Suzuki Swift Sport five-door (2013) review

Published:15 August 2013

Suzuki Swift Sport five-door (2013) review
  • At a glance
  • 4 out of 5
  • 3 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5

Can’t really see Suzuki screwing this one up, can you? This is the Swift Sport five-door, mechanically identical to our favourite warm hatch save for two extra rear apertures. You pay an extra £500 for the privilege of family-friendliness, inching the price up to a £14,249.

So it’s good value then?

Oh yes. As with the Swift Sport we’ve driven, liked and known as a long-termer, it's the easiest car to spec on Earth – not one for the online configurator enthusiasts among you. Bluetooth and MP3 connectivity, 17in alloys, foglights, tinted glass and cruise control all come as standard. There are new colours to choose from though, like the rather smart electric blue hue of our test example.

Sure, the cabin is hardly dripping with occasion, despite the red stitching, polished pedals, and bolstered seats, but when the kit count is this high, and the overall price still affordable, we can forgive the plain-Jane fascia, with its reunion of class of ’98 Japanese textured plastics. And the tinny stereo.

Is it worth paying another £500 for more doors?

Absolutely. The Swift Sport already cuts a boxy physique, so shoehorning in more doors doesn’t exactly graffiti upon the Mona Lisa. Besides, the Swift’s upright stance means there’s loads of headroom for the five-door to take advantage of, though legroom remains pinched if you’ve got six-footers up front.

However, the five-door negates one of the three-door Swift’s main bugbears: the awkward spring-loaded handles which flip the front chairs forward to grant rear-seat access.

A cramped boot remains the standout black mark on the Swift Sport’s practicality scorecard. At only 211 litres with the seats-up, and 512 once the rear bench folds away, you’ve much less cargo room than a VW Up city car. The high loading sill impedes access for heavy items too.

Still a hoot to drive then?

You could spend all day – a very enjoyable day, at that – driving the three- and five-door Sports back-to-back, trying to isolate dynamic differences between the two, feeling for a touch more rear-biased weight perhaps, or a reduction in stiffness. Don’t bother. Suzuki claims an identical kerbweight of 1045kg for either model, and they’re both equally fun to scamper around in.

Free of wooshy turbochargers, the naturally aspirated 1.6-litre engine loves to rev, and the positive six-speed manual gearbox is a willing ally in keeping the rev needle pointing north. With 136bhp at 7000rpm (!) and 118lb ft at 4400rpm, the modest power means a tricky front diff isn’t needed to quell wheelspin – this is back-to-basics warm hatchery, and all the better for it.

Throw a few corners into the mix and the Sport’s dinky stance really comes into its own. The car feels almost squared-off in the wheelbase, like the proverbial go-kart. It’s agile, manageable and satisfying at speeds well within novice drivers’ limits – and the law’s tolerances. Just don’t forget the less willing rear-seat passengers in the five-door…

Criticisms? It’s still not happy on the motorway, thanks to the short gearing keeping the engine at a buzzy 3800rpm. Stiffer suspension makes for bouncy progress in town too. Still, even Peter Crouch wouldn’t bang his head on the ceiling inside the Swift, even though the car’s driving position is a good four inches too high. If you want a less frenetic model, check out the rough-and-tumble 4x4 version that’s new for 2013 by clicking here.

Verdict

What’s not to like? The Swift Sport five-door is markedly more user-friendly than its three-door sister, sensibly priced, and still a tonic to drive.

The toy-like styling won’t be to all tastes – the low-rent badge even less so – but if you can look past those subjective foibles, we’ve no trouble recommending the five-door Swift Sport as a cracking warm hatch all-rounder.

Specs

Price when new: £14,249
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 1586cc 16v 4cyl, 136bhp @ 7000rpm, 118lb ft @ 4400rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 8.7sec 0-62mph, 121mph, 44.1mpg, 147g/km CO2
Weight / material: 1045kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 3890/1695/1580

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  • Suzuki Swift Sport five-door (2013) review
  • Suzuki Swift Sport five-door (2013) review
  • Suzuki Swift Sport five-door (2013) review
  • Suzuki Swift Sport five-door (2013) review
  • Suzuki Swift Sport five-door (2013) review
  • Suzuki Swift Sport five-door (2013) review
  • Suzuki Swift Sport five-door (2013) review
  • Suzuki Swift Sport five-door (2013) review
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