The name of Suzuki’s revamped supermini is also an apt description of the company’s recent growth in the British car market - Swift!

The Japanese manufacturer is the fastest-growing car brand in the UK, with 38,167 vehicles sold in 2016 and an expectation of 41,000 sales this year.

These impressive figures and the company’s ambitions were outlined to the Telegraph & Argus and other members of the motoring media at a press conference in Monaco, held earlier this week to mark the launch of the all-new Swift.

Even though the third generation of the Swift doesn’t go on sale in the UK for another three months, we were among members of a select group invited to get behind the wheel of this revised compact supermini in the south of France.

Happily, the 2017 version isn’t only as good as its predecessor, it’s even better.

The car’s punchy acceleration, quick steering and great agility make it a pleasure to drive, especially on the twisty mountain roads above Monaco and the tight streets in the glamorous Principality itself.

There had been a bit of concern among Swift admirers that any revisions might reduce the appeal of their favourite car. In reality, the opposite is true, with the changes enhancing rather than detracting from this popular little car’s appeal.

I’m usually reluctant to cram motoring articles with facts and figures, but it would be remiss of me not to mention that the new Swift is 10 per cent lighter, 19 per cent more powerful and eight per cent more fuel efficient than the outgoing model.

The manual 1.0 Boosterjet SHVS mild hybrid, tested here, emits just 97g/km CO2 and goes 65.7mpg - figures that render a diesel option entirely unnecessary.

Even more notably, the acceleration feels quite incredible for such a small engine, with the Suzuki engineers squeezing every last bit of performance out of the 1.0-litre turbo unit to achieve a level of power and torque that feels comparable to a normally-aspirated 1.7-litre engine.

The impact of the Boosterjet engine technology, which was already being used in Suzuki’s Baleno and S-Cross, means the Swift offers an effortless drive and genuine driving pleasure.

The car’s agility is helped by the new HEARTECT chassis frame, which contributes to making the vehicle over 100kg lighter.

In terms of looks, the Swift has genuine appeal thanks to an ever more low-slung appearance created by a body that’s shorter, lower and wider.

The front of the Swift is more eye-catching and dynamic than before due to a wide and aggressive front grille.

The impression of a low centre of gravity is enhanced by blacked out window pillars that create the rather nice illusion of a floating roof.

In the world of car design, phrases such as ‘emotional appeal’ are often banded about with alarming frequency but, for once, here we have a vehicle that lives up to that billing.

Inside, there’s no shortage of space and the seats are comfortable and offer plenty of adjustment.

Attractive features include a leather steering wheel and a central touchscreen tilted towards the driver, while a rare drawback would be the amount of scratchy plastic materials in the cabin.

So what about the cost? As the Swift won’t hit UK showrooms until June 1, a pricing structure is yet to be announced.

However, when pushed on the issue at the press conference, Suzuki officials did divulge that the Swift would slot in mid-way between the Baleno and Ignis in terms of price.

Suzuki is currently the 9th largest manufacturer in the world when it comes to numbers sold and it aims to sell a staggering 3.4 million units worldwide in 2019.

On the evidence of this initial drive, the Swift is capable of playing a major part in that growth.


PRICE: Yet to be announced

ENGINE: 1.0-litre Boosterjet SHVS

ACCELERATION: 0-62mph in 10.6 seconds

TOP SPEED: 121mph

ECONOMY: 65.7mpg and emissions of 97g/km