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Week at the wheel: Suzuki Swift Sport. Image by Suzuki.

Week at the wheel: Suzuki Swift Sport
Suzuki breathes on its Swift and creates the hot Sport model.

 



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| Week at the Wheel | Suzuki Swift Sport |

Overall rating: 4 4 4 4 4

If you like your hot hatch to have an old-school flavour then the new Suzuki Swift Sport is the car for you. A rev-happy engine, sweet-shifting six-speed gearbox and a firm but playful chassis make for a car that thrives on being taken by the scruff of its neck.

Key Facts

Model tested: Suzuki Swift Sport
Pricing: 13,499
Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body style: three-door hatchback
Rivals: Twingo Renaultsport 133, Abarth 500, Volkswagen Polo GTI
CO2 emissions: 147g/km
Combined economy: 44.1mpg
Top speed: 121mph
0-62mph: 8.7 seconds
Power: 136hp at 6,900rpm
Torque: 160Nm at 4,400rpm

Inside & Out: 4 4 4 4 4

The changes from the previous Swift model were minimal, and it's the same story for the Sport. There are some bigger wheels (17-inch), a pair of tailpipes and a subtle body kit, but save for the three-door body (regular Swifts are currently only available in five-door guise) there is little to distinguish this car as the performance flagship.

Inside has even less to differentiate it from the regular car, but that's no bad thing as the interior is neatly designed and uses good quality switchgear. The highlight is the supportive and comfortable sports seats and the low-point the meagre 211-litre boot.

Ride & Handling: 4 4 4 4 4

Distinctly old-school, this is a hot hatch that will have you reliving your memories of the '80s. The suspension is stiff, and the result is little body roll with excellent control. Turn sharply into a bend and you can feel the rear inside wheel trying to lift off the ground - release your pressure on the accelerator quickly (with the ESP turned off) and you'll also notice the rear end try to swing round into lift-off oversteer. It's not scary though, the chassis' natural balance making it lots of fun to pedal hard on a favourite back road or circuit.

It can get a little tiresome on the motorway though, the short wheelbase, large wheels and firm springs making for a fidgety ride along the expansion joints. And though the steering is direct, it would benefit from some extra feel.

Engine & Transmission: 4 4 4 4 4

Like the chassis, the engine feels a little like something from yesteryear. Not in terms of its figures - its 136hp is ample from a 1.6-litre four-cylinder unit without a turbocharger - but because of its delivery. Peak power doesn't arrive until 6,900rpm, and frankly, below 4,000rpm the Suzuki feels a little flat. Keep the throttle pinned though and the rev counter needle races for the redline.

Torque is rather light all the time though, offering only 160Nm at a relatively heady 4,400rpm. At least the slick shifting six-speed manual gearbox makes using the available power easier. You do have to be in the right mood for this car, though if you are you'll appreciate every minute you're behind the wheel.

Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: 4 4 4 4 4

It's reasonably priced, at only 13,499, which puts it firmly in the RenaultSport Twingo's sights. But the Suzuki is better built, larger and a more usable all-rounder - thanks in part to a cabin that benefits from standard climate control, leather steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, sports seats and cruise control. And thanks to the relatively low 147g/km CO2 output annual tax is only 135, while average fuel economy of 44.1mpg means there will be few visits to the pumps.


Graeme Lambert - 10 Apr 2012









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2012 Suzuki Swift Sport. Image by Suzuki.2012 Suzuki Swift Sport. Image by Suzuki.2012 Suzuki Swift Sport. Image by Suzuki.2012 Suzuki Swift Sport. Image by Suzuki.2012 Suzuki Swift Sport. Image by Suzuki.

2012 Suzuki Swift Sport. Image by Suzuki.2012 Suzuki Swift Sport. Image by Suzuki.2012 Suzuki Swift Sport. Image by Suzuki.2012 Suzuki Swift Sport. Image by Suzuki.2012 Suzuki Swift Sport. Image by Suzuki.



2012 Suzuki Swift Sport. Image by Suzuki.
 

2012 Suzuki Swift Sport. Image by Suzuki.
 

2012 Suzuki Swift Sport. Image by Suzuki.
 

2012 Suzuki Swift Sport. Image by Suzuki.
 

2012 Suzuki Swift Sport. Image by Suzuki.
 

2012 Suzuki Swift Sport. Image by Suzuki.
 

2012 Suzuki Swift Sport. Image by Suzuki.
 






 

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