Yes, some of its products are tinny as old war helmets, but Suzuki knows how to make popular and fun cars – and the All New Suzuki Swift Sport is one of them.
Tim Barnes-Clay at the European Launch in Southern Spain drives swiftly in the eagerly awaited All New Swift Sport
The athletic little wasp, for that’s what it looked like to me in its yellow and black launch ‘suit’, is a right laugh to drive. The smile was soon wiped from my face when the £17,999 price was mentioned. What? 18 Grand for a Swift? You’re having a laugh, right? No. The Japanese automaker is deadly serious.
But after hooning the car around Spain for two days, and hearing that you can have it for £249 per month made me all happy again. Things looked even rosier when I was told you don’t have to put any cash down at all for that £249 per month…and yep zero deposit. Cool, or what?
Anyway, enough of the money talk. What does the 2018 Swift Sport drive like? Well, its lack of heft helps things move along well. The car now only weighs 975kg. That’s 80kg less than the exiting Sport.
Suzuki has also stuck a small power unit into the Swift Sport this time. It’s a 1.4-litre turbo petrol, coupled to a six-speed manual gearbox. The little lump has already established its dependability in the S-Cross and Vitara S, so there shouldn’t be any concerns as far as under the bonnet stuff goes. The disappearing Swift Sport had a 1.6-litre unit, but there was no turbo assistance, so the slighter engine packs more pep, tossing out an extra 4.1PS.
The Suzuki will whip from 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds – however that kind of performance isn’t really ‘hot-hatch’ territory anymore. Never mind though, eh? The Sport is indisputably the small car to drive if you want a laugh. Yes, I’ll say it again – a laugh.
Because it’s pocket-sized, you feel you’re going much faster than you are – and the supermini is exceptionally ‘chuckable’. On the meandering sections of Spanish bitumen I drove on, the Sport would rush out of turns, with the most quantity of might appearing to dwell in third gear. The engine zips up to the red line and brisk cog changes can be made with the quick-shifting manual transmission.
The steering is commendable, too – it’s exact and weights up well when you put your foot to the floor. The only snag seems to be the wide A-pillars. These thwarted me from seeing as well as I should have done in the tricky bends.
As you’d guess, Suzuki has given the Sport a far zestier image than the regular Swift. Most evident are the imitation carbon fibre skirts, dual exhausts, 17-inch alloy wheels and the rear spoiler. There’s also that distinctive colour – Champion Yellow. The sunshiny paint job looks wonderful alongside the shadowy grille and wheels.
Inside, the Swift is just as peppy, with semi-bucket seats, dark red trim, a sports steering wheel and alloy pedals Additionally, there’s an LCD colour screen, as well as other equipment, such as smartphone mirroring and a sat nav.
2018’s Swift Sport is also a safe motor, enjoying a forward detection and braking system, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control. Still, there are safer small cars in existence; the Suzuki was awarded just 4 out 5 stars in Euro NCAP crash tests. I’d like to see it given the highest possible five-star score next time.
So, the Swift Sport is steep to purchase outright, but it’ll cost you £5000 less than the Peugeot 208 GTi. Okay, the French submission is more of a true hot-hatch, but, the Suzuki is still a gratifying machine. It’s a little car with oodles of character – and that might just be enough motive to lease or buy a Swift Sport in its latest guise. And just to let you know, the yellow may not be your favourite colour, there’s a choice of six colours and the metallics are even included in the price.
Car reviewed: All New Suzuki Swift Sport – Base Price On the road £17,999 0-62mph 8.1 secs Top speed 130mph Fuel Economy combined TBC CO2 emissions 125g/km Engine 1373cc Boosterjet 4-cylinder EU6 Max Power [email protected] Torque [email protected] Transmission 6-speed manual
Fun, Fun, Fun
A real lightweight hatchback
Pretty well specced
The yellow, is very yellow