You can fall in love many times, but you will always have only one first love; hence the first love is the most difficult to forget. Similarly, you many have owned many cars but the first car registration card bearing your name will always hold a special place in your heart. In my case, my first love was the Suzuki Swift.



I still remember back in 2004 when it was first launched, it was the most expensive B segment Asian made hatchback in the market, yet at the same time for a fully CBU unit out of Japan, it was truly value for money. I got the 2nd batch and I recall how excited I was when I was told my car was ready to be collected (and cursing the fact that I was in Langkawi attending a sales and marketing conference back in 2004).



The Swift also made me experience what it was like being involved in a car club; how fun it was hanging out with people with similar tastes and passion; arranging & coordinating events and sponsorships and making a load of friends in the process.


Life goes on … the car was sold after owning it for 4 1/2 years with no complaints …. yet from time to time, my mind wonders back to my silver Swift … how’s a 2004 CBU model being compared against the current CKD Swift? And what makes the Swift being the best selling Suzuki model world wide? A colleague recently bought one and it has rekindled feelings associated to my first love. Did you know that for a B segment vehicle (albeit a hatchback), the Swift GX is the most affordable Japanese vehicle in Malaysia (the cheapest Japanese make regardless of segment is the Suzuki Alto which not many can accept its size and shape).


Let’s see if we can find out more here ….




Little has changed since its introduction. Other than redesigned front and rear bumper, things pretty much remains ever green.


Measuring 3,760mm in length, 1,690mm in width and 1,510mm in height, the Swift is longer by 7cm, wider by 2.5cm and shorter by 3.5cm compared to a MyVi, creating a more purposeful looking vehicle.  Despite being almost a decade old, the Swift is still pleasing to the eye. It’s one of those vehicles that ages well.


This is a Frankenstein GX-GLX model because the GX by rights does not come with foglights. My colleague managed to get hers fitted with them. The fog lights are turned on by default whenever the front lights are switched on.


Personally, a rear spoiler is a must for the Swift as it completes the whole car look.


The tail light cluster is different from the CBUs and today, you can get a load of after market accessories for the Swift if you wish to dress it up more.



Powering this is a 1.5litre VVT DOHC engine producing 101hp @ 6,000rpm and 133Nm @ 4,000rpm. While 4 speed gearboxes are no longer the flavor of today, it’s still very popular among Japanese manufacturers for its proven reliability (and probably economies of scale) and that’s what you’ll find in the Swift. Your speedo will take approximately 10 seconds to reach 100kph from standstill and while it won’t win you any drag championships, it’s peppy enough to get you going.


There are 2 variants being offered. The bare bones GX and the standard GLX. Seen here is “supposedly” a GX but loaded with options to the point where it’s a semi-GLX (more on this later). Looking at the engine bay, there was item that caught my eye … some cables/connectors that were loosely held together:


That cluster of cables were just dangling near the battery and to me, it seemed like a gross way of assembling an engine. At least lock-tight it somewhere la. I wonder how Suzuki could have let pass a shoddy work like this, regardless whether it poses a safety issue (gasp!) or not.



Ride and Handling


Now this is where the Swift truly shines. You will NOT find another car below RM70k that eats corners like the Swift and you won’t find another review on the Swift that does not have the word “Fun” tagged to it. Take it up to Genting or some B roads and you’ll find how amazingly stable the car is around bends. I recall a fellow Swifter sharing with me how she spun her Toyota Vios a couple of times while owning it but after changing to the Swift, she never had such issues. Pushing it further gives you a hint of oversteer but power off and the car will move itself back in line with little fanfare.


The 4AT gearbox is relatively smooth but seriously, anything with only 4 cogs is bound to be thirstier compared to 6 speeders, particularly when driving around at swifter than legal speeds. I used to recall my silver was scoring an average of 420 – 450km per 37 litres of petrol city drive, which is ok compared to other 4 speeders (except Vios which I also had for a period of time and driven under the same conditions, the Vios gave me about 100km more for the same amount of fuel).


Drive it too fast will have one undesired effect: Rear passengers won’t like you very much. The suspension is tuned to be hard and while this is great for the driver, passengers may not appreciate the level of intimacy with the road.


