2010 Suzuki SwiftEnlarge Photo
The next-generation version of the Suzuki Swift, due out next year, isn't quite a sure thing for the U.S. market; but we've been told it's been engineered this time with federal regulations in mind. If the 2011 Suzuki Swift does come to these shores, it would take on the growing segment of sporty subcompacts, including the 2011 Ford Fiesta, 2011 Mazda2, and 2011 Volkswagen Polo.
But might it be coming early? Heard of a 2010 Suzuki Swift x? We haven't, and we'll bet most U.S. Suzuki dealerships haven't either.
It's easy to get confused. If you value fuel economy and are browsing through the EPA's fuel economy ratings, whether on FuelEconomy.gov or in the 2010 Fuel Economy Guide, you might notice that the Swift x is one of the more fuel-efficient vehicles this year.
While a spokesman for Suzuki said that the Swift definitely isn't due for 2010, it's in there, with EPA ratings of 27 mpg city, 35 highway with a manual transmission. The feds are listing the Swift x as having a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive, with five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions.
2010 Suzuki Swift+ (Canadian market)Enlarge Photo
Spoiler alert: Turns out all those figures—including those for passenger and cargo volume—do apply to the Daewoo-built Suzuki 'Swift +' that's sold in Canada and closely related to the Chevrolet Aveo….NOT the supposedly U.S.-bound, next-generation Swift.
In the EPA's Green Vehicle Guide, the Swift x hatchback is listed as the "2010 Suzuki Swift +" and carrying the EPA SmartWay designation and certified for federal Bin 4 emissions standards, again with the same levels of specific pollutants as the 2010 Chevrolet Aveo.
Yet it's more than a little odd why a Canada-market vehicle would show up on the U.S. listings. We haven't seen it before, so it's likely someone submitted the paperwork with the feds. In previous years there was no Volkswagen City Jetta on the list, nor the Pontiac Montana, a vehicle that continued for several more model years (through 2009) in the Great White North.
2001 Suzuki SwiftEnlarge Photo
Suzuki sold a previous version of the Swift in the U.S. through 2001, and many years before that, Chevrolet (and then Geo) sold versions of the Swift—badged the Sprint—that have been coveted in recent years by frugal high-milers. Meanwhile, the current generation of the Swift has received a strong reception in Europe and is lauded for its design as well as for the way it drives.
It seems unlikely that Suzuki would have brought the dowdier Swift + to the U.S. anyway, seeing that the brand has just launched the excellent 2010 Kizashi, and U.S. company officials admit that its previous Daewoo-built vehicles weren't up to the same standards as those built in-house. The 2010 Chevrolet Aveo can't quite measure up to most other models in its class, according either to TheCarConnection.com or most other major review sources.
No formal announcement has yet been made for the U.S. But for now, we'll hold on and take this as an affirmation that the Suzuki has smartly decided to green-light the car that will boost, not potentially bruise, their image.