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Towards the end of last summer, I embarked on a family adventure in a vehicle that I’d have not looked twice at for the task at hand, but it proved me wrong. Very wrong, in fact.

When I received the summer rota for cars in the province, and the dates that I was to drive them, the Suzuki Swace coincided with a camping trip to Wicklow. At first, I recalled being incredibly impressed with the Swace I drove a year previously, but then I remembered that what is essentially a rebranded Toyota Corolla, isn’t exactly huge.

A practical estate car it most certainly is, fitting into family life and that of a sales Rep covering big miles on the road with some equipment to flog, this car more than has a purpose. Knowing that an obnoxiously large SUV wasn’t due to be on the rota any time soon, I got my obsessive-compulsive packing brain into gear and arranged an extended loan.

Having headed off to Facebook marketplace and purchased a set of roof rails suitable for the Swace to carry my large box safely, it wasn’t long until the boot floor and a few removable compartments in the boot were removed to create as much usable space as possible.

Camping these days is all about creature comforts, especially with a young family, and you almost always bring the kitchen sink and all. Knowing that my BMW 530D would never be capable of this over 500-mile adventure with all that was required, an expert level at the game Tetris would be required to shoehorn everything into the Suzuki.

Statistically, when looking at the volume of space available, I really wasn’t sure it was possible to make everything fit in the Swace. But to my surprise, it absorbed everything I threw at it like a sponge. Laden more than the chassis plate may permit; it was great to get going and experience the updates made to the Swace last year.

With just two model grades available, the biggest change on the 2023 Suzuki Swace was a 15% increase in combined maximum power output, seeing it rise from 122hp to a much more usable 140hp. Combined with refreshed exterior styling and lighting finishes, as well as additional enhanced safety and equipment specification, upgraded digital and multimedia features round off the main differences.

Starting from £29,599 the Swace ‘Motion’ features emergency driving stop system, LED rear lamps, seven airbags, dual zone automatic air conditioning, 8-inch LCD colour information screen, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, smart phone link for wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto device connectivity, rear parking camera, new digital instrument cluster with three display modes, type C USB port, and dynamic radar cruise control.

The Swace ‘Ultra’ starts from £31,399 and adds updated Bi-LED projector headlights, safe exit assist, smart door locking, front and rear park distance sensors, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, interior ambient lighting, and centre console tray with wireless charger.

With just a single engine and gearbox available, choosing your Suzuki is immensely simple. Equipped with a 1.8-litre petrol engine which provides just 97hp, the Swace gets going thanks to its electric motor providing 70Kw allowing for the combined output of 140hp which is fed to the front wheels via a CVT ‘box.

A combined return of 62.7 mpg is stated, and it is more than achievable! Over the two weeks I had custody of the Swace, and despite it carrying vast weight for much of the miles, it returned just shy of 60mpg which was simply outstanding and unheard of in real-world economy since the demise of diesel. It will do 0-62 mph in 9.4 seconds, which is almost two seconds quicker than the original lesser powered Swace.

There is a full electric mode button for very short low-speed driving when the Swace will run on just its electric motor. For the most part, though, the Swace sorts itself out to best suit your driving demands. Helped with three selectable driving modes, as follows.

ECO, helps the driver accelerate in an eco-friendly manner and enhance fuel economy through more gradual throttle response and minimal air conditioning use, this mode is useful during stop-and-go city driving.

NORMAL, provides an optimal balance between ride comfort, stability, and fuel economy, and is suitable for everyday driving. The Swace spent most of its time with me in normal mode.

SPORT, controls the hybrid system to provide quick and powerful acceleration, making it suitable for when agile driving response is desired, such as on winding roads.

Inside, the Swace offered Surprisingly adequate room for our adventure. Its seating could be more comfortable, but that comparison is directly against a BMW with comfort chairs, so probably an unfair comment as I can’t see the Swace’s comfort being any Different to the likes of a Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, or Volkswagen Golf.

I also struggled with Android connectivity a little, but that is down to an aging phone, rather than the Swace, as it’s an issue I get with many manufacturers. But, as an all-round family vehicle, I really struggle to think of any car that can do what it says on the tin, and then the rest which you do not expect from it, like the Suzuki Swace can do. It’s marvellous.

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Graham is a photojournalist and motoring writer with over 20 varied years of coverage from manufacturer press launches to international motorsport and motoring events throughout the world. Graham is a full member of the Guild of Motoring Writers and Ulster Motor Writers Association.