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Suzuki Swift Sport 2012 review

Suzuki was one of very few, if not the only carmaker to turn a profit during the GFC. It has infact been in the black every year since startup in 1950.

Obviously, that's because Suzuki makes the "right" cars, the right way, at the right price. Call them conservative if you like but it seems to be the over-riding factor in Suzuki's success.

Their least conservative car is the $23,990 Swift Sports - a latter-day Swift GTi for want of a better description. It's a cool, baseball cap of a car with pert looks, a dash of attitude and performance and handling that brings a smile to your dial without actually pinning back your ears.

And there's a CVT auto this time around. Suzuki's formula for its hot little five-door hatch is "pare back weight, tweak the engine and suspension, fit subtle body add-ons and boost fuel economy."

Under the bonnet

Sport runs a pretty straightforward 1.6-litre, twin cam, four banger up from the 1.4 in base Swift. It's good for 100kW/160Nm output and fuel consumption as low as 6.1-litres/100km.

It misses out on direct injection but scores a simple variable intake system and variable valve timing and lift to optimise efficiency. The two transmissions are a six-speed manual and CVT auto with paddle shift.

Dynamics

Sport has a strut front and simple torsion beam rear suspension system - calibrated to give a good compromise between sharp handling and response and comfort. It won't rattle your teeth on rough roads and though small in diameter, the disc brakes are up for the job. The electric steering has been calibrated to give sharper response than base Swift. Suzuki has fitted light alloy wheels to reduce unsprung weight and optimise suspension action. It weighs 1060kg.

Safety

It has a five star crash rating thanks to seven air bags, stability control and the selective use of high strength steel throughout the body/chassis.

The look

Though still "sensible", the Swift Sport has a mild body aero kit with a rear roof spoiler and under bumper diffuser complete with dual wide spaced exhaust tips. Side skirts and a deeper front apron complete the picture. No LED daytime running lights though. Inside is pretty much generic Japanese with over-used hard plastics, functional controls and a decent leather-clad sports wheel with cloth sports seats.

Kit

The Sport has generous spex including bixenon headlights, Bluetooth phone and audio, keyless entry and start, cruise control and climate control aircon to name just a few goodies. The audio is OK and the sports seats with red piping have side bolsters to hold you tight. The wheels are 17-inch with low profile sports rubber.

On the road

This is an enjoyable car to drive in the cut and thrust of city driving, on the freeway or on a winding road. They've nailed the driveability factor brilliantly. There's a sweet shifting manual gear change with close intermediate ratios, plenty of zip higher up in the engine rev range and a supple, controlled ride with good brakes and sharpish steering.

The exhaust note is too quiet and the tyres are too skinny. It goes better than the previous Swift Sport and has more goodies. But Kia's sporty three door Rio SLS has more power and torque and costs a lot less. Gives nothing away on looks either.

Verdict

Great little car, fun to drive, cheap to run and own, undoubtedly reliable, safe and well equipped.

Pricing Guides

$9,988
Based on 170 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$4,984
Highest Price
$14,490

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Extreme 1.4L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $5,940 – 8,360 2012 Suzuki Swift 2012 Extreme Pricing and Specs
GA 1.4L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $5,999 – 11,977 2012 Suzuki Swift 2012 GA Pricing and Specs
GA RE.1 1.4L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $4,984 – 9,466 2012 Suzuki Swift 2012 GA RE.1 Pricing and Specs
GL 1.4L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $5,999 – 9,988 2012 Suzuki Swift 2012 GL Pricing and Specs