You’ve just got to love a Suzi. I’ve shared the company of many Suzuki products for decades now, most of them single-trackers, (that’s motorcycles to the uninitiated), all of them with personality and a reliability factor that is a given.
The Suzuki car range doesn’t extend into the larger segments, their efforts focused on providing commuters and families with a transport solution that fits their needs at reasonable cost, without losing out on equipment, safety and driveability - City cars, Supermini, Compact SUV and Crossovers.
Back in 2006, Irish motoring journalists voted the Suzuki Swift as their Irish Car of the Year, a collective endorsement of a car deserving a spot in any driveway. Since then we have more offerings from this Japanese manufacturer, the Baleno, Ignis, new Vitara, Celerio and with their latest Swift, a variant with some added pepper, the Swift Sport.
This is the third-generation Swift Sport, derived from the Swift, which is in its fourth generation. Whereas the previous Swift Sport was a 1.6 non-turbo, this new light, at 975kgs, 2018 model, allows for exploration of the engines 140bhp, a meagre output when compared to Ford’s latest Fiesta ST with its 200bhp, albeit is dragging 1,244kgs behind its front wheels.
This makes the Swift Sport lively company, with a readiness to respond, ably assisted by a healthy torque figure of 230Nm and its well-matched six-speed gearbox. It is great company on the road and carries an extensive list of standard equipment. Priced at €24,750 the Swift Sport will fit into the nations driveways with its easy persona and is totally deserving a place on your test drive list.
Model: Swift Sport
Format: Five-door, five seat hatchback
Engine: 1.4 litre, 4-cylinder, turbo-charged Boosterjet
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Drive: Front wheel drive
Road Tax Band: B1
Annual Road Tax: €270
Boot space: 265 litres, expanding to 579 litres with rear bench seat folded.
Swift Introductory Price: €14,995 SZ3 model
Swift Sport Price: circa €23,000 (to be confirmed)
Some of the competition
Ford Fiesta ST, Peugeot 208GTi, Renault Clio Sport, DS3, VW Polo GTi, Cupra Ibiza, MINI Cooper
A small hatchback with very usable additional power, this four-cylinder, 1.4 litre Boosterjet, turbo-charged, 140bhp, five-door, is identifiable via its sportier stance, front air vents, mesh grill, edible honeycomb alloys, and should you choose Competition Yellow as a colour, you can be seen from space. LED Day Running Lights, (DRL’s), LED head and rear lights, a wider stance than the standard Swift, rear diffuser and twin exhausts, all tick the right boxes for its modern sporting intent.
With its square’ish shape the Swift offers space for an average five, with the real squeeze only happening on those occasions when folk long in length frequent its interior. The driving position is good, with added flashes of colour breaking up the black surround of the dash and consoles.
You sit into supportive red and black sports seats, a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel feels perfectly at home in your hands, while the twin clocks ahead of the driver house the speedo and tachometer, the now usual centre screen, a seven-inch unit here, home to Apple CarPlay, AndroidAuto and MirrorLink, connecting your world on the move.
On the Road
Often referred to as hot-hatches, this genre of cars comes in for a fair bit of comment, some of it positive and some of it less so, their street demeanour causing eyes to stare and opinions to divide. Dressed in a less overt colour than the very fetching Competition Yellow, the Swift Sport is as demure a hot-hatch as one could wish for and yet to the knowing, it has all the credentials to satisfy those who like added pepper in their drive.
The feel on the move via the variable assisted steering provides enough tactility for all those who like the sporty relationship, the feedback sufficiently informative and not twitchy or super-sensitive, weighing up nicely in open road driving.
Normal road driving poses no problems for the Swift Sport, the suspension on its specially tuned Monroe shock absorbers and 195-section tyres keeping all within isolated from the majority of our road imperfections. It does ride harder than its donor-Swift, but it doesn’t jar to the point of annoyance or discomfort.
A drive across the wonderful Wicklow Gap to a rendezvous with friends at Mondello Park, allowed for the Swift Sport to express its talents and while some might focus on its enthusiastic ability to dismiss corners and bends, the turbo-charged engines’ fuelling is the real winner. It pulls strong in a high gear at low revs, the engines torque ensuring that you don’t need to be continually dancing up and down the transmission.
Car manufacturers today have really upped their game in how engines are mapped and fuelled, and here with the Suzuki, I can feel the heritage link between the motorcycles I have ridden and this responsive Swift Sport – these folk know how engines live and breathe.
The controlled area of Mondello allowed for the full potential of the Swift Sport to express itself. Suffice it to say it was great fun and consolidated the opinion formed on the road. Out on our old national road system and motorway network, the Swift Sport is purposeful and direct – great company and when taken in the urban mayhem is equally competent, its less than four-metre length allied to its peppy personality, making it perfect for the nip and park demand.
Suzuki’s motoring history may be unknown to many, its distinctive logo emblazoned on all its transport offerings since the 1950’s. It concentrates its manufacturing on the small and medium car segments, and in doing so have produced well engineered and reliable transport to millions for decades.
Here with the Swift Sport, you get a great package of poise, power and practicality, which will put a smile on your face as soon as you point it at some twisties and release it from the shackles of the city. Suzuki shouldn’t be a secret.
Some of the features on the Suzuki Swift Sport 2018
- Keyless Entry & Go
- Driver & Passenger, Side & Curtain Airbags
- ABS with EBD
- ESP - Electronic Stability Programme
- ISOFIX child seat fittings
- Side Impact Protection Beams
- Reversing Camera
- TPMS – Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
- Hill Hold Control
Driver assist systems include:
- Adaptive cruise control
- Climate Control
- Lane Keep Assist
- Front Fog Lamps
beepbeep.ie Motoring Correspondent
Member of Association of Professional Motor Press
Voting juror on Irish Car & Irish Van of the Year