Sec­ond com­ing of Suzuki’s sporty num­ber adds a sense of ma­tu­rity

Bath Chronicle - - ROAD TEST - By IAN DON­ALD­SON Driv­ing Force

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.

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