IT’S amazing how fortunes change. Before she called the General Election, Theresa May enjoyed record approval ratings and the Tories were confident of a landslide majority. Now the Conservatives cling onto power through a dirty deal with Ulster unionists and the Prime Minister daren’t step outside of Number Ten for fear of a baying mob throwing rotten eggs at her.

The original Suzuki Swift was a pretty unprepossessing hatch. It was actually a rebadged version of a small car known as the Cultus in Japan. It may have been terminally boring but that didn’t stop Suzuki trying: the Swift (or Cultus) must hold some kind of record for the number of names applied to one car. At various points in its life the Cultus was also: the Suzuki Jazz, Suzuki Forsa, Chevrolet Swift, Chevrolet Sprint and Sprint Metro, Geo and Chevrolet Metro, Pontiac Firefly, Maruti 1000, Holden Barina and even the Subaru Justy. Incredibly, the car remains in production today in Pakistan and China.

Thank God the ‘new’ Swift owed absolutely nothing to its multi-faceted predecessor when it arrived here in 2005 in a hail of marketing somewhat bizarrely fronted by Cristiano Ronaldo.

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In fact, if it owed a debt of gratitude to anything it was probably the new Mini which the Swift rather successfully mimicked from some angles (the floating roof, pert bottom and big headlights in particular).

The new Swift went as good as it looked and quickly became Suzuki’s most successful car - ever.

The next gen carried on the good work from 2010 and now we have the third generation Swift arriving just in time for the new registration plate with prices starting at a shade over £10,000.

Interestingly, the new car carries forward the Swift DNA while adopting completely new styling - particularly the gaping mouth - and a performance enhancing lightweight body with advanced safety technologies.

The new Swift is built on a new-generation platform that delivers enhanced performance due to being light and highly rigid. A comprehensive overhaul of the underbody’s structure and component layout resulted in the adoption of a highly rigid frame that enhances collision safety.

This new platform is 30kg lighter than its predecessor which has contributed to the car registering a kerb weight of just 890 kg (SZ3 model) - an overall reduction of 100 kg. That makes the Swift a real featherweight in the supermini class.

And while the Swift is 10mm shorter than the outgoing model, its wheelbase is 20mm longer, creating more interior room including 20 per cent more luggage capacity at 265 litres, or 54 litres more than the current Swift. Much of the suspension work was carried out in the UK and Suzuki’s engineers tried more than 90 different combinations before settling on a combo they were happy with.

Standard equipment for all models in the range is comprehensive and the SZ3 model with 1.2-litre Dualjet engine and manual transmission includes six airbags, air conditioning, leather steering wheel, privacy glass, DAB radio with Bluetooth and four speakers, LED daytime running lights, 15-inch wheels, body coloured door mirrors and front electric windows.

The SZ-T model available with the terrific 1.0-litre Boosterjet petrol engine and manual transmission adds rear view camera, Smartphone link display audio, 16-inch alloy wheels and front fog lamps.

There’s also a mild hybrid version (similar the excellent powertrain already used on the Ignis), an all-wheel drive option and, soon, a Swift Sport for the boy racers.

Since 2005 Suzuki has sold more than one million Swifts in Europe, including 127,000 units in the UK.

The Swift’s sales success has established Suzuki as something of a small car specialist in the UK.