Why the Suzuki Swace (Hybrid) isn’t becoming a Maruti

Following the Suzuki Across that debuted in July, another ‘big’ Suzuki model has arrived – the Suzuki Swace. Unfortunately, like the Suzuki Across, the hybrid car won’t find its way to India as a Maruti Suzuki model, as we explain in this story.

Introduction

The Suzuki Swace is a fruition of the Toyota-Suzuki partnership, one of the many facets which is product sharing. Making C- and D-segment models for Europe isn’t Suzuki’s forte, and so, it is rolling out reskinned Toyota models instead now. The Suzuki Across is a rehashed Toyota RAV4 – the world’s best-selling SUV, while the Suzuki Swace is a similar alternative to the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports (Japan: Toyota Corolla Touring Sport). The world-class hybrid models help Suzuki meet tough emission targets in Europe and keep away from paying hefty fines as we explain later in the story.

Suzuki Swace vs. Toyota Corolla Touring Sports

The Suzuki Swace would look the same as the Corolla wagon if not for the small front alterations. It has a different black panel between the headlamps, a hexagonal grille that is smaller and reminiscent of the Suzuki Swift Sport and a unique front bumper. Unlike on the donor car, vertical side air intakes stand at the outer ends. As they are designed for just differentiation, they do very little to add to the design.

Suzuki Swace interior dashboard
Down to the upholstery, the interior of the Suzuki Swace is same as that of the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports.

The sides, including the wheels (apart from the brand logo), and the rear end have the same design as that of the Toyota wagon. The interior is identical to that of the original car, as Suzuki has not bothered changing even the upholstery.

Suzuki Swace specs

While the Suzuki Across is a plug-in hybrid SUV, the Suzuki Swace is a strong hybrid (self-charging) electric wagon. The Toyota Corolla Touring Sports is available in Europe with a 122 PS 1.8-litre hybrid powertrain and a 180 PS 2.0-litre hybrid powertrain. The former has a Lithium-ion battery, while the latter uses a Nickel-metal hybrid battery. In Japan, the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports is available even in AWD.

Suzuki Swace drivetrain
The battery is located beneath the rear seats.

Suzuki will sell the Swace in a single configuration, with the 122 PS 1.8-litre hybrid powertrain and front-wheel drive drivetrain layout. The 2ZR-FXE 1,798 cc naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine works with the 1MM electric motor in this wagon. The engine produces 98 PS of power and 142 Nm of torque, while the motor generates 53 kW (72 PS) of power and 163 Nm of torque. The electric motor is a 600-volt unit and uses a 207-volt Lithium-ion battery located beneath the rear seat. The system power is 122 PS, while the system torque is something neither Toyota nor Suzuki has disclosed.

Suzuki has equipped the Swace with three drive modes – Normal, Eco and Sport, and the driver can select using a toggle switch located ahead of the gearshift lever. Right beside this toggle switch, is an ‘EV Mode’ button, which allows to drive the car solely using the electric motor, using the energy stored in the battery.

Suzuki Swace EV mode
The EV Mode allows short-distance drives on solely electric power.

As for the dimensions, the Suzuki Swace is 4,655 mm long, 1,790 mm wide and 1,460 mm long, and it has a 2,700 mm wheelbase. Its luggage capacity is 596 litres, which can be increased to a maximum 1,606 litres. Bi-beam LED headlamps, 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Qi wireless charging, ambient lighting, etc. are some of the salient features of the new Suzuki wagon.

Swace in the Suzuki Environmental Plan 2020

Compact wagons are popular in Europe, but volumes weren’t the main reason Suzuki enters that segment. The company likely launched the Swace hybrid wagon to bring down its average CO2 emissions in Europe. The company went so far to discontinue the Mk4 Jimny in the region temporarily earlier this year and relaunched it a few months later as a commercial vehicle (exempt from the tough emission regulations) for the same reason.

To meet the set target for CO2 average in the Old Continent according to EC CAFE legislation, Suzuki is adopting mild-hybrid technology in more models (the SX4 S-Cross, Ignis and the Swift Sport received the 48V SHVS tech in early-2020) and at the same time launching strong hybrid or full-hybrid models engineered by its strategic partner Toyota. The company hasn’t revealed its CO2 emissions target, but whatever that number is, the 99 g/km CO2 emissions (WLTP) of the Swace Hybrid reduces the fleet average.

Suzuki has a global CO2 emissions reduction goal as well. Under the Suzuki Environmental Plan 2020, the goal is to achieve a 28% reduction in CO2 emissions (from FY2005) by 2020.

On the nil possibility of a ‘Maruti Swace’

Estate cars or wagons hold limited potential in India. Maruti Suzuki learned that the hard way with the B-segment Maruti Baleno Altura, which failed to amuse our market. The Opel Corsa, Fiat Siena and Tata Indigo B-segment wagons weren’t big-sellers either. The rare C-segment wagon, the Skoda Octavia Combi, too, was a low-volume car. Maruti Suzuki is enthusiastic about crossovers in recent years (the Brezza is now a top-seller) expanding its lineup starting with the pint-sized S-Presso. We doubt that’s going to change anytime soon.

Toyota Corolla Touring Sports showroom
Manufacturing of the Suzuki Swace will take place alongside the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports in Derbyshire, UK.

Secondly the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) GA-C platform-based Toyota Corolla Touring Sports/Suzuki Swace would be an expensive product even if the two companies agree to manufacture it in India. Designed in Zaventem, Belgium, the high-spec Toyota model is meant primarily for Europe, and the same is the case for the Suzuki-badged version. Bringing down a badge-engineered RAV4 or Corolla would mean Maruti competing with premium cars like the Skoda Octavia or the VW Tiguan in a low-volume segment. Hence there is no possibility of a ‘Maruti Swace’ but one may expect more crossover-SUV models with the ‘S’ mark.

Sales of the Suzuki Swace in Europe will begin this fall.

Suzuki Swace – Image Gallery