I knew the Suzuki Swift was getting a facelift but I didn’t expect to see one in the middle of the Solent, that bit of the sea which is the highway for ships just off Southampton.
But don’t worry I wasn’t hallucinating. Those highly organised people from Suzuki had brought one of their facelifters out in a boat as we were heading to the Isle of Wight in a RIB (Rigid Inflated Boat) and they wanted to show off their product.
Suzuki Marine are the global leader in the design and manufacture of outboards and the engines that were pulling our boat costs around £35,000, which is pricier than any Suzuki from their range.
But back to the refreshed Swift, a car which has been around for almost 15 years and sold more than six million units around the world and more than one million in Europe.
Britain quite likes it and since 2005 a total 150,000 have been sold here.
You will be pleased to see that Take That are at the latest advertising front for Suzuki and they are replacing Ant and Dec! Probably the better option
The Suzuki Swift 1.2 Dualjet SHVS SZ5 4×4 is one of the few small hatchbacks which has four wheel drive and I have been driving the latest special edition Attitude.
Giving the 90HP Swift Dualjet the Attitude included a roof spoiler, side skirts, 16-inch wheels with 185/55 R16 tyres and a reversing camera touch screen which can double up as a satnav for an extra fee.
It is one of the most powerful and economical cars among its direct competitors.
It has CO2 emissions of 108g/km and miles per gallon well over the 50 mark.
A price of around £15,000 might seem quite a lot for a smallish, 1.2 litre five door hatchback but the Suzuki range is a delight and it is a great car to drive.
You are not going to be chasing a Mercedes down the road but there is bags of torque and you can get to above 110mph after arriving at 60mph in 12 seconds.
It’s quite a hard drive but generally, the car is quiet to drive and on the motorway there are no problems with no noise. At 3,000rpm will see you 70mph.
Inside, the seats are comfortable with good shaped backrests and plenty of adjustment. All new Swifts have a leather-covered steering wheel.
There’s enough legroom in the back but a long journey for four adults might be irritating.
The Swift 1.2 Dualjet SHVS 4×4 is an interesting operation. This uses a silicone fluid multi-plate clutch to engage the rear axle as well as the front whenever the going gets slippery, and through the potholes and puddles unchallenging on an off road course there were no problems.
SHVS means Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki, and the mild hybrid system not only helps deliver a bit more torque, it also results in a WLTP combined average fuel economy of 49.7mpg.
The chassis frame helps to make the current Swift 120kg lighter. And, in the case of the 4×4, the weight of the rear diff only adds 50kg to that, making it 1,405kg altogether.
The insurance group is 25D and the vehicle excise duty is £150 for the first year and £5 cheaper thereafter
The UK is quite a small operation for Suzuki when in India they turn out their cars there by the millions.
This year Suzuki will sell 38,000 units here but they are reliable and have a loyal following and that’s easy to understand.