Latest on Suzuki Swift Sport and Citroen C3 Aircross
A RECENT study stated that it takes a third of employers just 90 seconds to decide whether or not they’ll offer a candidate a job at an interview. I couldn’t find any specific research into whether the first impressions of a bright yellow Japanese hot hatch are as vital, but I’m sure the principles are much the same.
This is our new Suzuki Swift Sport, and I’ll be running it for the next few months. So has my first encounter left me with the desire to hire, or will I be showing the sporty supermini the door?
Well, if its looks are equivalent to a well-crafted cover note, it’s already got my attention. A subtle bodykit, 17-inch alloy wheels and the retina-burning paintjob help an already-handsome car to stand out in a class where style means almost as much as substance.
Inside, the impressions are more mixed. You’re greeted by a pair of body-hugging sports seats which, lovely
Performance 0-62mph/top speed 8.1 seconds/130mph
though they feel, are mounted too high. The steering wheel is nice enough to look at and to hold, but I’d like it to move slightly closer towards me.
In terms of design, the dashboard seems a generation behind other superminis, and thanks to the hard, unforgiving plastic used, it feels it as well. The infotainment system is poor, too: it looks like a cheap aftermarket job and is about as enjoyable to operate.
At five foot seven inches, I rarely make the most of a car’s headroom, but there’s plenty if you need it. Boot space is no match for a Volkswagen Polo’s, at 265 litres, but then the Suzuki is 13cm shorter.
The most important part of the interview process, however, comes in the drive. As with the looks, first impressions are positive; the steering feels well weighted and precise, the pedals are well positioned for heel-and-toe downshifts, and the
Running costs 43.1mpg (on test) £48 fill-up/£140 or 26% tax
gearbox, although not as snappy as it could be, is positive.
The Swift’s CV includes a recent road test against the Volkswagen up! GTI and Ford Fiesta St-line (Issue 1,527), where the Suzuki really held its own. Sure, it should feel more playful on the limit and it needs a fruitier exhaust, but our new hot hatch is otherwise very accomplished.
However, there are one or two quirks that are beginning to grate already. The over-reactive autonomous emergency braking system meant I quickly switched it off, but it turns back on again every time you restart the car.
Then there are the brakes: while they’re absolutely fine on the open road, they squeal loudly when I come to a gentle halt. You know, the sort of stop you do countless times during a slow-moving commute into the centre of town. My drive to work, in other words. Marvellous.
THE unwritten law that punctures only happen at inconvenient times was proven yet again recently on our Ssangyong Rexton.
Products editor Kim Adams was due to set off early the next morning for a five-day race and track day trip to Spa and Zolder in Belgium, but the TPMS alert sounded as he went to refuel. A quick inspection showed a screw had punctured the SUV’S tread.
Fortunately, the Rexton has a full-size spare, despite carrying a compressor and sealant in the boot. The spare is under the car, but the tools to lower it were confusingly found in a cloth bag marked ‘Towing Kit’. With the wheel eventually lowered, the next problem was dragging the hefty spare from under the car. Kim had to lie on the ground to release the retaining cable. He used a trolley jack because he was at home, but the wheel nut wouldn’t yield to an impact wrench and needed a long ratchet.
It took more than an hour in all to change the wheel; this was definitely not a job you’d want to tackle at the roadside.
Interior Hard plastics are used inside, while the infotainment touchscreen isn’t especially slick
Tyre blow Rexton has a full-size spare, but when Kim suffered a puncture, getting to it was tricky