Second coming of Suzuki’s sporty number adds a sense of maturity
CHOOSE champion yellow for your new Suzuki Swift Sport and it will make crowded car parks less of a challenge when you look for your wheels after a lingering dinner. Here’s a colour that grabbed the attention of nearly everyone who came within the little car’s orbit during its time on test. The more bashful among us will be happy to learn other colours are available, and none of them costs more either. Perhaps mineral metallic grey? Or super pearl black? Either will shrink your Swift Sport into its surroundings. But don’t expect it to be a beacon of visibility as you struggle out of the supermarket, laden with a week’s worth of groceries. A more sober colour might actually suit this second coming of the Swift Sport rather well, in fact. In contrast to the revvy little screamer that was Swift Sport mark one, in comes a sense of maturity which make everyday life a bit less of a bother when you don’t feel like being entertained. But with the arrival of this new found maturity comes a loss too. Some of the lively interaction of old has faded, replaced by a properly grown up feel. Adding a turbo to the 1.4-litre petrol engine has pumped in lots more low-down pulling power, making the car quicker and even more obviously, much keener to hang on to higher gears at lower speeds. And with 130mph on tap and the sizzle to sixty-two in around eight seconds, it feels a lively little number. Trouble is, the Swift Sport has a new rival, in the shape of the latest Ford Fiesta ST. And that’s a car that feels properly quick – eye widening fast even – and can be owned on the PCP package that accounts for most new car sales these days for barely more per month than the Suzuki. It will, surprisingly, also cost you less to insure. Suzuki has currently lopped £1,000 of the list price of its Swift Sport (so, £16,999 at the moment) but it still ceases to be the obvious £15,349 bargain of the old one. There’s perhaps generous recompense to counter the new bottom line with a determinedly well packed standard spec that includes intelligent cruise control and the choice of several metallic paint colours, both of which usually add many hundreds to the bill. Add in touches like satellite navigation (on a rather tiny screen), climate control, reversing camera and LED lights and that newly boosted price looks much more justified. Sporty touches inside run to grippy front seats, chunky sport steering wheel and an instrument panel that will reveal your economy but not speed in digital form, which is a pity. Beneath the gently sportified exterior (think spoilers and big twin exhausts) sits a stiffened suspension honed over British roads where 100 different set ups were put through their paces. The result is one of the best riding warm hatches you’ll encounter, thankfully lacking the big wheeled harshness attached to many rivals. It means our awful roads will be less of a (literal) pain than they might have been. A little larger than before, the Swift Sport remains small enough to add confidence to an enthusiastic B-road drive but big enough for a couple of grown men in the back, with gently splayed knees perhaps, and a boot a useful 25 per cent bigger than before. All very practical, but the faster Fiesta ST’S boot is larger. What a lovely time you could have making your warm hatch buying decision.