Swift? Not quite, but it’s a big noise among fans
SUZUKI’S Swift has a youthful image which appeals to most ages. It is now well into its third generation with a devout fan base, made alongside the SX4 S-Cross and the Splash in Esztergom, northern Hungary.
It looks smart enough for gramps (me these days) and with a couple of stripes over the top it looks sporty enough for the youth I was once when I had a Mini Cooper. Prices open at £10,799 for a 93bhp 1,2 petrol model with three doors in SZ2 trim. Pay another £500 for the convenience of rear doors. You can have a 1.2 automatic in SZ4 trim for £14,949 – getting near the entry price for next year’s allnew Mini.
The only diesel model is the 74bhp 1.3 SZ4 5-door with manual gears at £15,139. It records an official 72mpg (16mpg more than the petrol model) but with 101g/km CO2 infuriatingly misses out on the sub 100g benefits of free road tax and London congestion charging. On such margins will Londoners choose.
None of them is what you’d call a flyer. The 0-62mph times are the wrong side of 12 seconds but the higher torque diesel gathers speed more readily. New this year (already offered abroad) is the 4x4 version, using the 1.2 petrol engine, from £13,819 in SZ3 trim.
The importers sent me a swifter Swift, the recently launched five-door Sport (two exhausts, body kit, roof spoiler, Monroe dampers, grippy seats, extra dials, 17 inch wheels with 195/45 ContiSport tyres plus cruise control and push-button starter). Cost: £13,749 with three doors, £14,249 with five. Not a bad price considering lots of kit I have not mentioned.
The engine is a 134bhp petrol 1.6, peaking at a heady 7,000rpm. Torque of 118 lb ft comes at 4,400rpm. Top speed in sixth is 121mph and the 0-62mph time is a respectable 8.7 seconds. The Sport has a thorough chassis tune, with attention to rigidity in the stressed components, uprated springs with rebound coils added at the front, bigger wheel bearings and so forth.
User-friendly features see key-free opening, pushbutton start and light touch tailgate opening – almost hands-free if you are carrying shopping. It does not have stop-start ignition – which would have made dents on the official average of 44 miles a gallon and CO2 of 147g/ km. On test, driven mildly, it averaged a very friendly 46 to 48 miles a gallon.
Driven mildly? Yep. I never felt like what they call “opening the envelope” too much. For one thing, the roads were winter-greasy. And another thing? The Swift Sport needs revving and revving to get its pace. I already found it frightfully noisy – mostly roar from the road. Cruising was my gait.
Verdict: The Swift looks robust and has its admirers. Pity the Sport is noisy. I’d take a more standard model. Nit-picking: Front number plate attachment looks flappy.
Front and rear views of the Suzuki Swift Sport. It has a smart but sporty appeal for older and younger generations.