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Suzuki Swift Sport: the real-world diaries

Published: 17 January 2019

► Easing into the new Suzuki Swift Sport
► My last long-termer was a Type R
► Cheeky colour, cheekier handling

Month 2 living with a Suzuki Swift Sport: driving position and that fizzy engine

Blip the throttle, change down, pause before braking, then turn in and hope for the best. Squeezing all the speed out of the Lemony Swift is a sweet, refreshing experience. I’d enjoy exploring its limits more with a lower driving position. As it is, you sit a Yellow Pages too high and it feels like you’re driving a spritely tennis ball, rather than a  juicy hot hatch.

By Curtis Moldrich

Logbook: Suzuki Swift Sport

Price £17,999
As tested £17,999
Engine 1373cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 138bhp @ 5500rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance 8.1sec 0-62mph, 130mph 125g/km CO2
Miles this month 1238  
Total 4201
Our mpg 44.9mpg
Official mpg 50.4mpg
Fuel this month £176.39
Extra costs None


Month 1 of our Suzuki Swift Sport long-term test review: the introduction

It was during CAR’s Hot Hatch of the Year test, as featured in our September issue, that I found out what my next long-term test car would be. After hearing my Civic Type R had only gone and won the thing, Ben Pulman put his arm around me and explained what car I’d have for the next six months

I looked greedily around the fine array of hot hatches we’d gathered at Rockingham. Was it the all-new Renault Megane RS, a bold Gallic challenger to my outgoing Honda? Perhaps my next long-term review car would be the highly-acclaimed fizzy Ford Fiesta ST, a hatch I’d enjoyed on the roads around Goodwood just days before. Or what about the delightfully overdone Toyota Yaris GRMN – complete with go-faster stickers? It wasn’t my idea of a daily, but I could very happily live with it.

But no. ‘It’s the custard yellow one – it’s the new Suzuki Swift Sport,’ said Pulman.

It’s only then, after looking past the other hot hatches, that I even noticed the Suzuki, sitting proud on the tarmac like a citrusy iced-gem. Despite the brightness of its paint I’d somehow failed to spot that it was there, amid all these more powerful and more expensive hatches.

I’d loved the sharp, dramatic styling of the deep red Honda, and this, by contrast, looked uncomfortably close to a lemon. Time to recalibrate my expectations and do some homework because, truth be told, I didn’t know much about the new Swift Sport – other than that the car on test had accidentally hit some local wildlife a few hours earlier. I was told that the old Swift Sport was a car you could push hard and really have a blast in, so I decided to take another look at my new car.

Read the Car hot hatch 2018 test

Get past the colour (and some subtler hues are available) and the Swift Sport is actually quite a handsome machine. At the rear, double exhausts hint at some form of power, while the ’80s wants its super-retro ‘Sport’ script back. It’s even more cuddly at the front, with that gaping yellow mouth giving it the look of a shocked Pikachu/Pac-Man.

On the road, the Suzuki is much better than expected. The back roads between Rockingham and CAR HQ are rarely smooth, but the Swift Sport bobbles along them, the ride providing ample feedback without rearranging my internal organs.


Gearchanges are clean and the steering light but direct. But it’s the 1.4-litre Boosterjet engine that leaves the biggest impression. Despite being a forced-induction unit, it’s instantly revvy and effervescent, but urges you to keep it in the 3000rpm-4500rpm window. And when coupled with the slick gearbox, intuitive clutch and predictable engine response, that’s not actually a bad thing; you’re constantly moving through the cogs to squeeze out every bit of its 138bhp. 

The Swift Sport promotes the sort of driving that would see the Type R in a hedge, or in the custody of the police; but in the Suzuki it’s harmless fun. I didn’t drive the last Swift, but the new car appears to feature all the strengths of the old one.

The interior seems a little too basic and plastic for my liking, but there’s some serious promise elsewhere. It’s direct, engaging, and won’t reach silly speeds when you’re just trying to have a little fun. Throw in grown-up toys like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping and Android and iPhone integration and it could be practical, too. That colour will take some getting used to, though.

By Curtis Moldrich

Price £17,999 
As tested £17,999
Engine 1373cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 138bhp @ 5500rpm 
Transmission 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance 8.1sec 0-62mph, 130mph 125g/km CO2
Miles this month 663
Total 2963
Our mpg 51.2mpg
Official mpg 50.4mpg
Fuel this month £77.09
Extra costs None

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast

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