New Suzuki Swift Sport a genuine pocket rocket
What is it?
The new Suzuki Swift Sport. Based on the highly acclaimed new Suzuki Swift, the new Swift Sport brings a number of firsts to the nameplate, including a throbbing turbo engine and seriously impressive performance.
What’s it cost?
The Suzuki Swift Sport range is fairly simple. There’s one trim level and a six-speed manual version that is priced from $25,490 plus on road costs and a six-speed automatic version – Suzuki has ditched the CVT – which is priced from $27,490.
Standard equipment levels are generous, and include adaptive cruise, forward collision alert and autonomous braking, blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning. There’s also Suzuki’s touchscreen infotainment system that incorporates satellite navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a reversing camera. Parking sensors – front or rear are not available.
Single zone climate control helps keep things comfortable and push button start and keyless entry make life a little more convenient.
Enthusiastic drivers will enjoy the various information displays such as boost and g forces. Weirdly, despite all these, a digital speedo isn’t offered.
Aggressive alloy wheels and a purposeful body kit help set the Swift Sport apart from other models in the range and inside, front passengers are held in place by tightly bolstered sports seats that are unique to the Swift Sport
What’s it go like?
We loved the old Swift Sport for its near perfect driving dynamics and the ability to devour corner after corner, whilst painting a huge grin on the driver’s face. In a straight line, however, the 1.6 litre naturally aspirated four was adequate, but it just didn’t feel quick enough and a CVT transmission in a hot hatch just didn’t seem right.
Suzuki must have been thinking along the same lines, as the 1.6 has been replaced by a new 1.4 litre turbo four. The new engine develops 103kW @ 5500rpm and 230Nm @ 2500-3000rpm, only 3kW more than the old 1.6, but gains a whole 70Nm, and this where the difference can really be felt. If you opt for the automatic version, you’ll be pleased to know that Suzuki has dumped the CVT for a conventional six-speed automatic with paddles mounted behind the steering wheel.
Find a stretch of road, plant the throttle – while keeping within legal limits! – and the Swift Sport will energetically charge forward, with a seemingly relentless urgency and it feels properly fast too, with the driver having to constantly monitor the analogue speedo.
The engine is a little gruff though, with a little vibration making its way into the cabin. Given that the Swift Sport is a budget hot hatch, the vibration levels are passable. That inherent gruffness also gives the engine bundles of character – the exhaust note has a throaty burble down low, which progresses to a higher pitched scream with a hint of turbo whine higher in the rev range. It (almost) sounds like an old Mini.
The new six-speed auto is well matched to the engine and it shifts quickly and efficiently. We didn’t really have a need to use the steering wheel mounted paddles.
Handling is classic Swift Sport. Poised, balanced and hugely entertaining. Chuck it into a corner and the car stays flat, and that flat bottomed steering wheel lets you know what the front wheels are doing at all times.
Cornering is delightful, and the Swift Sport is just the sort of car you’d want to take up to a twisty mountain road.
Perhaps the only concern around the way the Swift Sport drives is the ride quality. It’s unforgivingly hard. Run over a cat’s eye and it’ll feel like the wheels have fallen into a small crater. The ride isn’t completely unbearable, but it is something to keep in mind if the Swift Sport is on your hot hatch shopping list.
What’s it like inside?
Suitably sporty. Suzuki wins points here for making the Swift Sport’s interior feel more special than the tamer models in the Swift range. Those sports seats do an excellent of keeping passengers in place with their high backrests and firm bolstering. They’re also emblazoned with the obligatory “Sport” embroidery. Red stitching is also on the steering wheel and gear level, and there are red inserts on the doors and on the dash.
As per other models in the Swift range, the cabin space is decent for a car of this size and two adults will easily fit in the back, perched on a soft and comfortable rear bench seat.
We found a lack of oddment storage in the cabin to be a glaring annoyance. You’ll struggle to find any space for necessities such as a wallet or house keys, but there is a slot for a smartphone at the base of the centre stack. The only enclosed storage compartment is the glovebox, and even that can only really hold the owner’s manual.
A small centre console would improve things dramatically. Interior plastics are also a little on the cheap side, and they are hard to the touch, but the main contact points such as the leather wrapped steering wheel and gear lever are fine
What we like:
- New found grunt and that turbo engine sounds awesome
- Razor sharp handling
- Those sports seats
- Equipment levels
What we don’t:
- Next to no interior storage can become annoying
- That ride isn’t for everyone
- No parking sensors
- Could be a touch cheaper
Sale or no sale?
We’d have one in a heartbeat. The new Suzuki Swift Sport is everything a proper hot hatch should be and more: fast, a hoot to drive and relatively practical.