First introduced in 2020, the Suzuki Swace is a lower-medium estate car that’s very closely based on Toyota’s Corolla Touring Sports – so much so that the models are built on the same production line at Toyota’s factory in Derbyshire. Therefore, since we drove the newly facelifted Corolla a couple of months ago, it’s not surprising that we now have an updated Swace to review. Not that it’s easy to spot on the road, as design changes are limited to new LED rear lights and chrome styling elements.

As with the Toyota, a major update is under the bonnet, where there is more power from the shared 1.8-litre hybrid powertrain (the Corolla’s alternative 2.0-litre option continues to be unavailable with the Swace). This means an increase in power output from 122hp to 140hp, which has been achieved with minimal change to fuel economy or CO2 emissions, with the output of the car’s electric motor increased from 53kW to 70kW. This increase is enough to drop the Swace’s official 0-62mph acceleration time by nearly two seconds, and on the road, power is very adequate for normal driving, although the engine does sound like it’s working hard going up hills on narrow country lanes, such as we found on our test route in rural Cheshire. The rest of the driving experience is good. The Swace corners willingly, with a decent sense of agility, and the ride strikes a good balance between comfort and handling rigidity.

Inside, there’s a usefully responsive 8in infotainment screen and an upgraded 7in driver display – however, in this aspect the Swace has been left behind a bit by the Corolla, which now boasts screens measuring 10.5in and 12.3in respectively.

A high-quality reversing camera is standard throughout the Swace range, and as always it’s welcome to see physical ventilation controls have been retained. 

Interior trim quality with our range-topping Ultra test car was well up to standard, with a good amount of leather and some decent plastics in place.

Space in the back is good, and a decent-for-the-segment 596-litre boot is made all the better by extra underfloor storage cubbies towards the front, and the ability to fold the rear seats flat, which can be done remotely via levers by the tailgate. 

The Swace also impresses with a comprehensive list of driver assistance systems, with the likes of lane trace assist, dynamic radar cruise control, and a new emergency driving stop system – which can halt the vehicle if the driver is unresponsive – standard throughout the range. Ultra spec further adds blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and safe exit assist.

So, you may well be wondering, why choose the Swace instead of the Corolla? Well, compared with the equivalent Toyota, the Suzuki is more than £2,000 cheaper to buy, and also sits one company car tax BIK band lower, thanks to slightly smaller wheels equalling lower CO2 emissions. With minimal difference in expected residual values, the Swace is expected to be just under 3p-per-mile cheaper to run. Okay, the Suzuki comes with a less impressive infotainment set-up, but there’s little to separate them otherwise, and given the financial saving on offer we expect a decent number of drivers will consider that a sacrifice worth making – enough to meet Suzuki’s plan of 2,000 annual UK sales.

Suzuki Swace 1.8 Full Hybrid Ultra 

P11D: £30,569

Residual value: 42.5% 

Depreciation: £17,558

Fuel: £6,219

Service, maintenance and repair: £1,568

Cost per mile: 42.24p

Fuel consumption: 64.2mpg

CO2 (BIK %): 103g/km (25%)  

BIK 20/40% a month: £127/£255

Luggage capacity: 596 litres

Engine size/power: 1,798cc/140hp