Suzuki Swift Sport – Review
By Liam Bird
My motoring writer buddy Tim and I seem to have developed the ability of getting lost – especially at important events – a little too well.
The last time the pair of us were allowed out together we got hopelessly distracted in an Aston Martin Vantage N430 and, as a result, ended up more than fashionably late for lunch. Fortunately, that little excursion happened in Warwickshire. This time, though, things are slightly different.
As you can probably tell from the palm trees in the pictures, this time we aren’t in Shakespeare’s County. And you’ll probably notice that the car in question isn’t from Gaydon either. Suzuki, very kindly (or should that be foolishly?), invited Mr Barnes-Clay and I to Spain to see what we think of their new Swift Sport before they put it into market for around £14k.
“Keeps things simple”
I’m happy to report that, despite our off-piste excursion, it’s really rather good.
If, like me, you can remember a time when the term hot-hatch meant a 205GTi, XR2 or Renault 5 Gordini then the new Swift Sport might be right up your street. Suzuki resist the urge to follow the current trend of bloated, 200bhp+ hatchbacks and instead keep things simple. Behind the Sport’s larger blackened grille you’ll find a naturally aspirated 1.6 litre unit pushing out 136bhp. That may not sound like much but, like all new Swifts, the Sport uses a lighter, stiffer, euro NCAP 5-star rated body-shell. This not only helps up the power-to-weight ratio – meaning that the new Swift Sport is now quicker to accelerate than the model it replaces – but its also cleaner too.
Exhaust emissions are down 10% to just 147g/km. Suzuki says that subtle changes make big differences. Not only is that mantra evident in the Sport’s styling, where 17” alloys, re-sculpted side skirts, front fog-lights, a larger rear roof spoiler and twin tail pipes give this new flagship model the all-important pocket-rocket look, it’s also evident in the way the Swift Sport feels.
As Tim and I desperately try to find our way back through the twists and turns of the mountain roads around Barcelona, not only are we grateful that Suzuki have equipped the Sport with bigger comfier seats – the leather rimmed wheel is a nice touch too – we are also glad that the revisions Suzuki have made to this little car’s suspension mean that as well as making it ride extremely well, it also grips like a limpet too.
Stiffer bushes and increased spring rates mean the Swift Sport resists the urge to roll in corners. Its sharper steering inspires confidence, allowing us to push it that bit harder through the bends. Just because you’re lost you don’t have to be late, you know!
When we finally reach the Autostrada, the addition of a sixth gear means that the Sport finds itself more than capable of cruising quietly at motorway speeds. That extra cog also means we have no risk of emptying the tank too quickly either. Suzuki now claim the Swift Sport is capable of 44.1 mpg. Eventually we make it back to our rendezvous.
The Swift Sport proves itself not only to be both competent and comfortable, but also truly entertaining. Who cares if we got a little lost? Suzuki’s latest little marvel makes the ideal travelling companion.
Suzuki Swift Sport
Engine:1586cc 4cyl 16 valve
Transmission: Six-speed manual front wheel drive
Power: 134 bhp @7000rpm
Torque: 118lb ft @4400rpm
0-62MPH: 8.7 Sec
Max Speed: 121mph
MPG: 44.1 combined
Price: approx. £14,000