Suzuki Swift Sport review
The Suzuki Swift Sport provides pocket rocket-style driving thrills to match the MINI, but costs a fraction of the price
Fun is the name of the game with the Suzuki Swift Sport. It takes the fight to warm hatches like the MINI Cooper and Renault Twingo Gordini with a blend of low weight and a punchy engine in a stylish three-door body – and all for a great-value price.
Inside, it’s stylish, solid and well equipped, and although it’s not exactly spacious, drivers are sure to forgive this as soon as they hit the road – because the steering is sharp and direct, and the handling entertaining. This car will put a smile on your face every time you drive it.
There is also now a five-door model available, and thanks to a 2014 update standard kit includes sat-nav and a DAB radio.
Our choice: Swift Sport 1.6 VVT Sport 3dr
A bodykit, 17-inch alloy wheels and twin exhausts mark out the Suzuki Swift Sport from the regular hatch, and the top-spec model is sold as a three-door only. Tinted rear windows and a spoiler complete the racy look on the outside, while inside are stainless steel pedals and sports seats. In other respects, the Swift Sport isn’t much different to the regular hatch, but that’s no bad thing, as you get a decent driving position and a well laid-out dash with a high-quality finish. Standard equipment includes Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, as well as climate control. There’s even a multifunction steering wheel. The limited-edition SZ-R model adds black paint with a contrasting red roof, and red interior stitching.
The 1.6-litre engine in the Swift Sport delivers 134bhp, and when it’s pushed it provides the sort of screaming soundtrack that will get hot hatch fans excited. As the Suzuki weighs only 1,045kg – around 100kg less than a MINI Cooper – straight-line performance is exhilarating, with the car blasting from 0-62mph in only 8.7 seconds and hitting a 121mph top speed. And because the suspension is stiffer than in the standard Swift, and the steering sharper, the car loves to be pushed through corners, where body roll has been virtually eliminated. The snappy shifts of the standard six-speed manual gearbox only add to the driver appeal.
The standard Suzuki Swift has been awarded five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests, and the Swift Sport comes with a comprehensive list of safety equipment. Seven airbags are included as standard, as is stability control and brake assist, while in the rear are ISOFIX child seat mountings. Like many Japanese manufacturers, Suzuki also has an excellent reputation for reliability, while the previous Swift has been a decent performer in our Driver Power satisfaction surveys over the years. This bodes well for the Swift Sport, which is likely to be a good car to own as well as a fun car to drive.
The Suzuki Swift Sport is less than four metres long, and has a wheelbase of 2,430mm, so space inside is at a premium – especially for passengers in the rear. But there is a cup-holder in the trim on each side of the rear seats, plus a further one up front, as well as a decent-sized glovebox and storage in the centre console. The boot trails the class leaders on space, though: there’s a 211-litre capacity with the rear seats in place, which extends to only 512 litres when they’re folded. And you get a can of tyre sealant rather than a spare wheel.
The latest Suzuki Swift Sport doesn’t only offer better performance than its predecessor; it’s also more efficient. The 1.6-litre engine returns 44.1mpg fuel economy and emits 147g/km of CO2 – the 122bhp MINI Cooper is cleaner and won’t cost so much in road tax or company car tax, but it’s not as fast as the Swift and is more expensive to buy in the first place. You also get more for your money with the Suzuki; MINI customers pay extra for Bluetooth, climate control and metallic paint, but the Swift Sport comes with a choice of five metallic finishes included in the price.