Lightweight Swift packs punch
IF I could make a new version of myself, a lightweight construction with a dynamite power source would be a good place to start. Suzuki have shown me the way with the latest Swift Sport supermini which is 70kg lighter than the model it steps into the shoes of with a more potent 140ps 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine lurking under the bonnet.
This prompts a 0-62mph time of a shade over eight seconds and a top speed of 130mph which is accessed through a short throw, slick six-speed manual gearbox that is a delight.
It makes for a motor that is pleasantly warm, rather than super hot, to drive, with the steering giving a good feel for what is happening on the road.
The handling is sharp and there is plenty of grip allowing corners to be treated with disdain, while the Sport model’s ride is firm without putting your fillings at serious risk.
The Swift does its level best to eliminate body roll and the comfortable seats hold your body firmly in place as you barrel around town.
As one of the lightest superminis on the road there is a satisfying lift to the fuel economy figures so you get the decent performance without having to rob banks to pay for it.
Suzuki claim an average figure of a shade over 50mpg – it was in the mid 40s during my stint of mixed motoring – with carbon dioxide emissions of 125g/km.
Built at Suzuki’s Sagara plant in Japan, the exterior of the Sport is jazzed up compared to other Swifts.
But it avoids slipping into hot hatch stereotypes with honeycomb radiator grille, small roof spoiler, unique bumper, sports seats and twin exhausts plus carbon-fibre effect sills giving just the right mix of speed and style. There is also darkened privacy glass to give your rear passengers that VIP feeling.
The interior continues the good work with a seven-inch infotainment screen featuring Android Auto and Apple CarPlay allowing full smartphone compatibility so you can run your apps, including sat nav, on the central display.
Nice touches include Sport logos on the seats and a digital instrument panel that gives a turbo boost readout to appeal to the boy racer lurking in us all.
Suzuki don’t stint on the goodies list, so your £18,000 will include DAB radio, air conditioning to maintain a nice atmosphere at all times in the cabin, rear view camera, LED daytime running lights and the latest safety equipment, featuring an advanced forward detection system I found to be a tad hyperactive with an alarm that was a bit annoying.
Other systems to keep you and yours from harm include lane departure prevention, tyre pressure warning, airbags, side impact protection beams and stability control.
There is enough room for four adults to undertake a long journey in comfort and the boot is a decent size at 264 litres which can be expanded by lowering the 60/40 split rear seats although a step is left in the floor.
There are a number of cubby holes for your odds and sods including good-sized doorbins and a glovebox as well as cup holders.
It all adds up to a nippy package that offers plenty of bang for your buck.
TEST DRIVE SUZUKI SWIFT SPORT
The new Suzuki Swift Sport is 70kg lighter than the previous model with a 1.4-litre turbo engine