IN this sometimes baffling era of partnerships, alliances and ownership changes that populates the world of motor manufacturing, it is quite often a case of spot the difference.

There’s also the question of brand loyalty and price, too, and Suzuki’s business partnership with Toyota will not only strengthen its brand but also bring much-needed new offerings with a very competitive price tag.

If you are going to piggy-back on some of Toyota’s line-up, then a good place to start is surely on the back of the world’s best-selling car, the Corolla.

So here we have the Suzuki Swace, based on the Corolla hybrid sports tourer. It is the second product of the partnership, following on from the Suzuki Across, which is based on the Toyota Rav4.

This one is made in the UK, but unlike the Corolla it comes only in estate form rather than saloon and hatchback as well. There are also only a couple of trims – SZ-T and SZ5 – but both are comprehensive.

Riding on Toyota’s global platform, it offers customers a self-charging hybrid powertrain that features a 1.8-litre petrol engine and electric motor that in combination produce 122bhp.

The 1.8-litre engine is a revised version of the petrol-electric unit found in the previous Auris and the Prius, and is therefore pretty much tried and tested and probably the best of its kind money can buy.

It is a city slicker abetted by sharp-looking headlights, eye-catching wheels and rounded bumpers.

Capable of covering up to 50 per cent a daily commuting drive under electric power alone, the self-charging hybrid powertrain can easily achieve 60mpg as well as providing a relaxing drive.

The fourth generation 1.8-litre self-charging hybrid system develops 120bhp, with the added power of a 53kW electric motor. With no need for plug-in recharging and with low CO2 emissions, it should prove attractive to those looking for a greener, stylish car that can handle most tasks.

A closer look at the exterior design reveals a sporting and dynamic look with striking frontal styling. The narrow upper grille, set beneath the curved front edge of a flatter, clamshell bonnet, incorporates new all-LED headlight units with integrated daytime running lights.

The SZ-T model includes seven airbags, dual zone automatic air conditioning, eight-inch multimedia audio system incorporating Apple CarPlay and Android Auto device connectivity, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, rear parking camera and eight-inch centre dash touchscreen, automatic high beam and pre-collision emergency braking system.

SZ5 adds smart door locking, park assist, front and rear park distance sensors, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert and centre console tray with wireless charger.

Rear cabin comfort and legroom is one of the best in its class, while storage spaces can be found throughout.

The large 596-litre luggage compartment provides ample room for a variety of luggage or recreational items. For added versatility, the rear carpeted floorboard can be placed in a lower position to store taller objects and is also reversible with a resin backside that can be used for stowing wet or dirty items. The compartment can be easily expanded into a fully flat space by using the remote folding lever to fold down the second-row seats which creates up to 1,606-litres of luggage space.

In EV drive mode, the car is driven solely by its electric motor with power supplied from the battery.

The drive mode select function – offering normal, eco and sport modes – also allows the driver to adjust the vehicle’s performance to suit driving conditions.

The Swace has a lot going for it, not least of which is the application of Toyota’s technology.


Suzuki Swace SZ-T

Price: £24,499

Engine: Four-cylinder 1.8-litre petrol and electric hybrid producing 122bhp

Transmission: Electric CVT driving front wheels

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 11.1 seconds; top speed 112mph

Economy: 64.2mpg combined

CO2 emissions: 78g/km


Performance: ****

Economy: ****

Ride/Handling: ****

Space/Practicality: ****

Equipment: ***

Security/Safety: ****

Value For Money: ****