For 2006, the Suzuki Swift+ drops the top-line SX trim designation it adopted in 2005, and returns to its original line-up of Swift+ and Swift+ S. All models now receive side airbags and advanced front airbags as standard equipment; the S model gets cruise control, heated mirrors, and power passenger mirror. The anti-lock brakes that were standard on the 2005 SX are not available in 2006. Five colours can be splashed on the exterior: Red, Silver, Black, Orange and Blue.

Available in Canada only, the Swift+ is also found at General Motors, as the Chevrolet Aveo and Pontiac Wave. Those two are also available as four-door sedans, but the Swift+ is strictly a five-door hatchback. All are built in Korea by GM-Daewoo Auto and Technology.

Both Swift+ models use a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission that can be optioned up to a four-speed automatic.

The base Swift+ includes power steering, tachometer, digital clock, tilt wheel, floor mats, CD player with four speakers, 60/40 folding rear seat, manual exterior mirrors, fixed intermittent wipers, rear wiper/washer, and rear defroster. Air conditioning can be added as an option.

The Swift+ S adds power windows, power locks with keyless entry, anti-theft alarm, air conditioning, CD/MP3 player with six speakers, cruise control, passenger side power mirror, heated mirrors, front and rear mud flaps, body-coloured mirrors and door handles, fog lamps, and rear spoiler.

Although it’s definitely an entry-level vehicle, the Swift+ generally feels like value for its price-tag: its 103 hp engine feels peppy when hauling around such a little package. It’s surprisingly quiet for an econo-box, thanks to extra sound-deadening material. Although U.S. government tests didn’t target the Canada-only Swift+, the 2005 Aveo received the highest five-star rating for both driver and front passenger for frontal crash performance.

On the minus side, it uses more fuel than expected for its size, and many rival subcompacts offer anti-lock brakes as standard equipment; they’re not available on Swift+ at all. The cupholders slide out of the dash and completely obstruct the heater controls when in use. The Swift+ is a likeable runabout on its own, but shop it against competitors from Hyundai, Kia and Toyota.

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