbo manual, claiming CO2 emissions of 104g/km and 61.4mpg.
Suzuki’s ALLGRIP ‘AUTO’ fourwheel drive system is available as an option on higher models.
The cabin has changed quite a bit; seating positions have been lowered to ensured the same head clearance as the outgoing model, and changed to give more room between seats front and rear.
The centre console has been turned five degrees towards the driver to help with ergonomics, and the front seats have been refashioned and made more comfortable.
You’d expect Suzuki to bring the car bang up to date in terms of safety and tech, and so far so good.
Standard equipment for all trim levels is good, but the SZ3 model looks good value to us with 1.2-litre Dualjet engine and manual transmission, six airbags, air con, leather steering wheel, DAB radio with Bluetooth and four speakers, rear privacy glass, LED daytime running lights, 15-inch wheels, body coloured door mirrors and front electric windows.
Shifting up the range, the SZ-T trim comes with 1.0-litre Boosterjet engine and manual transmission plus rear view camera, smartphone link display audio, 16-inch alloy wheels and front fog lamps glass.
The SZ5 adds auto air con, 16-inch polished alloy wheels, sat nav, a 4.2 inch high-def colour LCD display and a bunch of other stuff including a forward detection system that combines a monocular camera and a laser sensor for advanced safety functions.
Full details of the Swift Sport are to follow (it will undoubtedly be given its own launch). There will be bargains on the outgoing model as the new cars go on sale next month.
Prices range from £10,999 for a 1.2-litre SZ3 to £15,499 for a 1.2-litre SZ5 SHVS ALLGRIP manual.