The Suzuki Swift Sport might be an attractive little B-segment car, if not one of the most attractive cars in this segment, but it certainly doesn’t turn heads. Unless of course if you treat yourself to an optional Suzuki Swift sticker pack from your nearest Suzuki dealer. Truly personalising your Suzuki Swift is now a reality and I’m not sure about the cost or functionality of the vinyl adhesive, but I can tell you it is worth every sent. This little hot hatch drew crowds wherever it went, and to anyone who says it isn’t quick enough to be called a hot hatch, you probably don’t know how to drive a quick Suzuki.
Yes, most hot hatches boast with impressive acceleration figures and high top speeds, but the Swift Sport is different. To exploit the 100kw this naturally aspirated 1600cc, four cylinder engine has on offer you simply need to rev this little Ninja past 5000rpm and keep it there. Suzuki, like Honda sells more motorbikes and boat engines than they do cars on any given day. Their engineering expertise lay in high revving, bulletproof little engines and Suzuki certainly don’t entertain forced induction. Yes turbo charging would liberate another 30 or 40 Kw of power, but it would take all the fun out of revving an engine till it screams of joy. You can watch the puzzled expressions on the faces of your passengers as they realise you haven’t changed gear and you have no intention of doing so. Then that engine comes alive as a bend approaches and you don’t slow down because you know that Suzuki knows how to tune a sporty suspension.
The Suzuki Swift Sport has what I can only refer to as as very dynamic handling characteristics. It’s light weight en willing powerplant only complement the stiff yet surprisingly comfortable suspension. The 16 inch wheels and standard looking profile of the tyres might not look very aggressive, but they grip any road surface with tenacity while at the same time allowing you to let the back come loose if and when you feel like releasing your inner rally driver.
To better understand the Suzuki Swift Sport you need to think Toyota GT86 or Mazda MX-5, but in front wheel drive. With just enough power, a low mass and properly sorted mechanicals, the steering wheel talks to you, the gearbox is a revelation and the pedals almost anticipate your toes. Yes you need to work to get to the 100kw of power and 160Nm of torque and yes it takes nine seconds to get from 0 to 100km/h, but it’s so much fun getting there! You change gears with your wrist, that’s how close the gear ratios are and you need to constantly watch the rev counter because it revs so freely and so quickly that it’s easy to make a mistake, but it’s all part of the fun because you need to really drive the Swift Sport with enthusiasm and reckless abandon to squeeze the fun out of every corner. The brakes are nothing short of amazing because power is nothing without control and the handling is exhilarating. It’s the type of car that makes you look forward to the next bend with child like excitement and clammy hands. It makes you want to push it a little bit harder every single time the road twists.
The Suzuki boasts very comfortable sport seats which really seem to hold onto you in the bends. They are not covered in leather, but the materials used on them remind me of those jump suits that race car drivers wear. Well padded and stiff where it matters, but rather a tight squeeze even for me. Suzuki obviously moves more stock in Asian countries where the average person is slightly smaller than me. You’ll get four short adults in there no problem, but their luggage wont make it into the 152L boot which is rather petit. Lets be honest though, like the Ford Fiesta ST this is not a practical family car. It was never trying to be that. It was trying to be fun and funky and thouroghly entertaining and I think it succeeded beautifully. Go buy one with the stickers on. I said so. Trust me, you’ll love it!
Yes a VW Polo GTi is faster, but it’s also almost R100 000 more expensive. On top of that no one will notice you and you won’t have a stupid grin on your face for no apparent reason. At R264 900, the Suzuki Swift Sport is practically a bargain when compared to the VW Polo GTi at R350 000 and Ford’s Fiesta ST at R320 000. The Ford is an exceptional little firecracker of a car and certainly one of my personal favourites. I’d honestly struggle to choose between the two. Either would make for an excellent choice, but the Suzuki just nicks it with five door practicality and a R50 000 saving over the blue oval.