I never thought I would drive a Suzuki which was built in Britain. Although this is a bit of a trick answer.
The Suzuki Swace is the latest collaboration between Suzuki and Toyota and the Swace is the Toyota Corolla with a different coat on. This follows on from the two companies getting together with the Suzuki Across and the Toyota RAV4 and that was something of success. Both were virtually the same car.
And the British link is that the Corolla/Swace was built on the line at Toyota’s plant in Derbyshire and while the Corolla provides several engine choices and a range of trims, the Swace has only one engine and just two trims which cost either £27,500 to £30,000.
But that one engine being a hybrid gives extremely low CO2 emissions and well over the 60mpg mark. There is a modest 120bhp and 0-60mph in 11 seconds plus a three year warranty or 60,000 miles.
On the infotainment front, the Swace has the exact same system you get in the Corolla. There is the 8.0in touchscreen which is high up on the dashboard and easy to see both on the move or stationary. There is the Apple CarPlay/Android Auto on every Swace along with DAB radio, Bluetooth and a USB socket plus a standard six-speaker stereo.
The Swace is extremely spacious in both the front and the back. Passengers get plenty of legroom and the head room is pretty good too. If four people are travelling together there’s enough room for luggage in the car and the middle passenger in the back has enough space for the trip.
A central armrest has two cupholders which are standard on all models, and the rear door pockets are of a good size.
The rear seats have a 60/40 split and there is almost 600 litres of carrying capacity with the seats up. That’s decent, but the Octavia Estate can take a whopping 640 litres.
The inside is pretty solid with bags of quality and Suzuki have done a good job to pick up the Corolla upmarket bits and pieces like a reversing camera which comes as standard. There are powerful LED headlights which are fitted as standard and the posh Swace gets front and rear parking sensors.
The Swace handles extremely well with excellent steering. Being hybrid it is a quiet mover when you are running on just electric and if you are in traffic which is slow you can just stay in an electric mode. And when the petrol engine kicks in it is certainly not particularly noisy.
Thanks to the hybrid technology, low CO2 emissions in the Swace is tremendous. The 1.8-litre engine emits 103g/km, putting it in one of the lowest benefit-in-kind company car tax bands in the class.
While Suzuki finished mid-table in the WhatCar? reliability survey in which 31 manufacturers were looked at, Toyota was the third-best overall, and that’s great news for Suzuki when it comes to the Swace.
On the safety front the Corolla scored higher marks for side impact protection which means the Swace will prove to be a safe vehicle. The range topper gives you blind-spot monitoring as well as rear cross-traffic alert.
There are also plenty of active safety aids on hand to help you avoid a collision in the first place, including automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, traffic sign recognition and automatic high beam assistance.
With football being very much on our minds at the moment and England going out of the European competition, the last time England won the football World Cup the year was 1966 and that was when the first Toyota Corolla went into production.
The total production is heading to the 50 million mark making it the highest selling model in the world – even more than the VW Golf. Hopefully England will win the world cup before the 100th million Corolla is on the road.