With a combination of well equipped, reliable cars & low contract hire rates, Suzuki is a franchise who have steadily built up a band of loyal fleet customers. The latest stage in the brands development, was to join forces with Toyota & offer customers a range of self-charging hybrids, based on number of successful Toyota models such as the Corolla & RAV4. The first of these to make it to Company Car Towers, was the Corolla Touring Sports, inspired, Suzuki Swace SZ5.
What’s different ?
To be honest from the Corolla Sports Tourer, not a lot. The front end & LED headlights are a different shape & frankly, that’s about it. So you get silver roof rails, body-coloured door handles & rear privacy glass. It looks like a Corolla.
We were testing an SZ5, which came finished in Super White paint, fitted as standard. Other options include black, blue, silver, bronze & even brown, yes brown,in a range of pearlescent, mica or metallic finishes.
Customers can choose from a single engine, a 1.8 CVT auto, in two specs, SZ-T or SZ5.
Entry model SZ-T offers an 8″ touchscreen, Smartphone connectivity for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, Bluetooth, DAB, dual zone climate control, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, seven airbags, pre-collision emergency brake system & a rear camera. The SZ5 adds front & rear parking sensors, Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, a phone charging pad & Park Assist & costs £2,000 more than the SZ-T.
Interior & technology
Suzuki aren’t famous for exciting interiors & the Swace is no different. It’s all well made & infinitely practical & being a Suzuki it’s bullet-proof. Dashboard, touchscreen & the info display plastics are nicely finished, with some low quality stuff used lower down, on the glove box & door pockets for example.
SZ5 equipment levels are high, so you’l benefit from climate control, heated seats, a heated steering wheel, a rear parking camera, a 7-inch colour digital information display & an 8″ infotainment touchscreen. This is simple to use & connects seamlessly with your Smartphone, so you can utilise Google Maps, because the Swace doesn’t offer SatNav.
There’s two USB inputs, plus a 12v socket located inside the central armrest & another located in the rear right side of the boot.
There’s a useful wireless smartphone charging pad, but you’ll need to turn your phone sideways so it won’t slip off this into the footwell. Yes it did this several times before I realised
As a whole, as in the Corolla, the system works well, but it’s not as good as those found in rivals, such as the Skoda Octavia or Seat Leon. The graphics look dated & even the physical controls located underneath the touchscreen, aren’t the easiest to use whilst on the move.
Practicality & boot space
Up front, both head & legroom is decent, whilst in the rear, three adults are able to sit comfortably across the rear seats. The cabin itself offers up a good sized glove box & front door pockets, with space under the armrest & two centrally located cup holders. In the rear there’s a single front rear seat pocket & two more cup holders are located within the fold down armrest. The rear door pockets are tiny.
The Swace comes with a really useful 596-litre boot, which is easy to access as its wide. There’s even useful space under the boot floor as well. Fold all the rear seats down & capacity increases to 1,232 litres.
The 1.8-litre hybrid petrol unit produces 101bhp &142Nm of torque,which is supplemented with a further 71bhp and 163Nm from the 53kW electric motor, giving a total output of 120bhp. Top speed is 112mph & 0-62mph takes 11.1 seconds.
It’s fair to say that the Swace is built for good fuel economy rather than speed & to prove that point, it benefits from a regenerative braking system, that helps to recharge the battery when your on the move, especially useful in towns & urban areas. Just select B in the auto gear box. Be warned though. You can’t use the Adaptive Cruise Control whilst driving in B mode.
MPG, CO2 & BIK
The combined mpg is 64.2 & emissions are 99g/km, which equates to a BIK of 23%. We undertook a 180 mile round trip to Ludlow for a short two night break & driving along the A49 & the M6, averaged 58.7 mpg, so not too shabby a return at all.
The car also features a hybrid-system monitor. This shows real-time data of how energy is flowing between the petrol engine, electric motor & battery. You can keep tabs on how you’re doing which is very useful.
The Swace comes with a choice three driving modes; Eco, Normal & Sport, plus if you’ve enough juice in the small battery, an EV mode as well. We drove mostly in Eco, especially on the motorway & utilised Sport mode on some winding country lanes. It does increase driver enjoyment & the car is noticeably more nimble, but we’re not big fans of the Toyota CVT gearbox, so the whine associated with this, is much in evidence in the Swace. However hard you plant that right foot down, the increase in revs from the gearbox, does not result in much in the way of forward propulsion, even if you’re driving in Sport mode.
On the plus side, it’s an all-rounder & a comfortable cruiser, that will get you from A to B hassle free.
The Swace will appeal to the pragmatic company car driver, who’s seeking a reliable, practical family estate, that’s packed full of standard equipment. It happily ticks all of these boxes & like the Corolla, it’s the hybrid technology with low CO2’s & great full economy, that will influence most fleet customers.