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Suzuki Swace test drive

The Suzuki Swace is simply a rebadged Toyota Corolla. It's an affordable, practical hybrid estate, so could it be your next family car?

Summary

In a competitive estate market the Swace struggles to stand out especially against the Corolla it was cloned from but it’s still a well equipped pick.
Design
6
Comfort
7
Driving experience
6
Value for money
8
Safety
8

Summary

In a competitive estate market the Swace struggles to stand out especially against the Corolla it was cloned from but it’s still a well equipped pick.

Make and model: Suzuki Swace
Description: Mid-sized estate
Price range: £29,599 – £31,399 (plus options)

Suzuki says: “Sporty meets functionally. The full hybrid Swace is both super stylish and practically brilliant.”

We say: The Swace is an impressively likeable estate that does what it says on the tin: practical, affordable and economical. 


Introduction

The Suzuki Swace was launched in 2020 and is basically identical to the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports. Built on the same production line in Derby, the cars were born of a partnership to minimise development costs.  

Although the Corolla is available as a hatchback, commercial vehicle and estate, the Swace is only available in the estate version. It was updated in 2023 to simplify the trim options and to add more power to the hybrid setup. 

As the Swace is a rebadged version of the Corolla, they both score quite closely in our Expert Rating Index. As of January 2024, media reviews of the Suzuki Swace have earned the car an overall New Car Expert Rating of C, with a score of 63%. For comparison, the Toyota Corolla gets an A-grade rating with a score of 71%. However, this includes the popular hatchback version, which isn’t available for the Swace, as well as more powerful engine options and a wider model range.

What is it?

The Suzuki Swace is a mid-sized estate which is, save for a few minor styling differences, a Toyota Corolla Touring Sports with Suzuki badges. Looking at the front of the car, the most obvious difference is the front bumper, which consists of a few cosmetic changes that make no significant difference to anything. Take a seat inside and the only difference is that the Toyota badges have been replaced by Suzuki badges, but the intention for this car was exactly that. 

Apart from its obvious competitor, this estate sits in the same category as the likes of the Skoda Octavia Estate, Kia Ceed Sportwagon and SEAT Leon Estate. Most of its rivals offer alternative body styles but, if boot space and a hybrid powertrain are must-haves, then the Swace is one to consider. Or if, for some reason, you want a Toyota but you don’t want it to be badged as a Toyota…

First impressions

Unsurprisingly, the Suzuki Swace looks very familiar. It’s not necessarily the sexiest car on sale, but that doesn’t mean it’s not practical and well equipped. From the entry level trim it has heated seats, a heated steering wheel and keyless entry. Features such as seat releases from the boot make it easy to fold the seats down and load large items without hassle. 

Although there’s lots of choice in the market for estates which encompasses used vehicles too, the hybrid engine in the Swace makes it a strong contender on fuel economy and performance, which we’ll delve into in more detail shortly.   

We like: Good equipment from base level upwards
We don’t like: Mundane exterior styling 

What do you get for your money?

The Swace range is separated into just two trim options: ‘Motion’ and ‘Ultra’. Starting at £29.6K, Motion comes with a reversing camera, an eight-inch touchscreen media display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and heated seats and steering wheel. 

Ultra adds rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, wireless phone charging and front and rear parking sensors. The top spec starts from £31.4K and both versions only have one engine option, a 1.8-litre petrol hybrid unit (unlike the Corolla, which also offers a more powerful 2.0-litre hybrid as well). White is the default paint option or, at a cost, pearlescent, metallic, black or blue paint colours are available.  

Euro NCAP is yet to give the Swace its own safety score or to confirm whether the vehicle can claim the same level of safety as the Corolla which it has tested, but given that there are no equipment or structural differences to the Corolla, it’s fair to suggest that the Toyota’s five-star rating applies here.

As standard the Swace comes with lane departure warning, a lane centering function and vehicle sway warning. 

Suzuki offers the Swace with a three-year, 60,000 mile warranty and a 12-year anti-perforation warranty. 

We like: Simple trim levels with good equipment
We don’t like: Short warranty period compared with some rivals 

What’s the Suzuki Swace like inside?

