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Car reviews - Suzuki - Swift - SF range


11 Feb 1989

The second-generation SF Swift, co-developed by part owner General Motors, was bigger, longer, stronger, heavier and roomier than its predecessor. Power output from the 39kW 1.0 three-cylinder and 74kW 1.3 DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder motors remained static, but excellent aerodynamics helped keep the SF Swift sprightly. Initially only three door GA 1.0 manual, GA 1.0 auto and GTi manual models arrived. During 1990, three four-door sedans joined the range – a 50kW 1.3 single-cam four-cylinder GL, a 70kW 1.6-litre single-cam four-cylinder GLX and a 1.6 GLX 4WD – with a three-speed auto was optional on the first two. No five-door Swift hatchbacks were sold in Australia, as Holden did so in the shape of the MF Barina 1.3. From October 1991 there was a small facelift, known as the Series II SF. It featured a new grille and taillights, a redesigned cabin, more standard features and increased refinement levels. The GL hatch and slow-selling GLX 4WD sedan were dropped. In May ’94, the ‘Swift’ name also disappeared, for Cino, but only for the long-overdue introduction of the 50kW 1.3-litre SF-series three and five-door hatchbacks that Suzuki was finally allowed to sell locally after Holden switched from the identical SF-based MF/H Barina to the inferior Opel-based SB model. The Swift GA 1.0, GL 1.3 and GLX 1.6 sedans stayed on until the bigger Baleno replacement arrived in April ’95. The non-Cino Swift GP Encore 50kW 1.3 three-door hatch was launched in September ’98, and featured as standard air-conditioning, alloy wheels, power steering and power windows. Incredibly, the Swift/Cino range – including the hot-hatch Swift GTi – remained on sale just shy of its 12th birthday in mid-2000, when the Ignis ousted it. So to keep budget buyers keen until then, Suzuki rolled out the limited edition be-spoilered Cino Sport 1.3 three-door hatch in September ’96, the Cino Black Magic 1.3 five-door from April ’97 to March ’98 and the NSW/ACT-only air-conditioned Cino Extreme and non-NSW/ACT Swift GP Celebration from February ’98. The latter distribution vagaries stemmed from having three different Suzuki importers – Ateco, Mayfair and Suzuki Australia – operating in Australia until 2000. Today Suzuki Australia is the sole importer.
Model release date: 1 January 1989 to 1 May 2000

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