SWIFT

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

SUZUKI was one of very few, if not the only car­maker, to turn a profit dur­ing the GFC. It has, in fact, been in the black ev­ery year since start-up in 1950.

Ob­vi­ously, that’s be­cause Suzuki makes the “right” cars, the right way, at the right price. Call them con­ser­va­tive if you like, but it seems to be the over-rid­ing fac­tor in Suzuki’s suc­cess.

Their least con­ser­va­tive car is the $23,990 Swift Sport – a lat­ter-day Swift GTI for want of a bet­ter de­scrip­tion. It’s a cool, base­ball cap of a car with pert looks, a dash of at­ti­tude and per­for­mance and han­dling that brings a smile to your dial with­out ac­tu­ally pin­ning back your ears. And there’s a CVT auto.

Suzuki’s for­mula for its hot lit­tle five-door hatch is to pare back weight, tweak the en­gine and sus­pen­sion, fit sub­tle body add-ons and boost fuel econ­omy.

UN­DER THE BON­NET

Sport runs a pretty straight­for­ward 1.6-litre, twin cam, four banger up from the 1.4 in a base Swift. It’s good for 100kw/160nm out­put and fuel con­sump­tion as low as 6.1 litres/100km.

It misses out on di­rect in­jec­tion, but scores a sim­ple vari­able in­take sys­tem and vari­able valve tim­ing and lift to op­ti­mise ef­fi­ciency. Choose from a six-speed man­ual or the CVT auto with pad­dle shift.

DY­NAM­ICS

Sport has a strut front and sim­ple tor­sion beam rear sus­pen­sion sys­tem – cal­i­brated to give a good com­pro­mise be­tween sharp han­dling and re­sponse and com­fort. It won’t rat­tle your teeth on rough roads and though small in di­am­e­ter, the disc brakes are up to the job. The elec­tric steer­ing has been cal­i­brated to give sharper re­sponse than a base Swift. Light al­loy Gen­er­ous kit: Suzuki Swift Sport in­cludes bi-xenon head­lights, Blue­tooth, sports seats and low­pro­file sports tyres. wheels re­duce the un­sprung weight and op­ti­mise sus­pen­sion ac­tion. It weighs 1060kg.

SAFETY

It has a five-star crash rat­ing thanks to seven air bags, sta­bil­ity con­trol and the se­lec­tive use of high strength steel through­out the body/chas­sis.

THE LOOK

Though still “sen­si­ble”, the Swift Sport has a mild body aero kit with a rear roof spoiler and un­der bumper dif­fuser com­plete with dual wide spaced ex­haust tips. Side skirts and a deeper front apron com­plete the picture. In­side is pretty much generic Ja­panese with over-used hard plas­tics, func­tional con­trols, cloth sports seats and a leather-clad sports wheel. Gen­er­ous kit in­cludes bi-xenon head­lights,

ON THE ROAD

This is an en­joy­able car to drive in the cut and thrust of city driv­ing, on the free­way or on a wind­ing road. They’ve nailed the drive­abil­ity fac­tor bril­liantly. There’s a sweet shift­ing man­ual gear change with close in­ter­me­di­ate ra­tios, plenty of zip higher up in the en­gine rev range and a supple, con­trolled ride with good brakes and sharpish steer­ing. Kia’s sporty three-door Rio SLS has more power and torque and costs a lot less. It gives noth­ing away on looks ei­ther.

VER­DICT

Great lit­tle car, fun to drive, cheap to run and own, un­doubt­edly re­li­able, safe and well equipped.

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