Frugal on fuel, family-friendly and favourably priced.
The attractive-looking Suzuki Swace hybrid is an option worth considering for savvy customers hunting an affordable family estate.
But, I hear you ask, isn’t the Swace just a re-badged Corolla Touring Sports?
There’s certainly no denying that the two Japanese family estates share the same DNA, with the Swace being a product of the collaboration between Toyota and Suzuki.
But there’s really nothing wrong with that, as Suzuki has kept things simple by concentrating on the two ingredients most likely to attract smart family buyers - an economical engine and the hugely-spacious estate bodyshape.
Unlike the Corolla, where several engine choices and trim levels are offered, the Swace has just one engine and two trims.
The 1.8-litre petrol unit, which benefits from the shared hybrid technology, provides superb fuel economy, low emissions and rock bottom running costs.
After driving the Swace around for a while, I started to wonder if the fuel gauge was stuck in the same position, so frugal was the engine.
If such great levels of economy come at a cost, it’s to be found in the form of the somewhat sluggish acceleration.
With a total output of 120bhp and a 0-62mph time of 11.1 seconds, there are times when you find yourself wishing for a more punchy engine.
With that in mind, you get the best results when you dial down the intensity and let the Swace calmly go about its business. Do that, and you’re rewarded with a vehicle that accelerates smoothly and eases its way down the road effortlessly.
The CVT gearbox is also better suited to more subtle throttle inputs than foot-to-the-floor driving as the latter style tends to being forth a whining noise.
The Swace will run on electric power alone if you switch to EV mode, albeit for just a few miles.
Regenerative braking is available to help bring back some charge to the battery once it goes flat.
In terms of looks, the flourishes and tweaks introduced by Suzuki to differentiate the Swace from the Corolla have created an attractive vehicle that fuses functional estate styling with sporty aesthetics.
The car has a distinctive front end, with a low-set wide grille forming an imposing feature.
The contemporary-looking LED headlights are somewhat unusual in style, but that’s not a bad thing.
When viewed from above, the top lip of the headlight casing protrudes out in front of the bonnet which, instead of following the line of the headlights, continues on its curvy path as it swoops downwards.
It creates a nice effect although, on closer scrutiny, the strip of black plastic that dissects the headlights and the length of metal that sits above seem to be there for largely cosmetic reasons to continue the sweeping lines of the light signature and bonnet respectively.
From the side, the Swace has a sleek profile, with a roofline that slopes away towards the rear of the vehicle, with silver roof rails enhancing the look.
Once inside, Suzuki hasn’t attempted to many luxurious touches. However, you do get a well planned-out interior that’s very comfortable, spacious and packed with functional kit.
Up front, there’s a good range of seat adjustment, while all the main controls are within easy reach of the driver.
The back seats are hugely spacious, with the ability to accommodate three adults with ease. By my reckoning, a 6ft 3in passenger could sit behind a similar-sized driver and enjoy ample space.
The 8.0-inch touchscreen, located in a lofty spot on the dashboard, is user-friendly, while there’s all the connectivity for your chosen phone and some wireless charging.
There are plenty of decent safety features too, including a pre-collision system, lane keep assist, cruise control, blind spot monitor and parking assistance.
Suzuki Swace SZ5
ENGINE: 1.8 petrol hybrid 2ZR-FXE, four cylinder, 16 valve
PRICE: £29,299 on the road
ECONOMY: 64.2mpg combined and emissions of 103g/km
PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph in 11.1 seconds and max speed of 112mph
INSURANCE GROUP: 17E