£14,399 - £14,899 Price range
4 - 5 Seats
The Suzuki Swift Sport is one of the cheapest sporty hatchbacks currently on sale costing rather a lot less than speed machines such as the Peugeot 208 GTi. As a result it’s more of a rival for warm hatchbacks including the Mini Cooper, Ford Fiesta Red and Black Editions, as well as the Citroen DS3 DSport.
At the Sport’s heart is a 1.6-litre petrol engine. Unlike in an increasing number of rivals, it’s not turbocharged, forcing you to work the engine hard to make quick progress. That’s no great issue, though, because the engine loves to rev and sounds good doing it.
The latest model comes with a six-speed gearbox that makes the car quicker to accelerate, quieter on the motorway and also more economical on fuel.
The Swift blends its performance with a decent doze of practicality. Buyers can choose from three or five-door models and there’s space for four adults at a push. While not huge, the boot is big enough for the weekly shop.
Suzuki offers the Sport with just one trim level, but it comes with everything you could hope for at the price including 17-inch alloy wheels, sat-nav, keyless entry, climate control and cruise control.
The Sport’s body hugging seats mark it out from more basic models and you also get a three-spoke leather-bound steering wheel that feels nice to hold.
Interior quality isn’t the best on offer, but at this price it’s hard to fault. All the plastics on show are hard to the touch, but feel robust and don’t look overly cheap. There are also some handy features such as a button for the quick defogging of the windscreen.
Suzuki doesn’t fit the Sport with parking sensors, but the car’s dinky proportions mean parking is straightforward.
Suzuki Swift Sport passenger space
Get behind the wheel for the first time and the Sport’s height adjustable driving seat can feel a little high for a racy hatchback, although it does mean you get decent all-round visibility. A steering wheel that is height and reach adjustable means drivers of all statures should be able to get comfortable.
While tall adults fit easily in the front, the same is not true in the back where they are likely to feel quite crushed even on short journeys. Kids should be fine, though, and the option to have rear doors is bound to be popular with families.
Suzuki Swift Sport boot space
The Swift is a small car, so boot space is limited to 211 litres – 40 litres short of what you get in the smaller Volkswagen Up city car. It’s enough to carry a week’s shop for a family of four, but not much else. Folding away the rear seats sees maximum capacity boosted to 892 litres, but the high boot lip means it is difficult to load heavy items.
Driving the Swift Sport is all about momentum rather than outright performance. Its suspension is lower and stiffer than in the standard Swift, so you can carry lots of speed through corners, helped by the relatively large tyres fitted to the car’s 17-inch alloy wheels. Body roll is kept well in check, so the car never feels like it is getting away from you, while the ride its self is firm, but not to the point that it’s uncomfortable.
The Swift shares its basic steering setup with the standard car and it could do with being a little bit quicker, to make full use of the decent grip offered by the well-sorted chassis. Steering feel is also on the low side, meaning you’re not always sure how much grip the car has in bends, particularly when it is raining.
The non-turbocharged engine needs to be worked hard to deliver decent performance, but it feels responsive and sounds suitable throaty. The slick shifting gearbox is easy to use and in sixth gear the car is pretty quiet cruising at the legal limit. Anything above that and engine noise becomes a factor.
With all-round disc brakes the Sport stops quickly, but the brake pedal’s spongy nature means it isn’t as reassuring as it could be when you first apply pressure.
In many ways the Swift feels like an old-school hot hatch and the main reason for this is its high-revving petrol engine.
With 136hp and 118Ib ft of torque, it can get the Swift from 0-62mph in 8.7 second and on to a top speed of 121mph. With no turbo, there’s none of the instant shove you get from the likes of a Fiesta ST, instead the engine has to be revved with maximum power not arriving until 7,000rpm. It sounds more genuine than the Fiesta ST (which uses a sound synthesizer to generate its noise) and the pleasing growl it emits encourages you to work the engine hard.
Rival manufacturers use turbos to boost fuel economy as much as they do to increase power and that is telling in the Swift’s running costs. It can return 44.1mpg (a long way behind the 62.8mpg a turbocharged Mini Cooper can manage) and CO2 emissions of 147g/km (for road tax of £140 a year) are high for a car of this size.
There’s little to complain about when it comes to the Sport’s standard equipment list. A roof-mounted spoiler, twin exhaust pipes, a sporty body kit and the car’s lowered suspension mean it carries a suitably menacing look on the outside.
Inside, its racy nature is conveyed by the inclusion of sports seats, a small leather-bound three-spoke steering wheel and aluminium pedals. At this price we couldn’t wish for anymore equipment either – cruise control, air-con, sat nav, keyless entry and a DAB digital radio all come as standard. Even metallic paint is included and five-door cars get electric windows at the back as well as the front.
If you are looking for a bargain entry to the hot hatchback world then the Suzuki Swift Sport is it. At a very reasonable price it offers cornering performance to rival much more expensive models, while its revy petrol engine shares lots in common with hot hatches of the 1980s such as the Peugeot 205 GTI. Running costs may be a little high compared to newer rivals, but the car’s extremely low list price and excellent standard equipment levels mean this isn’t the issue it may otherwise be, in fact the Sport is about as much fun as you can possibly have for the price.