Body changes to the Suzuki Swift give it a sporty feel in a very hot-hatch manner. Photo Gallery
Ewan Kennedy road tests and reviews the Suzuki Swift Sport at its Australian launch.
Suzuki Swift Sport is a genuine sporty model. Now, given its name, this may seem to be a blindingly obvious statement. But in these times when marketing people persuade designers to tack on a few extra bits of plastic and some fancy badges - but do nothing to actually improve the car - the name ‘sport’ has often been seriously diluted.
Not so in the Suzuki Swift Sport, this little Japanese machine has been significantly improved in important areas to appeal to those who like to put serious effort into their driving. Even better news is that you don’t need big money to go the full-on high-performance route.
This swift Swift from Suzuki comes into the market at an extraordinary low starting price of just $23,990. You get a lot of driving pleasure for a very modest outlay.
By way of comparison, the all-new Swift Sport costs a thousand dollars less than the outgoing model did when it hit the hot-hatch scene in 2005.
The Swift has always had a shape that responds well to add-ons. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels of a special lightweight design are the key to the good looks of the sporting Swift.
These are complemented by a new under bumper panel carrying foglights in triple-fin bezels. The grille takes a Euro look in its hexagonal mesh design.
Side skirts connect the front and rear arches and give the Sport a lower appearance without the need to drag to body down to unreasonable levels. The rear features a larger roof spoiler and a diffuser look giving the Suzuki a race-car style.
Though it’s not immediately obvious, the headlight are bi-xenon items as used in quite a few upmarket European cars. While you won’t be routinely cruising at 130 km/h at night as they do in Europe, the added clarity of the lights will nevertheless be appreciated in Australia.
Inside, there are leather sports seats while the instrument console features a new design with silver rings about the gauges. There’s a sports steering wheel that not only feels good while you’re driving, but also adds plenty of class to the appearance.
New Suzuki Swift Sport is powered by a 100 kW version of the standard Swift 1.6-litre engine. While this doesn’t seem like a huge number, keep in mind that it weighs just 1050 kg, so the power to weight ratio is impressive for an affordable sports hatch.
Acceleration from rest to 100 km/h takes place in around eight seconds. Not bitumen burning, but quick enough to put a smile on the face of anyone who likes sitting behind the wheel of a car with zing.
In a true sports engine manner, the engine revs all the way to 7000 rpm and is happy to sit at the top end of the tacho, it’s almost like an Italian engine in its willingness to rev and the way it sings to the ears. We loved it. Down low, modern electronics mean it’s happy enough to pull the Swift along in a workmanlike way.
Our vehicle of choice is the Swift Sport with a slick little manual gearbox, but, for the first time in this model, an automatic transmission is also on offer. A continuously variable unit it has seven paddle-operated preset ratios within the continuous range should you wish to have more control over the engine output.
Cornering power and precision are the biggest features of the Swift Sport. We were fortunate in being able to spend time at the race track at Broadford where we could appreciate the Suzuki in controlled conditions. There we loved the levels of grip, the nippy handling offered by this lightweight machine and the pure enjoyment if offered.
Not only has the suspension been firmed up by the use of sports components, it also has the benefit of a body that has been stiffened in important areas to give the suspension a stable platform with which to work.
Brakes were more than up to the task of hauling the Suzuki Sport back to reality at the end of the long straights at Broadford. Suzuki Swift Sport is a brilliant piece of automotive engineering. For a most modest price you get a lot of driving pleasure, either at a track if you want to take that route, or simply on your favourite stretch of driving road on a quiet Sunday morning.
Suzuki Swift Sport
Price: from $23,990
Resale: N/A% (est.) Source: Glass's Guide
Service Interval: 15,000km/12 months
Safety: 5-star NCAP
Engine: 1.6-litre, 4-cyl petrol, 100kW/160Nm
Body: 5-door hatch
Transmission: 6-speed manual or 7-speed CVT auto, front-wheel drive
Thirst: 6.5L/100km (6.1 CVT), 95RON, CO2 155g/km (CVT 145g/km)
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