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New Swift Sport from Suzuki

Created on 23/10/2018 @ 11:16

Test Drive by Graham Breeze

Not many motor manufacturers drop the price when they up-date a model – but that’s just what Suzuki did for a limited period to mark the arrival of the new Swift Sport.

The company chopped £1,500 off the price of the outgoing model to attract buyers for a car that looks a lot sportier and certainly doesn’t disappoint as it’s fitted with the new four-cylinder 1.4 Boosterjet engine which has been winning rave reviews across Europe.

And even at £17,999 this Suzuki is now a real alternative to the Ford Fiesta ST-Line or the Volkswagen Up GTi and will get plenty of second looks from those looking for small and fast cars.

Suzuki bosses say the new car carries forward the Swift DNA while adopting completely new styling and a performance-enhancing, extremely light body with advanced safety technologies.

The result is exterior European flair complemented by a sporty and functional interior and nimble and agile driving.

The Swift Sport features an exclusive frontal design. The front grille and bumper project the nose beyond that of the standard Swift.

Muscular shoulders, blacked-out A-pillars and vertically arranged front and rear lamps are brought to life in the Swift Sport with black aerodynamic under spoilers spanning the front, sides and rear.

And there’s a roof-end spoiler that balances aerodynamic advantage with sports aesthetics to make this Suzuki really look the part.

The big story is of course the1.4 Boosterjet engine which phases out the old 1.6 unit. To the layman it’s hard to take in that an increase of just 4bhp to 138bhp produces so much more but it means torque rockets from 118lb to 170lb at 2,500rpm – that’s just over half the revs used by the former engine.

You wonder just how far manufacturers can go but this Swift is lighter than ever – 70kg lighter in fact at just 975kg. That means a top speed of 130mph, 0-62mph in 8.1seconds and combines fuel performance of just 0ver 50mpg.

Suspension has been tweaked to increase stiffness and reduce roll and while this proved a delight to me in the driver’s seat there were a few complaints from passengers that it meant the ride was a tad too hard – I didn’t agree.

The Swift Sport features a specially tuned exhaust system with an optimised internal structure and is of larger capacity than standard to accommodate the higher engine output. The exhaust has been thoroughly tuned to produce low frequency notes in the lower speed ranges and retains its signature dual tailpipe design as used in the previous generation model.  

Inside the cabin sporty red accent panels work with a basic tone of black to create a high contrast interior space. For added sport appeal, the tachometer features a red dial face and the speedometer is coloured silver.

A unique LCD display unit is used in the centre, with coolant temperature and fuel gauge incorporated within the two main gauges. Alloy pedals are also used to highlight the sporting character of the new model.

The front seats are of semi-bucket design and have exclusive tubular frames set within the side supports of both the seatback and seat base cushion for additional support during cornering at high speed and feature embossed ‘Sport’ logos.  

The steering wheel is also exclusive to the Sport with a dimpled leather design for secure grip and matt and satin black inlays together with a red stitching design which also features on the gear lever gaiter boot.

The Suzuki brand is now synonymous with safety and this Swift has ABS with EBD Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Programme, high beam assist, lane departure warning, hill hold control, duel sensor brake support, driver and passenger airbags and tyre pressure monitoring.

There’s also an immobiliser, security alarm, remote central door locking, deadlocks, freewheeling key cylinders and locking wheel nuts for added protection.

Boot-space will prove a test for the golf clubs but there’s ample storage space in the cabin with three cup holders, side door pockets and centre console storage area.

I particularly liked the ‘guide me light’ function that enables the dipped beam headlamps to remain on for 10 seconds after the door is locked or unlocked. This facility can also be adjusted to up to 25 seconds duration via the settings mode of the instrument cluster.

Suzuki is fast-becoming a UK success story and with this week’s news of a major reliability award there’s no reason at all that the new Swift Sport should not become a real player in the sector.

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