Cabin Convenience


The cabin remains pretty much the same as it was before and largely the same for both variants except:-


The steering lacks any buttons for audio controls.

The side air conditioning circular vents has its bling bling covers removed

The head unit  is a a Blaupunkt single-DIN head unit with USB connectivity and a two-speaker system as opposed to the GLX’s integrated flush HU with 6 speakers.

The tachometer remains uncharged between mine and the current Swift with all the information presented in a clear, simple manner.

There is 3 banes associated to the Swift and they all spell bad news for rear passengers. Do note that GX does not come with rear headrest but this unit did.

  1. Lack of rear headroom
  2. Lack of rear legroom
  3. Inclination of the rear seats are too straight

This means, if there’s someone who always takes advantage of commuting in your car, put him/her behind for an outstation trip and after 4 hours, you will be cured of this person forever! Coupled with the bumpy suspension, the back is not some place fun to spend too long a time in. Swift justice!


In fact, a few Swifters back in 2004 entertained the idea of converting their cars into a full time 2 seater and utilizing the rear seat space for something else. A Brunei friend of mine did exactly that and installed a kick-ass audio system.

 The “teh tarik” hook, something that should have been made mandatory for all cars, IMHO!

The boot, at first glance looks pathetically small but it’s one of those few cars that comes with a 2 tier shelf.

Lift up the top shelf, you’ll find approximately another 5 inches of depth. SMA is very thoughtful to include an emergency kit.

Inside the kit, you’ll find a jump start cable, bandages and a safety triangle.

Below that, you’ll find the space saver spare tire. And below that tire, you’ll all the necessary tools to change your tire.

Well, all is not bad (in terms of space) for the Swift. Being a hatchback means the boot aperture is huge and with the rear seats folded down, you get an almost flat layout which is good for odd-sized cartons and boxes.


Despite cutting down the prices and slashing some specifications off (most notable is the KEYSSEY which is present in the GLX), the safety features of the car remains the same between the GX and the GLX. You get:-

  • 2 frontal airbags
  • ABS
  • EBD
  • BA




  • Engine : 1.5litre VVT DOHC
  • Drive system : FF 2WD
  • Dimensions : 3,760mm (L), 1,690mm (W), 1,5150mm (H)
  • Wheelbase : 2,390mm
  • Maximum output : 101hp (74kW)/6,000rpm
  • Maximum torque: 133Nm/4,000rpm
  • Fuel tank capacity : 43litres
  • Transmission : 4 speed Auto
  • Steering : Electric Power Steering, tilt adjustable
  • Brakes: Front – Ventilated disc, Rear – Drums
  • Suspension: Front – MacPherson Struts & coil springs
  • Suspension: Rear – Torsion beam @ coil springs
  • Tires: 185/60R15
  • Audio: CD tuner (MP3/WMA) with USB
  • SRS Front airbags
  • Head impact protection structure
  • ABS with EBD
  • Electronic Brake Force Distribution
  • Break Assist
  • Foot protection design for brake & clutch pedals
  • 3-point ELR for front seat belts with pre-tensioners
  • 3-point ELR for rear seat belts
  • High mounted stop lamp
  • Immobiliser
  • Side impact beams


The Swift GX retails for the price of RM65,888, under-cutting the next cheapest Japanese B segment (and most popular): the Toyota Vios sells for RM73,200 (even then you’ve got only 1 driver airbag and a manual transmission).


However, in this segment, the Swift has a strong heavy-weight contender: the “Lagi Power, Lagi Best”, Perodua Myvi which is the most sold model in Malaysia (up to April 2012, a total of 28,832 units are put to the roads. The most popular Japanese car, Vios can’t even hit half that number standing at 10,566units). The MyVi 1.5litre Extreme Auto outspecs the Swift by a huge margin; offering Muti Info Display, a funkier dashboard, headunit with Navi, better rear legroom, leather seats, leather-wrapped steering with audio controls and cheaper by about RM4k.


