Rowan Horncastle09 July 2013

Suzuki beefs up the Swift with 4WD

Watch out Panda 4x4 owners, there’s a new cheap, small off-roader on the horizon

Suzuki Swift 4x4

We love small, four-wheel-drive cars here at Top Gear - especially the Panda 4X4, our SUV of the year. But being the only decent bash-it-into-or-up-anything-because-it-won't-cost-you-a-fortune car on the market, it's been a bit lonely. Until now. At the end of the month Suzuki will start sending power to the rear-wheels of its Swift hatchback.

The Swift 4X4 uses the same 1.2 litre petrol engine and manual transmission you'd get in a SZ3 and SZ4 spec Swift, but you can now get a permanent viscous coupling 4WD system. There are no clever locking diffs, but very basic and effective by sending torque to the rear wheels whenever the front ones decide to slip - something that also improves cornering.

Apart from some 4x4 badging and a slightly increased 25mm ride height, you won't be able to tell the difference between a normal £11,516 SZ3 spec five-door Swift and one that has drive going to the rear wheels. If you spend £1,600 more, for the SZ4, you get some added protection for when you start nerfing the car around the countryside:front and rear skid plates, black wheel arch extensions and black side skirts.

A Range Rover with its hill descent, Terrain Response and clever diffs may mean you can climb over mountains with ease. But they're expensive and big. The Swift 4x4 doesn't have the low first gear and electronic trickery of the Panda, but it is small, cheap and light so there are places it'll go where a Rangey would never fit. And we all know that with enough speed, you can go anywhere. So who wants to see the Suzuki Swift Sport 4x4? We sure as hell do.

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