SUZUKI SWIFT SPORT
I’ll let you in to a little secret. This is not the first time I’ve driven a Suzuki Swift Sport, neither is it the second. Almost exactly a year ago Suzuki kindly invited me out to Barcelona to the Swift Sport’s launch, so as I could get an idea of what it was going be like before they put it on sale in the UK. I was impressed. So much so that I wrote “the Swift Sport makes the ideal travelling companion”. The weather, I might add, was fantastic. The second time the Swift Sport and I met was on an un-seasonally warm weekend in Snowdonia; once again I fell for Suzuki’s entertaining little range-topper.
But I’ve always had a nagging doubt about both encounters. Was it because the sun shone in both instances that I became seduced by the Sport? Were my previous experiences of it just rose-tinted holiday romances? You know what they say- you have to live with someone to really get to know them. A week in its company should tell me all I really needed to know.
This time things were decidedly different climatically speaking. A cold, wet, station car park was to be our meeting point and the fifty or so miles of Welsh border dual carriageway, A roads and B roads back to my place would give us a the chance to fully re-acquaint ourselves. Even in the murk and drizzle the Sport still managed to look distinctive. The subtle styling kit that includes 17 inch alloys, boot spoiler, side skirts, fog lamps and deep blacked out front grille mean there’s no mistaking it even when it’s parked amongst other similar sized machinery. The rear diffuser, complete with twin exhausts draws your attention too.
Jump in and the deep bolstered sports seats greet you with a hug, holding you in place behind the leathered rimmed wheel without ever resorting to squeezing you too hard. Some of the plastics used seem a little harder than I remember, but the logical, simple dash layout means it’s easy to quickly feel at home and the addition of red stitching and chrome trim lifts what otherwise could be a very grey interior. The driving position, although a little up-right feels instantly comfortable and the positioning of the pedals is nigh-on perfect.
Thumb the starter and the naturally aspirated 1.6 litre spins into life before settling into an eager sounding idle. With only 136bhp at its disposal, it’s fair to say the Swift Sport isn’t the hottest of hatches; 0-62 is covered in 8.7 seconds, but, the 1586cc engine loves to rev and provides sufficient oomph to put a smile on your face, especially when, as in this case, it’s coupled to Suzuki’s snickety 6 speed transmission.
The Swift’s excellent all-round visibility, light steering and compact dimensions – one of the few downsides of which is a boot that struggles with two suitcases meant the evening’s commuter traffic was soon dealt with, so between us we could get on with the task of getting home. Because Suzuki chose to develop this little car’s suspension on British roads, not only does the Swift Sport ride extremely well, it grips like a limpet too. Stiffer bushes and increased spring rates mean the Swift Sport resists the urge to roll in corners and its sharper steering inspires confidence: Some of the A 483’s roundabouts have never felt so good.
It took little over an hour to get back, in which time the weather had typically turned from bad to worse. Not that I cared of course. In less than no time I’d fallen for the Swift Sport all over again.
Suzuki Swift Sport
Engine: 1586cc 4cyl, 16 valve
Transmission: Six-speed manual, front wheel drive
Power: 134 bhp @7000rpm
Torque: 118lb ft @4400rpm
0-62MPH: 8.7 Sec
Max Speed: 121mph
MPG: 44.1 combined