doc

Suzuki’s new Swift promises to continue from where its predecessor left off in providing affordable hatchback fun.

The exterior design reflects the model’s performance flagship with deeper front and rear spoilers, bigger wheels and twin exhausts, while under the skin sees chassis and suspension revisions, along with a new more powerful 1.6 litre engine. Developing 136PS @ 6900 rpm, the new motor offers both increased performance and greater efficiency over its predecessor. A 0-62 mph time of 8.7 seconds and 121mph top speed being matched with a claimed 44.1 mpg and 147g/km CO2 output.

In some ways the Swift Sport is reminiscent of 1980s hot hatches: a throaty engine growl, good body control but lacking the dynamic fluidity of the best in class. Still, for the most part the Suzuki makes for an entertaining drive and though the steering isn’t as communicative as a Fiesta’s, the helm is well-weighted and accurate enough for more spirited driving to be undertaken with confidence. Coupled with this are a firm, controlled yet comfortable ride and an enjoyably slick six-speed gearbox.

A good view of the road is afforded by the large deep windscreen. The Swift’s boxy shape also makes parking and manoeuvring very easy.

First thing you notice is the amount of head room thanks to that upright windscreen and high roof line, which makes entry and exit an easy affair. The Sports seats are firm but supportive and the driving position is good, with the intuitive switchgear being within easy reach. The cabin lacks the polish and flair of many rivals, but compensates with a refreshing functional simplicity. Retro-looking ventilation and stereo LED displays also possess certain nostalgic character – even if only by accident. For a small car, there’s a fair amount of storage, with generously sized door pockets and 3 cupholders. The boot is small at 211 litres with a high load lip; although seats do fold down to provide 528 litres of space, but this is still a long way off the Fiesta’s 960 litre seats down cargo area. The entire Swift range was face-lifted a few years ago, and the top-of-the-range Sport model now gets sat-nav and a DAB radio as standard, boosting its already impressive standard specification. This includes: keyless entry, seven airbags, automatic air conditioning, 6 speaker Radio/CD with USB, Bluetooth and music streaming, cruise control and fuel consumption display.

Despite the extra equipment, the Swift Sport’s price remains competitive, costing £13,999 for the three-door and £14,449 for the five-door.


Verdict:

The Swift Sport is a honed and toned version of its predecessor, offering sharper looks, better performance, together with greater safety and better economy. Although it lacks the last ounce of dynamic sparkle that really keen drivers will be looking for, it isn’t without its charms and is intoxicating in a retro-Japanese kind of way. Yet it’s also comfortable, well equipped and spacious enough to be easy everyday transport. It offers excellent value for money, too, considerably undercutting key rivals.

Tech Spec:

Suzuki Swift Sport 1.6 5-door
OTR PRICE: £14,449
Max Power: 136 PS @ 4,000rpm
Max Torque: 118 Lb ft @4,400 rpm
Max speed: 121 mph
Acceleration: 0-62 in 8.7 seconds
CO2 emissions: (g/km) 147