Suzuki Swift ticks all the right boxes
THE SUZUKI Swift 1.6 Sport 6MT appears quite ominous, when you first lay eyes on it – something that’s not helped by the huge SUZUKI emblazoned down each side and the green and white go-faster stripes that run from the bonnet all the way over the roof, across the back and down to the rear spoiler, bracketed by a triangular red companion emerging from the chassis.
I’ve had cars with huge stickers on them before – extolling their offroad capabilities in the same way that middle-aged men comb their hair forward and wear “I climbed Kilimanjaro” T-shirts that strain over their bellies – neither tends to end well.
On the plus side, it does make losing the car in a crowded shop- ping mall parking lot that much harder.
The illusion of speed continues with the low-profile wheels and the Marvel-ish green-tint shade on the matt black rims. Inside, the driver and front passenger have contourshaped seats that are firmer than most – a hint of the promise in the engine compartment beyond.
The trim in the cabin is Special Ops black, leavened by red stitching, with red dials on the centre console and a mod-con leather-clad steering wheel with integrated audio, cruise and cellphone controls. But, for once, the hype is worth it.
The 1 600 engine in the Swift Sprint pumps out 100kW, which is a slingshot on a car this size. The PR blurb rabbits on about the twin exhausts, but they don’t provide the same manic gurgle in neutral or roar like a rabid Jack Russell when the throttle is pushed flat à la the ridiculously fun Fiat 500 with Abarth conversion.
But the Swift flies up the road nonetheless, is firm-footed into corners and solid on the straights, making you appreciate the rigidity of the seats and the little lips at the side of your back and your thighs as the acceleration pushes you into their embrace.
In fact, it does share something with the Abarth 500; it’s fun to drive, seriously fun in a more-ish kind of way, like the silly sap in the Toyota ad who climbs into his Fortuner in the middle of a storm to get his copy of his newspaper.
For its price (R260 900), it ships with a full range of modcons: key- less entry and exit, push-button ignition, USB-capable sound system (and CD drive), Bluetooth cellphone connectivity and cruise control along with the standard on-board safety kit you’d expect in a vehicle with this capability.
Be warned, the USB is rudimentary and you’ll have to get out the instruction manual to pair your cellphone – which I didn’t because I don’t do instruction manuals until it’s five past too late.
The boot is small, but if you want bigger, the Swift does come as a sedan (which almost defeats the object), the seats in the back can fold flat in typical hatchback style, but here’s the thing: if you want a Swift – and by a Swift I’m talking about a Swift Swift (sport mode) – all these added attractions are superfluous to the main event: does the car perform?
Does it feel safe when you boot it up? Can the lights show you when you’re going faster than you ought to down one of Johannesburg’s now typically dark arterial roads at night?
Is there room for you to go away for the weekend? Can you take a couple of friends with you?
The answer is yes.
For its price, the Suzuki Swift Sport ships with a full range of modcons: keyless entry and exit and cruise control, along with the standard on-board safety kit, among others.