Suzuki Swift Sport review
The Suzuki Swift Sport is a hot hatch version of Suzuki’s compact city car which clever mild-hybrid tech. It’s pricier than it used to be, though, yet still not particularly high quality inside.
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The Suzuki Swift Sport is a small sporty city car with a chunky body kit, a nippy turbocharged petrol engine, and a reasonably roomy interior that help make it good to look at, fun to drive and easy to live with every day. But, is that enough to tempt you away from the likes of the Ford Fiesta ST?
Well, you can feel as smug as a vegan, bamboo-bike riding, reusable-coffee-cup owning rainforest grower in the Swift, because it now comes with mild-hybrid tech that’ll help save fuel and lower its emissions.
And where the Fiesta ST looks pretty much identical to a cheaper (and slower) ST-Line model, the sportiest Suzuki Swift comes with a huge gaping grille, some faux carbon fibre trims, 17-inch alloy wheels and two large exhausts (which are entirely real!) that you don’t get on the standard model.
It’s a similar story inside – there are plenty of contrasting red trims on the dashboard and centre console and you get a flat-bottomed steering wheel, just like a race car. Unfortunately, while the Suzuki Swift Sport might look cool inside, cheap-feeling scratchy plastics mean it feels a bit nasty.
Thankfully, you do get lots of equipment as standard, including a touchscreen infotainment system with built-in sat-nav and smartphone mirroring. The Suzuki Swift Sport is just as spacious inside as the standard Swift too, so there’s room for six-foot-tall adults in the front and enough room for three kids to side-by-side in the back.
The Suzuki Swift Sport feels much more grown-up than the old car. It’s more usable every day, more efficient and faster, but, unfortunately, it’s also quite a bit more expensive
Sadly, it loses some ground to other sporty small cars in terms of boot space. There’s still space for a few suitcases and more than enough space for a weekly shop but the Fiesta ST is significantly roomier.
It isn’t quite as fast as the Fiesta ST either – it takes a modest 9.1 seconds to accelerate from 0-62mph – but the Suzuki Swift Sport’s revvy 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine makes it feel faster than the numbers suggest. It also has clever mild-hybrid technology on board to help save fuel when you aren’t blasting down a country road.
It’ll be tough not to, mind. The Swift’s precise steering and strong brakes mean you can have a blast threading your way down tight country lanes without endangering your driving licence and its stable suspension helps maximise grip in tight corners without feeling too bouncy on rough roads.
The Suzuki Swift Sport’s small size and relatively large window mean it’s a doddle to drive in town too, and it won’t cost the earth to run, either. Suzuki claims it’ll return 50.1mpg.
Sure, it might not be quite as exciting to drive as the Fiesta ST, but the more affordable Suzuki Swift Sport is still an excellent compact hot hatch that’s easy to live with during the week and fantastic fun when the weekend arrives.
There’s loads of space for four adults but they won’t be able to bring along much luggage.
The Suzuki Swift is pretty diminutive – even for a compact city car – but it’s impressively roomy inside. The wide door openings, raised roof and high front seat bases mean you’ll have no trouble climbing inside if you’re very tall or have reduced mobility, too.
Once inside, you’ll find there’s plenty of head- and legroom to stretch out and there’s a decent amount of adjustment in the seat to help you get a good view out. Unfortunately, the steering wheel adjusts up and down, but not in and out which isn’t ideal if you’re very tall or rather small.
Unlike many small cars, there’s space in the Suzuki Swift’s back seats for a six-foot passenger to sit behind an equally tall driver. There’s even space to carry three adults abreast (albeit for short journeys) and the Swift’s wide cabin and raised roof means no-one will be banging their heads on the roof in corners.
Sure, the central seat isn’t quite as wide or as comfortable as the outer two and there’s isn’t a great deal of space for three passengers’ feet, but there’s more than enough room to carry three kids without them having any reason to fight over elbow room.
Speaking of kids, the Suzuki Swift’s back doors open almost at right angles to the rest of the car which helps make it a doddle to lift in a child seat. You get two sets of Isofix anchor points as standard, and –unlike in many cars – they aren’t covered by any annoying plastic caps so it’s dead easy to slide a seat into position and lock it in place.
The Swift loses ground to the competition in terms of interior storage space. Both the front and rear doors feature extremely large bottle holders but only the fronts feature a practical pocket, too.
The glovebox is quite small and, besides a pair of cupholders in the centre console, the only easy-to-reach cubby is a small tray behind the handbrake.
The door pockets in the rear doors are smaller than those in the front, so you’ll only get a small bottle in them.
The Suzuki Swift has 265 litres of bootspace. That’s enough for a pair of small suitcases and a couple of airline-cabin cases, but that’s about it. As a result, you’ll be better off with the likes of the Skoda Fabia, Honda Jazz and Hyundai i20 if you regularly carry large suitcases or bulky luggage.
The Suzuki Swift’s boot opening isn’t particularly wide either, and there’s quite a large boot lip that makes it a touch tricky to lift in very heavy boxes. At least you get a handy shopping hook (but only the one) to help stop your groceries rolling around on the way home.
You can fold the Suzuki Swift’s back seats down if you need to carry very long luggage, but even then it isn’t quite as roomy as most other small hatchbacks. There’s also a significant step up behind the back seats which makes it difficult to slide heavy luggage right up behind the front seats.
The Swift Sport is light, nimble and fun to drive pretty much anywhere, but it’s noisy and you won’t win many traffic light races.
Up front, you’ll find a turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine, which develops 129hp and 235 Nm of torque, which allows it to accelerate cover the 0-62mph sprint in 9.1 seconds. It’ll do a top speed of 130mph.
The engine also features mild-hybrid technology to enhance its efficiency, so emits 127g/km of CO2 and does an average of 50.1mpg.
If you buy a Suzuki Swift Sport with a view to winning every sprint from the traffic lights you’re going to be disappointed. However, if you buy it with a view to having fun everywhere else, you’ll be smiling on every trip.
The steering is light and sharp, and the sportily set-up suspension means the car responds to inputs eagerly. Admittedly, the ride is a bit firm, and the Swift Sport doesn’t quite have the poise and balance of a Fiesta, but it isn’t bad.
The gearbox has been tuned to offer a slightly shorter throw between changes, and feels pleasingly snickety, although you can have it as an automatic if swapping cogs doesn’t appeal to you.
In town, the Swift Sport is nimble and zippy, helped by an extremely good steering lock and good visibility. That said, the rear pillars are quite large, which can hinder the view when parking or changing lanes on the motorway.
Still, parking is helped by the reversing camera, although the field of view is pretty narrow.
Out of town on motorways and dual carriageways, the Swift Sport is easily brisk enough to keep up, but there’s rather a lot of road and wind noise when you’re up to speed. It can also be affected by side winds.
The Suzuki Swift Sport’s interior is nicely minimalist but the build quality doesn’t feel as robust as we’d like.
Suzuki Swift Sport colours
- From £165
- From £165