In the driver’s seat, it’s easy to get situated and visibility all round is good. Compared to the Corolla, the Swace gets an eight-inch touchscreen rather than a ten-inch screen but it doesn’t feel too small. Although the only real button to operate the system is for volume control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto simplify the interface so it’s familiar to use. Neither trim option offers in-built navigation so connecting a phone is the only way to get sat-nav on the central screen. 

In the back seats, there’s plenty of legroom and the central hump on the floor isn’t huge – so the middle passenger won’t have their knees around their ears. Headroom is a bit limited for passengers over six foot but for children or shorter adults it should be comfortable enough. There are Isofix points on the two outer seats too. 

The rear seats fold down flat and can be released from the boot. There’s a luggage net that pulls up from behind the back seats to keep everything in the boot or it could be handy for dog owners too. The boot itself is very spacious, as you’d expect of an estate, and is only beaten in size by the Skoda Octavia. 

We like: Practical interior layout and space
We don’t like: Corolla gets a bigger screen 

What’s under the bonnet?

There’s just one engine option available in the Swace, a 1.8-litre petrol-electric hybrid engine. The electric system handles itself by charging off the engine and it can drive the car on just electric power for short periods of time. This helps to significantly improve fuel consumption, offering between 60 to 80mpg. Urban driving around town returns far more economical figures but 50 to 60mpg for motorway driving is still a respectable achievement for an estate. 

The Swace can tow braked trailers up to 750kg or unbraked trailers up to 450kg. If a large towing capacity is a must then competitors like the Skoda Octavia can tow anywhere from 1,300 to 2,000kg, depending on specification. The Swace is more than capable of towing a trailer full of supplies but it’s not necessarily suitable as a caravan pulling partner. 

Given its low emission figures at 102 g/km, the Swace could be a good company car pick. 

What’s the Suzuki Swace like to drive?

Thanks to the hybrid system, the Swace can be surprisingly spritely. The electric power smooths out any lag in the petrol engine and gets you to where you need to go. At higher speeds the electric power tails off and the engine takes over which can be a little noisy. For short trips around town it’s quiet, relaxed and very economical. 

The full hybrid system makes use of the electric power without the hassle of having to plug-in the vehicle at the end of the day. This makes it economical all the time, unlike a plug-in that needs regular charging to achieve the best fuel economy figures. 

The steering is light and gets heavier at higher speeds to help with controlled handling. It’s not particularly exciting to drive around twisty lanes and throw into bends but that’s not what it’s made for. The added electric system inspires confidence when joining a motorway or overtaking and makes sure the car can get up to speed quickly and safely.

We like: Electric power for getting up to speed 
We don’t like: Noisy engine on the motorway 

Verdict

If you’re looking for a new company car or a family wagon alternative to an SUV the Swace is a practical and versatile estate. In the UK, Suzuki has a smaller market share than competitors like Toyota and Skoda, but that shouldn’t be a reason to overlook it. 

It makes a great next car from a hatchback or small family car, and offers upmarket features like heated seats and steering wheel from the base trim level. The hybrid system smooths out the driving experience and gives the car enough power when it’s needed. 

Similar cars

If you’re looking at the Suzuki Swace, you might also be interested in these alternatives

Fiat Tipo SW | Ford Focus Estate | Hyundai i30 Tourer | Kia Ceed Sportswagon | Peugeot 308 SW | Renault Megane Sport Tourer | SEAT Leon Estate | Skoda Octavia Estate | Toyota Corolla Touring Sports | Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer | Volkswagen Golf Estate

Key specifications

Model tested: Suzuki Swace Ultra
Price as tested: £31,999
Engine: 1.8-litre petrol full hybrid
Gearbox: CVT automatic

Power: 138bhp
Torque: 142 Nm

Top speed: 112 mph
0-62 mph: 9.4 seconds

CO2 emissions: 102 g/km
Euro NCAP safety rating: No rating
TCE Expert Rating: 63% (as of January 2024)

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Trinity Francis
Trinity Francishttps://www.trinitygfrancis.com/
Freelance automotive journalist and motoring writer focusing on all aspects of automotive content, with particular attention to emerging trends, industry innovations, tech and consumer advice.
In a competitive estate market the Swace struggles to stand out especially against the Corolla it was cloned from but it’s still a well equipped pick.Suzuki Swace test drive