With new mileage standards on the horizon, here’s a review on several reasonably-priced small cars available in the UK that get terrific gas mileage. Daihatsu is long gone and Suzuki is getting out of the U.S. market soon but the Kia Rio is available here.
Road Test: Suzuki Swift vs. Kia Rio & Daihatsu Sirion
The Suzuki Swift is one of the most popular models from the Japanese car manufacturers. It underwent a transformation in 2004, after spending the best part of two decades under a number of different names, from the Metro to the Pontiac Firefly. Despite the new Swift looking almost identical to its successful predecessor, it has been drastically improved. We look at how the new Suzuki Swift matches up to the Kia Rio and Daihatsu Sirion.
The latest Suzuki Swift looks surprisingly similar to the last one, but it is riding on a new larger platform. The exterior in particular is very familiar, the lamp clusters, nose and grille are all still great. Like they say, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
Another car that’s difficult to separate from its previous model is the Kia Rio. The Rio remains a smart choice thanks to its clean look and energy-saving features. The Daihatsu Sirion has also been reinvented, with a much sharper style and spacious interior, but still can’t compete with the Swift.
Unfortunately, the Suzuki Swift has been let down by its 1.2 liter gas engine model, which offers poor power delivery. However, it scores highly elsewhere thanks to slick shift gear changes and low gearing (third for 77 mph). The car can move too, able to hit 60mph in 11.6 seconds, but doesn’t drink fuel, with 50 mpg being a realistic target.
So, the powertrain Swift has put up a good fight, but will the Rio be able to compete? It does have a good attempt, with 11.4 seconds to reach 60 mph being achievable, but doesn’t compare in the lower revs. There aren’t any major criticisms, but it just doesn’t do enough to knock the Swift for six.
The Daihatsu Sirion tries its best to perform well, but when trying to hit top speeds or on long climbs, it really struggles. However, it manages to get from 0-62mph in a respectable 13.0 seconds. Light steering also makes it an ideal car for parking.
Suzuki Swift: 56.5 mpg
Kia Rio: 56.5 mpg
Daihatsu Sirion: 44.1 mpg
Top speed & 0-62 mph
Suzuki Swift: 12.3s/103mph
Kia Rio: 12.6s /104 mph
Daihatsu Sirion: 13.0s/102 mph
Suzuki Swift: from £10,152 (US$15,373)
Kia Rio: from £9,345 (US$14,151)
Daihatsu Sirion: from £8,678 (US$13,141)