Without being particularly showy, the previous Swift was generally pleasing to look at.

Much like everything else about it, the bodywork was a straightforward affair – but some shrewd, sharp lines and a sense of neatness kept it from seeming too upright and anonymous.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
The colour drive computer tells you the condition of the mild hybrid system’s battery, which charge up pretty quickly through coasting. Handy to know if it’s flat and you’re coming into an urban area

The new version does enough heavy lifting to make the nameplate’s transition recognisable, although perhaps not enough to prevent a little anonymity from creeping into the softer, more rounded profile.

Any trade-off in chic has been compensated in the model’s unseen belt tightening, though. Suzuki claims the latest Swift is more than 100kg lighter in its starter guise. Some 30kg of that has been lost in the switch to the cleverer, stiffer Heartect platform – despite the car being 40mm wider and 20mm longer in the wheelbase than its predecessor.

Even the all-wheel-drive version, with the presumably heftier four-cylinder petrol engine, is claimed to weigh less than one tonne.

That unit – the naturally aspirated 89bhp 1.2-litre Dualjet – is a carry-over from the previous Swift; ditto the optional four-wheel drive system, which uses a viscous coupling to deploy torque to the back axle in the event of wheelspin at the front.

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The 109bhp turbocharged 1.0-litre Boosterjet engine drives the front axle via a standard five-speed manual gearbox or an optional six-speed automatic.

Alongside either engine, the Swift can now be had with SHVS (Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki), a very mild form of petrol-electric hybrid that uses an integrated starter generator to gently assist the combustion engine during acceleration and improve start-stop performance.

Its fitment comes with a 6.2kg weight penalty because of the addition of a 12V lithium ion battery under the driver’s seat – but its 37lb ft of electric motor-supplied torque helps to reduce CO2 emissions by 7g/km, making the Swift a sub-100g/km prospect in this format.

The system, which is recharged during braking, provides a whiff of technical sophistication to what is otherwise an orthodox modern supermini.

The suspension is by way of MacPherson struts at the front and a rear twist beam, and the variable-ratio steering is electrically powered.

Various chassis components have been hollowed out or otherwise lightened in the pursuit of an admirably svelte kerb weight, but otherwise the new Swift remains a considered, creditworthy update of the old.

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