Suzuki Swift Sport a hoot-hatch so full of fun
Suzuki's third-generation Swift Sport is a souped-up supermini that's big on fun. Motoring editor Andy Russell says it's fully-loaded and hard to fault.
“All the best things come in little packages,” is a favourite saying in my vertically-challenged family.
But it sums up the all-new Swift Sport with Suzuki turning up the heat on this third-generation supermini. It looks fun, especially in Champion Yellow or Burning Red pearl metallic, and lives up to the promise.
Looks and image
The latest Swift is shorter, lower but wider which gives it a more purposeful stance, even more so with this sporty range-topper’s more prominent grille and bumper, bigger 17in polished alloy wheels, carbon-effect side skirts and a rear bumper diffuser with twin exhaust and upper spoiler.
Under the bonnet
Turbo power sees the a naturally-aspirated 1.6-litre petrol engine replaced with a 140PS 1.4-litre engine - big on entertainment value in a car 70kg lighter at 975kg and more rigid.
It has transformed the driving character, with a healthy 230Nm of torque at 2,500rpm – 44pc more – meaning you no longer have to rev it ferociously for responsive performance but you can still have some fun with its delightful, shorter-throw six-speed manual gearbox. Lower revs at motorway cruising speeds makes progress less frenetic and helped it achieve 45mpg overall – just as well with a small 37-litre tank.
Some track driving allowed us to push the Swift Sport to the max and, while revving freely accompanied by a raspy exhaust note, it never felt thrashy. Such is the elastic nature of the engine that I left it in third gear and the eager engine had plenty of pull.
How it drives
The track session also proved what a well set-up car this is – at the limit it clung on through corners with loads of grip, body roll in check and plenty of feel from the responsive steering. Built on a new platform, suspension was fine-tuned for the UK – Europe’s biggest market – with 100 shock absorber and damper configurations tested.
The homework paid off and this hoot of a hatch irons out bumps, the car well planted, the driver completely confident, on roads that would have you lifting off the throttle in others.
Progressive uprated, bigger brakes offer plenty of stopping power.
Space and comfort
The roomy cabin can seat four adults, with a longer wheelbase creating decent legroom in the back, and three at a squeeze across the back for short hops.
The 265-litre boot is 25pc bigger than the previous Swift but still short of many superminis. Deep and flat-sided, it’s practical load space but the sill is high and the 60/40 split rear seats, when folded flat, well proud of the boot floor.
Hard plastics abound, the only soft spots pads on the door contact points, but fit and finish is very good.
At the wheel
Red accents, picked up on panels on the fascia and around the gear lever and the recessed dials, and alloy pedals add to the sporty flair.
Front sports seats are superbly comfortable, nipping in the right places with good support when cornering. A wide range of adjustment for the steering wheel and seat will suit both big and small drivers.
One generous trim, six colours and one price – £17,999. The price may have gone up but the standard spec reflects it with sat-nav, keyless entry and ignition, LED headlamps and rear lights, adaptive cruise control, rear-view camera, smartphone link audio display, auto air-con, privacy glass, DAB radio and Bluetooth.
Safety-wise, it also gets autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning which also corrects the steering, weaving alert and auto high beam,
Suzuki is looking to sell 1,500 Swift Sports in the UK in a full year – 12 to 15pc of the range – but that may prove conservative.
It’s fun, frugal, fully-loaded and hard to fault. Once you’ve driven it, chances are you’ll love it.
SPEC AND TECH
Price: Suzuki Swift Sport £17,999
Engine: 1,373cc, 140PS, four-cylinder turbo petrol with six-speed manual gearbox
Performance: 0-62mph 8.1 seconds; top speed 130mph
MPG: Urban 41.5; extra urban 58.9; combined 50.4
CO2 emissions: 125g/km
Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 26pc
Insurance group: 35 (out of 50)
Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles
Will it fit in the garage? L 3,890mm; W (excluding door mirrors) 1,735mm; H 1,495mm