‘Swift’: yes. ‘Sport’: yes. No better words than these for this most enjoyable small hatchback
Car Reviewed: Suzuki Swift 1.4 Hybrid Sport
Suzuki once again provides a very reasonably-priced car that offers plenty of driving entertainment along with a sensible package of small car versatility.
Our test model was the 1.4 Boosterjet hybrid (all Suzukis have some form of hybridity). At times, for example, descending long hills, brake regeneration can be detected doing its job, as though some force is slightly slowing the car.
One of my passengers found the ride a little uncomfortable and the car a bit noisy. Personally, I was surprised at that, but any petrolhead would be: driving the Swift Sport was rarely anything but a lot of fun; the ride was quite firm but not at all harsh; the noise only rose to a crisp crescendo when the pedal was booted; the car seemed to positively enjoy being pressed to show off its mettle along any road and was particularly at home on any zig-zag country road. Our test car was on Continental ContiSport Contact tyres which undoubtedly contributed to the overall performance.
Suzuki’s four-cylinder 129bhp BoosterJet engine is an excellent all-rounder; it revs very happily, can reach 62 mph in less than eight seconds, but can potter along in top (6th) gear at hardly more than 1000 rpm. 70 mph asks only 2400 rpm. The gear change itself is precise and sweet.
Given that we all need to drive safely and sensibly, the Swift Sport was temptation on four wheels that I usually managed to resist. And so, the only time the brakes were thoroughly tested was in a series of controlled emergency stops in a quiet private place. They passed the test.
Given the price, Suzuki has equipped the Swift Sport with a fulsome set of safety and convenience features.
One of these was the radar system that goes under the somewhat confusing section in the owner’s handbook of ‘dual brake assistance’; it happened to be sensitive enough to issue audible warnings, rather unnecessarily, I found, of the apparently too-close proximity of other vehicles on any quarter. Or overhanging tree branches (were they really?). The good thing, however, is that this can be turned off…although it defaults to being on each time the engine is re-started. It’s not just Suzuki, to be fair, who may rightly feel that their cars need to be closely competitive to other cars that have a similar system.
I drove the Swift Sport for 530 miles in the usual test mix of town, cross-country, dual carriageway and motorway. According to the car’s trip computer, the final fuel consumption reckoning was a satisfactory 49.2 mpg.
Filling up the tank revealed a bit of a quirk. The range was revealed as 316 miles, which I thought just didn’t seem right. Surely it would be more than that? So it proved. That figure of 316 remained there for about a hundred miles; only then did it start to reduce as the miles went by. Therefore, I reckon the Swift Sport’s tank will only need refilling at well over the 400-mile mark, a valuable range for a compact, sporty car.
£23,670 for the Swift Sport makes this a strong contender in its class, offering much of the equipment of more ‘premium’ rivals, being also seemingly very nicely finished.
Tom Scanlan has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, particularly the Reading Evening Post for ten years, having got into motoring journalism in 1973 via the somewhat unlikely back door of the British Forces Broadcasting Service. BFBS produced a weekly radio motoring show for the services overseas and Tom produced it, as well as interviewing experts and eventually reporting on cars.
He is into classic cars and has owned Porsche, Ferrari, pre-war Alvis and Rileys and currently owns his fifth old Alfa Romeo, a 1984 GTV 2.0.
In his spare time, Tom is a professional cricket coach.