Automotive Blog – Suzuki Swift Sport 5-door Review
The Suzuki Swift Sport has been with us for
a couple of years in its current form, and in that time it’s earnt the respect of many
as a peppy, endearingly old-school hot hatch. Last year, it gained the option of five-doors,
but that hasn’t affected its character, and instead has only added a little extra practicality
for those that need it – perhaps those with a young family who aren’t ready to give up
on driving fun just yet. It’s still a cheekily-styled little box of fun, with its large headlights,
gaping honeycomb grille, finned front fog lights, and 17-inch alloy wheels with 45-profile
tyres. The extra doors haven’t corrupted the Swift’s basic shape, and it’s the same length
as its three-door brother, while the blackened A- and B-pillars tie the side profile together
The styling is finished off at the rear with a bee-sting antenna, a fairly sizeable
roof spoiler, and a pair of exhausts that poke through a grey-coloured diffuser. The
first thing you’ll notice on climbing aboard is the acres of headroom, and there’s loads
of adjustment for both the steering wheel and the sports seats that also do an excellent
job of holding you in place. The dashboard is simply laid out, there’s good storage in
the glove box, door bins and centre console, where there are also charging and USB ports
for your phone. The instruments are clear, the switchgear is where you’d expect it, and
the chunky steering wheel finishes things off nicely.
It might not be the last word
in interior design, but there’s something very honest about it all. There’s no fuss
to it. In the back, there’s room for a couple of six-footers – just – but if you’re more
likely to be ferrying kids about, there are three proper seat-belts and a couple of ISOFIX
mountings. The boot, as you’d expect, isn’t massive.
You’re looking at 211 litres of space
back here, and although you can increase that to 512 litres, the seats backs fold forward
onto the bases where they still take up quite a bit of space, and there’s a high sill to
negotiate, too. However, let’s get some perspective here – this isn’t supposed to be an estate
car. Power comes from Suzuki’s 1.6-Litre four-cylinder petrol unit, and it produces a modest 134hp
and 160Nm of torque. In an age of 200hp turbo hot hatches, that might sound a little, well…
But Suzuki set out to deliberately create an old-school fun-to-drive hot hatch,
and its 8.7 Second 0-62mph time shows you that there’s more to the Swift than its horsepower
figures would suggest. On the move, the Swift feels a little lethargic if you keep the revs
below 4,000 or so. However, that makes it docile around town and it’s very forgiving
of being left in the wrong gear. Speaking of gears, the six-speed manual box has a light
and easy-going shift action.
Peak power is developed just below 7,000rpm, and that means
to get the best from it, you need to snick down a ratio or two and work the engine harder.
That is kind of what the Swift is all about, though. You can’t just amble along and then
expect the engine to do everything for you – you have to engage with the experience in
the way we were used to with hot hatches before turbocharging became a thing. It’s the same
with the handling – the Swift turns in sharply with practically no body-roll, but the ride
is on the sporty side of firm so there’s a definite purpose to it. It’s never annoying,
but there’s no forgetting you’re in the ‘fun’ version.
But then, that’s the point. The Swift
Sport is about having fun. It’s no point-and-squirt machine, it’s a sporty little hatch that demands
– and rewards – a little extra driver involvement. It’s just that now it’s available as a five-door,
you can bring the family along, too.
Owning one needn’t trouble the family finances, though,
with the five-door coming in at 14,499 with a standard spec that includes satnav, climate
control, xenon headlights, keyless entry, cruise control and other goodies. CO2 emissions
of 147 g/km mean a road tax bill of 140 a year, with an official economy figure of
44.1Mpg – a figure we had no trouble achieving during our time with it. So there you go.
If you like your hot hatches pure and unspoilt by turbos or gimmicks like stop/start and
fun-killing traction control, you might just be exactly who Suzuki’s engineers had in mind
when they made the Swift Sport..