Compact station wagon, Toyota Corolla Touring Sports clone
122 hp hybrid engine (103 g / km CO2 WLTP)
4.66 m long and 596 liters of trunk
From 29,550 €
Industrial partnerships are good. At least when they allow both parties to benefit from it. And this is the case here. Toyota and Suzuki, in discussions since 2016 for industrial and commercial sharing, finalized a cross-shareholding in 2019.
The goal was for each to benefit from the strengths of the other. Toyota can therefore now use Suzuki’s strike force in India, for example by marketing a Suzuki Baleno renamed Starlet under its badge, and Suzuki taking over technologies that it does not yet have in its basket.
And this is the raison d’être of the Swace, which is currently being tested. A true clone of the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports, it allows Suzuki to offer in its range first a new model in a new segment, that of compact station wagons, and secondly a full hybrid technology, much more efficient in terms of CO2 emissions than the microhybridization of which the brand has made a specialty.
The goal is threefold. First of all, lower the brand’s average CO2 emissions, which in Europe must also respect a value of around 95 grams per km (in NEDC value). And this Swace will contribute, it which rejects only 78 grams / km in NEDC cycle (103 g in WLTP).
But also, Suzuki, specialist in city cars and small SUVs, wanted to offer more family vehicles, more spacious. This is why they have chosen to take over the station wagon version of the Corolla, the Touring Sports, and not the sedan. Because with 4.66 m long and a load volume of 596 liters, it becomes the most spacious vehicle of all time of the brand, and the largest, if we except the XL7 version of the Grand Vitara and its 4.68 m (but only 438 liters of trunk). This is also why they have chosen to also market under their coat of arms the Across, tested by Alexandre here, a clone of the Toyota Rav-4.
Finally, it makes it possible to replenish a range which saw the disappearance of the Celerio and Baleno models. All of this has a logic.
For the brand yes, but for the customers? What is the point of choosing a Suzuki Swace, rather than the original version from Toyota, which has a much denser network on our territory, and a much more established brand image? This is what we will try to determine.
Aesthetically, true copies, except for one detail
And for starters, it is not the aesthetics of the Swace that can trigger a favorite purchase compared to the Toyota. Indeed, if we except the change of logo wherever there is, only a single body part is different between the two models: the front bumper.
That of the Suzuki has a smaller grille, but flanked by two (false) scoops on each side, which integrate the fog lights. And the brand logo is no longer integrated into the small black band connecting the optics, but located just under the hood.
For the rest, it’s white cap and white cap. And objectively not unpleasant in all cases, with a balanced line, the rear overhang not being disproportionate to that of the front.
In the cabin, nothing changes, except the logo on the steering wheel. The atmosphere is austere, very (too?) Serious, but the quality of workmanship and materials is to be commended. The assemblies are flawless, and the plastics are foamed all over the dashboard, and even on the door trims. A new habit among Japanese women, who are more used to hard plastics.
The design gives pride of place to ergonomics, if not ultramodern. The 8-inch diagonal multimedia tablet is placed at a good height on the center console, with a very average integration, but we rarely do better with the competition when we decide to put it there. On the other hand, if its operation is fluid, its graphics are very early 2000s. A recurring criticism for all models of the Toyota / Lexus group, and which must therefore undergo now Suzuki. Fortunately, it is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Roominess in the rear seats is good for legroom, correct in width, and a little limited in headroom. The trunk volume of 596 liters is for its part high for the category, and it is full of nooks and crannies to store objects (bins on the sides, volume under the floor). Bench folded down, we go up to 1,606 liters.
Unsurprisingly, under the hood, we also take the heart of the Toyota Corolla. But the Suzuki is deprived of the most powerful 2.0 block (184 hp) and will have to be content with a single 1.8 full hybrid of 122 hp of cumulative power, which appeared for the first time with the Toyota Prius 4.
It is a 4-cylinder Atkinson cycle, which develops 98 hp and 142 Nm of torque. It is supported by an electric unit of 53 kW (72 hp) and 163 Nm, powered by a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 1.3 kWh, which allows it to travel approximately 2 km in 100% electric mode.
The transmission is planetary gear, that is to say it operates as a continuously variable automatic transmission.
The fuel consumption announced is particularly low, with between 4.5 and 5.1 liters per 100 km in the WLTP cycle, corresponding to CO2 emissions of between 103 g minimum and 115 grams maximum, depending on the size of the rims and the finish. This saves him any penalties.
Again, then, the Swace is technically identical to the Corolla, and does not gain the advantage in this regard. It even loses points by having only one hybrid engine, against two for the original. But maybe she has her own personality on the road. Let’s see that on the next page.