Suzuki Swift Sports a Little Bundle of Joy & a Super-Mini.
The Suzuki Swift Sport is a pleasingly old-fashioned sort of hot hatchback. Which has retained most of it’s compact shape over the years since its debut in 2005. Full productions rolling out units by September of 2006 brought the luck few a great cars for town service journeys. It has been made quicker, stronger, more powerful and more efficient; improvements necessary just to keep up in such a competitive segment of the super-minis.
But get into the detail of this little bundle of joy and you can’t help making slightly dewey-eyed comparisons with a few of the affordable front-drivers that so many of millennials lusted after twenty-something years ago. Those xenon headlights are a standard feature, complimenting it big front bumper shape.
I drove one recently a 2014 model, but as soon as I planted my sweaty little palms on its steering wheel and took it out for its first spin – I knew they hadn’t missed anything. Believe the hype – this is one of the most underrated hot hatchbacks on the market. It has its issues, no question. The boot is only really big enough for a small weekly shop. The fifth center seat in the five-door car is could be better used for small children. Perhaps the biggest problem with the Swift Sport is its image. If the car is for a young family, then by all means go for it. But as a younger driver with a big passion for speed, my comfort from the V8’s, Fast and Furious specification buzz-boxes. Can at times influence my judgment. It’s also a slug. Don’t expect to be winning many drag races in one of these.
The Swift Sport is an affordable pocket rocket for everyday use, with a good fuel economy. Its fuel consumption is also a little average next to some of its rivals. For instance, when was the last time you read about a performance car updated not with automatic engine start-stop or an E-DIFF, but a high-lift camshaft, suspension braces and synchromesh on both first and second gears? Am still sure that I can bet my money on the Suzuki Swift Sports.
Inside I got a comfortable and well-finished cabin, just about enough room for four adults passengers and it’s moderately practical – considering the Swift’s size – boot. Both three- and five-door models are offered as well.
The good news continues on the equipment front. There’s only one trim level but it includes climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, myriad safety features and automatic lights. A range of additional trims and parts are offered for those looking to customise their car a little too. I fell in love with the seats as well their are gorgeous.
The most telling update on the Suzuki Swift Sport’s suspension has been made on the torsion beam rear axle. With spring rates firmed up in greater proportion to the front, it’s also been fitted with firmer bushings which better control the camber and toe angles of the rear wheels during hard cornering and, says Suzuki, make the car respond 20 per cent quicker to the steering wheel. Despite the higher rates, the Swift rides quietly and with plenty of absorption.
Cabin weight for the car is 1045kg, putting power to weight at 128bhp per tone its pushed more by the update from five forward speeds to six in the car’s manual gearbox. Those changes may only knock a couple of tenths off the car’s benchmark 0-62mph sprint performance, but they make it feel that bit quicker through the gears, and on give-and-take real world roads. Suzuki has given the chassis an extensive engineering overhaul, subtly beefed up the styling and mated the high-revving 1.6-litre engine to a Sport-specific six-speed gearbox. It has all the ingredients of a genuine cracker.
So while the last Suzuki Swift Sport would pivot beneath its driver at the slightest invitation, darting at corners and dancing through them with pointy abandon on a lifted throttle, the new one has a more rounded dynamic character. It turns in with a little less zeal, sure, but has more progressive steering response than the last car, and a very pleasing sense of accuracy and feel through the steering wheel rim.
There’s balance to the car’s chassis still – more easily accessed than in most compact front-drivers, it’s enough to paint a wide smile on your face on the right road. But there’s measure and maturity now too. The car’s quieter on the motorway, has more grip and body control when you really ask for it, but not so much of either as to rob the Swift of any rolling comfort or suppleness, or of the accessible thrills that so many modern front-drivers fail to deliver.
Those higher spring rates and firmer bushings at the rear have traded a little of the playfulness of the old car’s handling for precision; a more rigid front sub frame and steering bracket have helped there too.
And so we start to see that the Suzuki Swift Sport simply cannot be called a hot hatch in the modern sense. But given its whole awesomeness it beats all others of its class by a big margin.