Suzuki Swift Sport UK Launch Review
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
The Suzuki Swift is one of my favourite small cars and I have already tested the latest generation model in various guises.
Saving the best until last, Suzuki unveiled the Sport model at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September and I was there when the covers came off.
After a wait of nearly eight months, the invite finally came from the award-winning Suzuki Press Team to join them in Dublin for the UK launch event. With the prospect of some great driving roads and the chance to put in a few hot laps at the Mondello Park Race Track, I was soon on Ryanair’s finest from Manchester.
Suzuki is a brand on a roll and 2017 was their best year for UK sales with over 40,000 happy customers. I can say that as Suzuki boasts one of the best dealer networks, with sales staff keener than most to ensure that customer service is second to none. Larger manufacturers could do well to see how it’s done!
The new Swift Sport sits on a lighter, yet more rigid platform and has plenty of sporting embellishments that set the car apart from its stable-mates; smart 17-inch alloy wheels, blackened out A-pillars, black under spoilers and rear colour-coded roof spoiler.
Weighing 70kg less than its predecessor equates to better performance and increased economy.
Once free of Dublin’s traffic, I was able to let the Swift Sport stretch its legs on some of Ireland’s finest roads. Performance from the turbocharged 1.4-litre Boosterjet engine is good, with maximum 230Nm of torque available from just 2,500rpm. Keep the revs above that figure and brisk cross-country progress is easy to make.
Find a race track, which I did on day 2 and it should be possible to emulate the 0-62mph time of 8.1 seconds. I cannot vouch for the 130mph top speed, though I did try very hard but ran out of straight bits!
Aiding swift progress is a six-speed manual gearbox. A tad notchy in my opinion, but as the launch cars had only done a few hundred miles I would expect an improvement with increasing use. The clutch has been beefed up to cope with the Sport’s increased performance and is light in action.
The narrow, winding roads of County Wicklow were almost completely devoid of traffic allowing me to explore the Swift’s handling credentials. There’s plenty of fun to be had, with body roll well contained by the bespoke suspension set-up. With more time available, I would have retraced my steps, such was the pleasure to be had behind the wheel of the diminutive sporty hatch.
Many sections of the cross-country route contained the usual areas of broken tarmac and I can report that ride comfort has not been compromised in the quest of fine handling.
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The old Swift Sport played the value-for-money card very well. This time round pricing is a little more bullish. However, the £17,999 asking price looks a little more competitive when you consider the high level of standard equipment.
Highlights include satellite navigation, LED headlamps, automatic air conditioning, adaptive cruise control, rear view camera, keyless entry and much more. No extra charge for metallic paint either, so choose freely from the six available options! Speedy Blue or Buring Red gets my vote...
Safety has not been forgotten in the quest for performance, so with a track session looming it was reassuring to know that help would be available should I run into difficulty. Multiple airbags and a collapsible energy-absorbing structure would keep me safe if over exuberance got the better of me.
However, the Dual Sensor Brake Support and Advanced Forward Detection Systems would clearly do their best to prevent a prang in the first place. The latter proved to be a little over keen on the road route in warning of potential hazards.
So what of my time with the Swift Sport on the track? Those that know me well understand that the race track is not my favourite environment. I’m really not that brave. So I set the climate control to cool, dialled in a little light music and enjoyed a dozen or so laps at my pace, ignoring the youthful element who insisted on flashing past me at every available opportunity.
I did however learn that the Swift Sport can be driven in an extremely spirited manner with ease and is well up to the task of track driving. Even my ex-racing driver friend and colleague Phil was impressed and to make a change he managed not to set fire to the car’s brakes...
I was pleased to return to the road and was able to enjoy a final dash to the airport.
I heartily recommend the new Swift Sport. It is fast enough for our speed-camera infested roads and engaging when the roads turn twisty. The cabin boasts enough space for four reasonable sized adults to travel in comfort (so family duties are not out of the question) and the level of standard equipment top drawer.
Running costs will be low (I averaged over 40mpg on the road route) and with a £2000 deposit you can own a Sporty Swift for just £209 per month on a PCP deal.
Motoring fun comes in all shapes and sizes and this third generation Swift Sport should continue to entertain and thrill all who drive her. 11,535 new Swift Sport models have been sold in the UK since 2006, a number which looks likely to rapidly increase. So why not swell that number and take the plunge?
Suzuki Swift Sport
Price - £17,999
1.4-litre turbocharged Boosterjet engine (140PS)
0-62mph in 8.1 seconds
Combined economy 50.4mpg
Emissions 125g/km CO2
Low kerb weight of just 975kg
6 colours available
1,500 per year sales target.
On sale from June 2018
Suzuki Swift Sport UK Launch Review, 3rd May 2018, 19:40 PM