Colour­ful, funky and fun to drive

Saturday Star - - LIFESTYLE - WILLEM VAN DE PUTTE

“WOW, I think my eyes are melt­ing,” chirped a friend’s son when I parked the car for a braai to watch the Spring­boks take on Ar­gentina.

And if you’re fa­mil­iar with the lime green and blue liv­ery that the Suzuki Ec­star Mo­toGP bike thun­ders around the track with, you’ ll have a good idea of why he would say that.

In fact, I pretty much felt the same way when I first saw the Suzuki Swift Sport, even send­ing a picture to a friend who replied that at least it wouldn’t be lost among a sea of ve­hi­cles at a mall on a Saturday morn­ing.

How­ever, the colours and twin tail pipes re­ally give it a sporty feel.

The idea that rims “maketh the car” couldn’t be truer than the 16-inch al­loys fit­ted to the lit­tle Sport.

Black with a lime green edge set against the blue works in­cred­i­bly well, and rounds it of f per­fectly.

Inside, it’s nicely fin­ished of f, too, and as with all of Suzuki’s fin­ishes, it’s solid with not so much as a rat­tle, which for a car in the press fleet with “go-fast” stripes says much about the build qual­ity.

It’s re­mark­ably com­fort­able, par­tic­u­larly for a big bug­ger like my­self, and all the but­tons and dials are well placed with enough stor­age space for cups, wal­lets and what­ever else peo­ple tend to throw into them.

There’s enough space in the back to eas­ily fit two adults, and although the boot isn’t go­ing to hide a body, with the back seats folded down it’s al­most caver nous.

I had just re­tur ned a Ford ST200, a lively car to be sure, so I was se­cretly hop­ing for some­thing sim­i­lar per­for mance­wise.

Con­sid­er­ing the way it’s decked out, it cer­tainly de­serves to, but it has the 1.6-litre en­gine that puts out 100kW and 160Nm, so you’re not go­ing to rip the skin of f your face or be the first-placed boy-racer in a ro­bot-to-ro­bot sprint.

But, and I think this is where Suzuki gets it right with al­most all their mod­els, it’s a hell of a lot of fun to drive.

Put any ideas of a hot hatch out of your mind, ac­cept that you’re go­ing to get to 100km/h in nine or so sec­onds and won’t be touch­ing 200km/h, and en­joy it for what it is.

The six-speed gear­box slots in well with the en­gine, and tak­ing every gear to the limit doesn’t feel like it’s about to jump from the en­gine bay.

Steer­ing is light and di­rect, and with the low-pro­file tyres, a well set-up sus­pen­sion and a smile on your face, you’re al­ways look­ing for an ex­cuse to throw it into sharp twists and tur ns.

It’s fit­ted with a USB port, and although I strug­gled to get the Blue­tooth to con­nect, I’m sure it was prob­a­bly user er­ror, and to be hon­est it wasn’t a pri­or­ity for me dur­ing my time with the car.

There’s one thing though that I would se­ri­ously re-look at, and that would be to fit an ex­haust that gives it a sound that matches the look and feel of the car.

Call me old school, but when I saw it driv­ing on the track at the SA Fes­ti­val of Mo­tor­ing at Kyalami, squeal­ing tyres with­out a bark and growl com­ing out the back was a lit­tle like a braai with­out boere­wors.

Over­all, though, it’s what you’ve come to ex­pect from Suzuki, a qual­ity, well-pack­aged prod­uct that’s a whole lot of fun to drive.

Do not ad­just your set… this is the colour and style of the Suzuki Ec­star Mo­toGP bike. Oops! No, this is the Suzuki Swift Sport.

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