Suzuki’s previous generation of Swift Sport built itself an enviable reputation for being an analogue hot hatch in an increasingly digital world, offering a normally aspirated 4-cylinder engine which, when combined with no weight at all meant that the Swift was as rapid as it was stylish.
What this means for the all-new 2018 edition is that it has an awful lot to live up to if it is to be regarded as equal to or even better than the original.
Styling wise there is no doubt as to Suzuki’s true intentions behind the Sport with aggressive and unique styling touches making themselves known across nearly every one of the Swift’s panels. Exclusive design details give the all-new Swift Sport a far more distinctive style over the rest of the range and help it to stand out from the increasingly generic crowd. The Swift’s striking front grille and bumper, impressive 17” alloy wheels and carbon effect aerodynamic under spoilers deliver what Suzuki say is, ‘the ultimate style statement’ and create a first impression that lingers long in the memory. And that’s before you take into account the bright Champion Yellow paintwork and duel exhaust pipes.
Step inside the Sport and the sporting (ahem) theme continues with distinctive red accents throughout and supportive sport seats that conspire to hold you securely in place when the drive demands it and yet offer comfort aplenty for a trip down to the shops or further afield. The 3-spoke leather covered steering wheel feels great and combines well with the fully adjustable seats to give you a real connection to the Swift. A connection that improves every time you go out for a drive in the Suzuki. There’s even room in the back for three adults although if comfort is important to your passengers or a long journey is ahead, then two would probably be preferable.
One of the factors important to Suzuki during the design and engineering process was that the Swift Sport drives as well and feels just as good as it’s cultish predecessor and that the new technologies present, technologies that safety and the marketplace demand, do not distract from the ‘pure’ experience previously on offer.
So what are we talking about then, have Suzuki thrown everything they’ve got at the Swift or has a more considered approach been effective? Of all the manufacturers currently producing cars for the mainstream it is perhaps Suzuki that have raised their game the most when it comes to technological advancements for car and driver alike.
The all-new Swift Sport comes with all the technology you’d expect from a modern hot hatch and more, there’s Suzuki easy to use and clear satellite navigation system, a useful rear parking camera and the (perhaps) surprise inclusion of a MotorMartin favourite, adaptive cruise control. For additional ease of use, the Swift includes an excellent keyless entry/start system which helps to create a sporting feel the moment you press the button to awaken the Sport’s rorty 138bhp turbocharged 4 cylinder engine. To keep you and your passengers entertained there’s also a DAB digital radio and smartphone linkage display which allows you to take control of the entertainment as you drive.
There are also lots of ways the all-new Swift Sport helps to keep you safe and secure as there’s dual sensor brake support that warns you of potential collisions and applies the brakes if required to help avoid or reduce damage from a collision. Suzuki’s lane departure warning tells you when you’re straying off track and lane departure prevention gently guides you back into the correct place helping you drive more safely. And then you have high beam assist which automatically switches the headlights between low and high beam based on road conditions. Lovely.
Useful and impressive tech is everywhere and it all works without taking away from the Swift’s raison d’être, that of going very fast and being lots of fun.
But what you’re really interested in is the drive, this is after all a hot hatch. It needs to offer the young and excitable the promise of excitement and practicality that the Swift Sport has always been well known for. The 1.4 Boosterjet turbocharged engine under the bonnet arrives with 4 cylinders and 1373cc delivering an exciting and impressive 138bhp @5500rpm, a figure that combines extremely well with the Swift’s kerb weight, including all options, of just 975kg.
And that’s the Suzuki’s secret. It’s been said before on MotorMartin that light weight rather than outright power is where you want to be with a hot hatch as that lack of bulk contributes positively to acceleration, braking and handling. Just what you want really.
With all the important bits of the car and controls within easy reach and sporting front seats that offer both comfort and support the Swift Sport leaves you in no doubt as to it’s purpose. A stab of the start/stop button is a touch of theatre that increases excitement and raises expectations, expectations that the gruff sounding exhaust note fails to dissipate. And what an engine it is under the bonnet. Suzuki have rightly gained an excellent reputation for producing engines that continually surprise with small capacities yet strong power and the power plant on offer in the Sport is another gem of a motor.
Peak power arriving at 5500rpm and 170 lb/ft torque produced between 2500-3500rpm means that this is a car in which you can make Swift (ahem) progress along the highways and byways of this green and pleasant land of ours. Indeed, in just such an experiment the B6451 Farnley Lane, a MotorMartin favourite with corners and elevation changes aplenty, was dispatched by the Suzuki quite effortlessly, the engine remaining in just second and third gear whilst using all the revs available. And in this manner you get a real sense of what the Swift Sport is truly capable of whilst keeping the speeds appropriate for the road and conditions.
Pushing the front of the car into a corner and you instantly find that the grip available is really quite astonishing, so much confidence does the Suzuki instil in the driver with it’s well set up chassis and supple suspension. Then there is the real reason that you buy a sports car based around a more humble architecture. This is a car that will cut it in the real world as well as demolishing your favourite ribbon of tarmac. Shopping, the school run and daily commute are all completed comfortably and economically with the Swift achieving up to 50.4mpg when driven sensibly and with a light right foot whilst there’s also a decent boot. Best of both worlds and then some.
And that’s the point of this all-new Swift Sport, it’s a sports car for the real world, on real A and B roads. Yes there are faster accelerating hot hatches (although not by much) and yes, there are hot hatches with a higher top speed, but c’mon, think about where you’re spending the majority of your time. The Suzuki’s got great looks, excellent technology, great infotainment options, is comfortable and when it need to, it can cover ground extremely rapidly.
The price? The Swift Sport starts at £17,499 and I want one.
Where will you go?