Ever since the latest generation was shown at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the Swift is one of the most talked about cars from Suzuki. With the world still awaiting the new Swift Sport, I took the out-going version for a short drive when Suzuki had a press car at the Guild of Motoring Writes track day event at the Castle Combe Circuit.
Walking up to the sportiest version of the Swift, you see that the hatchback receives sport body kit, twin exhausts, 17-inch alloy wheels and a rear spoiler to make it stand out. However, on the inside, it doesn’t have all the funky upgrades you expect to see in a hot hatch. Instead, it is almost identical to the regular hatchback, a bit boring but well-finished. Just like the normal car, the Swift Sport feels cramped in the back and is low on boot space. A few changes include red stitching and front seats with more support.
On the equipment front, you get Bluetooth, climate control, automatic lights, keyless entry and a touchscreen sat nav fitted as standard. On the safety front, it comes with seven airbags, stability control and brake assist as standard. The Swift got a 5-star in Euro NCAP crash tests.
Powering the car is a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine, which loves to be revved, producing 134bhp and 118 lb ft of torque. It is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission sending power to the front wheels. With a kerb weight of just 1060kg, the Swift Sport accelerates from a standstill to 62mph in 8.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 121mph. It returns a claimed 44.1mpg f
The hot hatch gets suspension upgrades and firmer springs and bushes. This, combined with the rev-happy engine makes it one of the most fun to drive cars at this end of the market. There is a lot of grip and very little body roll and you can happily throw the Swift into corners at high speeds. However, the steering lacks accuracy and good feedback, and this reduces confidence when driving into corners at speed. Even with the stiffer setup, the ride is good and comfortable. However, the cabin gets noisy when the engine is revved hard.
Where the Swift Sport shines is in offering the best bang for the buck. At £13,000 the Suzuki is comparatively cheaper than its rivals from Volkswagen and Mini. It comes with a 3-door as well as a more practical 5-door layout. The balance between performance, ride, handling, comfort and practicality makes it one of the best performance cars for everyday use.
For the next generation Swift Sport, Suzuki will replace the naturally aspirated engine with a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine currently powering the Vitara S and the SX4 S-Cross.