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A batch of all-new 2017 Suzuki Swifts have arrived from the factory in Japan for the Australian launch on June 2, ready to help add some life to our flagging light car market.

The new Swift – which replaces the seven-year-old outgoing model – is the latest in a line of new offerings from Suzuki, and by far its most important.

While the new Ignis, Baleno and Vitara are doing relatively well, the Swift is the company’s most important car and the one for which it is best known.

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The company reckons it has sold 130,000 units since 2005 and claims it’s the second most popular in private sales behind the Mazda 2, though it also trails the Hyundai Accent and Toyota Yaris when fleet sales are added to the mix.

The new-generation Swift is expected to arrive in Australia in two specification levels, with a starting list price of around $16k before on-road costs for the five-speed manual.

If the company is true to form, it’ll keep on-road costs down and market the base variant at $17k drive-away, and charge $1000 more for the CVT automatic option. This would about mirror the Mazda 2 Neo or Yaris Ascent.

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The base Swift is expected to use a 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine making 66kW and 120Nm, down 4kW and 10Nm over outgoing model’s engine. However it’s also lighter – with a claimed kerb weight in base form of 890kg – and slightly shorter than before, at 3840mm.

This makes it notably shorter than even the Mazda 2, though the company claims superior rear legroom and uprated cargo space over its titchy predecessor.

The new interior looks much more modern than before, and we expect the base car to get the same 7.0-inch touchscreen as the Ignis and Vitara, which supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a reversing camera, and may even come standard with satellite-navigation.

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There will also be a punchier Swift using the 1.0-litre BoosterJet three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine from the Baleno, making 82kW and 160Nm.

Overseas markets get a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic with paddles, though we would not be shocked if Suzuki Australia only offered the auto as it does on the Vitara Turbo.

This version is likely to be priced somewhere around $22k to $23k based on tips we’ve received – which seems high, given it about mirrors a Mazda 2 Genki – but based on European spec it’ll get lots of features including keyless entry, radar-guided adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking.

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Within 12 months you can expect an all-new Swift Sport probably using the Vitara Turbo’s 103kW/200Nm 1.4 turbo engine. Given the circa 1000kg kerb weight, it should do the job nicely. We understand there will definitely be a manual option on that car.

Keep an eye out for our first drive in the new Swift over the coming weeks.

MORE: Australians keep shunning little cars




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