A number of carmakers are happy to flog a halo model in their line-ups, full in the knowledge of the cachet that GT, vRS and Sport can heft onto a brand. However, as soon as they take such action, a host of wannabes is revealed. These are the customers that would love the upmarket variant but cannot manage the greater overheads entailed by insurance premiums, road tax and fuel costs.
Vauxhall used to be a prime example of how to manage such circumstances by offering a VXR/GSi model but bridging the inevitable gap by introducing a lower grade SRi. Suzuki’s response for its likeable Swift model is the Attitude. Using the well-equipped SZ-T level as its platform, it then factors-in a carbon-effect front splitter (lower aerodynamic spoiler), side skirts and rear bumper detail, adding a chrome bar and surround to the stretched hexagonal radiator grille, now filled with a mesh pattern, with LED bars providing a frontal daylight running lamps signature and 16.0-inch diameter polished alloy wheels adding a flourish to the flanks.
With the visual upgrade complete, the solitary power unit choice is placed at the door of Suzuki’s 1.2-litre, 16-valve, four-cylinder, normally aspirated petrol engine. Displacing 1,242cc, it develops a modest 88bhp and a numerically equal 88lbs ft of torque. As the five-door hatchback tips the scales at a lightweight 890kgs, its performance is surprisingly zesty, despatching the 0-60mph sprint in 11.6s, before topping out at 111mph.
Equipped with Suzuki’s ultra-compact mild hybrid technology, which provides a ‘stop:start’ facility, brake energy recovery and a tiny performance boost, under the new WLTP legislation, the engine emits 124g/km CO2, while returning 51.4mpg on the Official Combined fuel test cycle. Footling around the New Forest, I was pleased to return 55.4mpg during the test session, without trying hard.
A first year’s road tax is now £170, with £145 due annually thereafter, while car insurance at a lowly Group 16 is more affordable for younger, or first-time drivers. Yet, the Attitude model is not about ‘poverty-spec’. Passengers benefit from typically judicious Suzuki packaging, with more than enough space for two, two-metres tall front seat occupants and at least a couple of six-footers behind. The patterned dark grey cloth trim clads well-bolstered seats that remain comfortable and supportive for trips short and long.
The dashboard features a perforated soft-touch white trim panel, while the conventional, driver-focused instrument binnacle carries legible speedometer and rev-counter dials, with smaller faces for engine temperature and fuel contents gauges and a digital trip computer. Air-con, sat-nav, rear view camera and mobile-phone connectivity are standard. There is a useful storage slot ahead of the twin cupholders and the door pockets are accommodating. Priced (pre-discount) at £14,599, the Suzuki Swift Attitude is a very complete and competent small hatchback car.