At the end of the day, it depends on your priorities. The Swift would be ideal for you if you have the following criteria:-


  1. I don’t want a national car
  2. I have a tight budget not exceeding RM70k
  3. I don’t need a boot
  4. I want a safe and fun car to drive around


While prices in Malaysia are insanely inflated, at least when compared to others, the Swift GX is relatively affordable. Get one and you are looking at something like the following monthly repayment (assuming 10% deposit and 2.5% interest rate):


5 years – RM1,111.90

7 years – RM829.50

9 years – 672.60




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Though working in a field completely unrelated to the automotive industry, kenso has always had an interest in dabbling into the automotive industry, particularly business related aspects such as sales, marketing, strategic planning, blah blah blah. You can probably find better sources of technical specifications elsewhere if you dig long enough in the internet as this blog talks about the real life ramifications of who, what, where, when and why of the automotive world and focuses on relevant information to potential buyers.

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  1. Duck
    July 1, 2012 at 10:50 am — Reply

    haha.. yes, I tend to take high speed corners whenever I have the Swift back in my hands – my brother is currently using the car. When I first got my Civic, i was surprised that the Swift took the corners at possibly higher speed and better.

    Suzuki make good cars, but I think there is a lack of service centres and parts are expensive. SMA’s decision to bring down the price significantly was good for the industry in general, but bad for CBU owners though.

    One thing to point out is that the car interior makes a lot of noise. After 2 years, I had a full band playing in my car! The plastic clips in the door panels often break and left inside the door panel making lots of plastic noise. Not sure if the same problem persist in newer units now though.

  2. Septrain
    July 1, 2012 at 11:40 am — Reply

    Yes I must admit is nice car to have. Fun & Zippy and small so finding tight parking spots is not an issue. But the FC for this car varies from 8L/100km to 12L/100km depending on who you ask. I have always been able to get around 8L/100km but when I ask my other friends who are driving it, they say NO WAY. They say the FC for this car is very bad. Overall good car. But I am trading it in for a D segment car. Going to miss you.

  3. Septrain
    July 1, 2012 at 11:43 am — Reply

    Not to forget the 2nd hand value for this car is fantastic. After owning it for 5 years, I can still get 47k trade in. If sell myself, I think 50k is not a problem. Considering I paid 70k for it.

  4. DUck
    July 2, 2012 at 6:10 pm — Reply

    I suppose the 2nd Value part only applies to CKD owners. A quick check on the pricing.. i think a 5 year old CBU is only about 40k.. and I paid 85k for it.

    If you want fun and zippy drive, then obviously you won’t get good FC :p

  5. Gilthoniel
    July 3, 2012 at 10:25 pm — Reply

    Yes bro, the swift is also my first love…

    Too bad had to sell her off with a big loss just recently after having her since August 2005. I remember I took her home from the dealership even before the roadtax was in effect. Had to keep her in the house over the weekend because the roadtax was dated after the weekend. Don’t ask me how that happened… Hahaha. Was too excited and I demanded for it to be delivered to me no matter what.

    Unfortunately got hit by an irresponsible drunk b!tch who ran a red light… Sigh

    I miss that car man…

  6. EX-ProtonSavvy
    January 25, 2013 at 3:39 pm — Reply

    i was changed the car from Proton Savvy to Suzuki Swift…
    The handling by Proton Savvy is far and better.but when ur ride on normal condition and quality aspects swift win far more….
    But on uneven road swift lost again and again swift lost on term
    of acceleration and fuel consumption …for 43 litres just 370-420km on heavy foot drive more than 150km/h for Savvy 40litres fuel heavy foot more 150km/h u got around 470-520km and for normal P.savvy can go up to 680km per tank…Normal ride for Swift I just reaching 530km….
    Overall it ok…especially on NVH…totally quite satisfied but driving dynamic wins more mark to Proton Savvy….even Savvy less equiped by safety like ABS EBD and BA….the factor maybe helped by Renault Engine….on Savvy
    but talk about resale value SAVVY deep and deep more than Swift….


    • January 26, 2013 at 10:06 am — Reply

      I guess you could be right but I am reluctant to recommend Savvy because I hear so many problem related to the AMT gearbox. Otherwise, it’s probably a great car to drive.

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