Cheap affordable runabouts that are worth buying don't come much more cheap and affordable than Suzuki's little Swift. Though the motoring press generally ignored the car, loyal customers kept buying them, attracted by cheap prices, low running costs and strong equipment levels.
The same virtues hold true on the used market. Despite the flimsy feel, the car holds together well - though it's not great to drive. Those in search of a tiny car on a tight budget however, could do a lot worse than try one.
Not many cars are launched onto the market in hot hatch GTi form - but this was one of them. The 1.3-litre Swift GTi three-door appeared first in December 1988, while a more sensible but slightly less powerful five-door GLX model followed in April 1989.
In March 1990, these two were joined by an interesting 1.6 saloon GLX variant with four-wheel drive - the basis for what would later become the Subaru Justy 4x4 hatchback. In Suzuki guise it lasted just three years in the UK. In April 1992 a 1.3-litre fuel injected GS (three-door), a GLX (five-door) and a revised GTi were launched.
The range was revamped at the beginning of 1995 with visual improvements and a revised range of fuel injected engines. The new entry-level model - the five-door 1.0i GC - was now built at Suzuki's new Hungarian plant near Budapest, though the rest of the range was still imported from Japan.
Initially, this included a three-door 1.0i GLS and a three-door 1.3i GSE, with a five-door 1.3 GX added in May 1995. In March 1996, a GLS 1.3i variant was introduced, though by now, the sporty 1.3 GTi had been deleted.
By October 1996, further revisions saw a front-end facelift that included restyling for the bonnet, front grille, bumpers, headlamps and rear light clusters. New 1.0i GL and automatic GLX five-door variants now sat above an entry-level position now filled by the three-door 1.0i GLS. Meanwhile, 1.3-litre buyers now had the choice of the three-door GLS or the five-door GLX. By the end of 2000, the range had been slimmed down to just two models: the 3-door 1.0-litre GLS and the 5-door 1.0-litre GL. The last Swifts were sold during the summer of 2003.