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Suzuki Swift Sport: By nature as by name

By Ghaith Madadha - Oct 05,2022 - Last updated at Oct 05,2022

A fun and feisty gift to fans of old school hot hatches, the Suzuki Swift Sport may benefit from a smaller, more powerful and more efficient turbocharged engine, but is a rare modern car that doubles down on the “light is right” philosophy. Shedding 80kg over its predecessor, the current Swift Sport is a notable addition to the small city car class of hot hatch that have been dropped by many manufacturers in recent years, in favour of heavier, taller, slower and less charismatic small crossovers.

 

Snouty style

Introduced as a 2018 model and built on a lighter but stiffer platform with safety, ride and handling benefits, the new Swift Sport’s design however more heavily plays up to the model’s traditionally playful side. With noticeably more chiseled surfacing including a bigger, snoutier and more defined grille, more scowling headlights and flared side intake style elements, the diminutive Swift Sport’s more overtly aggressive styling however seems to knowingly accentuate its aesthetic “cute” factor, rather than to take itself too seriously as moody or menacing.

No longer than its predecessor at 3,890mm, the latest Swift Sport’s slightly wider dimensions and footprint are however emphasised by more bulging bodywork, exaggerated rear haunches and prominent front wheel-arches. Adopting blacked out pillars for a floating effect, the new Swift Sport’s more rakishly angled roofline is tipped with a jutting liftgate spoiler. Broader and seemingly more road-hugging at the rear, the Swift Sport’s sporting elements include dual tailpipes, stylish dual tone 16-inch alloy wheels and hidden rear door handles for a coupe-like look.

Fast and frugal

Giving away 0.2-litres to its naturally-aspirated predecessor, the new Swift Sport’s 1.4-litre turbocharged direct injection 4-cylinder engine however gains 4BHP and a massive 52lb/ft torque for a total of 138BHP at 5,500rpm and muscular 170lb/ft throughout 2,500-3,500rpm. If not making much power gains, the Swift Sport’s relatively low-revving peak however seems ripe for tuning and more power. Torque delivery is meanwhile versatile and generous over a broad band, but is more rewarding in how it builds to a narrower plateau than usual for modern turbo engines.

Responsive from standstill and with little turbo lag, the Swift Sport comes on boost quickly, and briskly darts through the 0-100km/h dash in 8-seconds, and onto a 205km/h maximum. Carrying a paltry 970kg mass, the lightweight Swift Sport is light on its feet and ever eager. Pulling confidently from down low and with assertive versatility in mid-range, the Swift Sport meanwhile progressiveluy accumulates power as it spins freely towards its rev limit. With light mass and small efficient engine, it meanwhile returns frugal 6.1l/100km combined fuel efficiency.

Eager agility

Driving the front wheels through a choice of standard 6-speed manual or optional 6-speed automatic gearbox with paddle-shifters, it is however the former that is the more fitting and immersive option when it comes to fully enjoying the small, eager and agile hot hatch action on offer. Shorter shifting than its predecessor the Swift Sport’s gear lever slips succinctly and satisfyingly through ratios. With a noticeably aggressive second gear ratio, the Swift Sport’s good gearbox is matched by a well-weighted and intuitive clutch biting point.

An eager and agile old school hot hatch at heart, regardless of its modern engineering and amenities, the lightweight Swift Sport rides on uncomplicated front MacPherson strut, and rear torsion beam suspension. Nimble and maneuverable, it tidily and crisply changes direction on a whim and corners on the proverbial dime, with the rear inside wheel going light when pushed towards its dynamic limits. Well-controlling body lean through successive corners, the Swift Sport’s chassis is responsive, alert and engagingly playful, while steering is light, quick and direct.

Alert and fluent

Highly maneuverable with its short wheelbase and light mass, the Swift Sport is reassuring through corners, but nevertheless willing to tighten cornering lines when asked. Riding slightly firm, its suspension is however fluent and forgiving for comfortable daily drive duties. Well-absorbing imperfections without wallowing, the Swift Sport rides with a settled yet alert quality, and is complemented by restrained 195/50R16 tyres that allow good road feel and precision, without being overly harsh or fragile. The Swift Sport’s brakes are meanwhile well-resilient to fade, owing to its low weight.

Well-packaged and upbeat inside, the Swift Sport makes use of limited real estate, and features good front space and cabin storage spaces. Practical with its five doors, it accommodates rear passengers reasonably well for its class, if not quite outright comfort, while boot volume expands from 242-litre to 918-litres, when rear seats are folded. Featuring an alert driving position with good visibility, supportively bolstered seats and tilt and reach steering adjustment, the Swift Sport meanwhile features red accents, flat-bottom steering wheel, USB-enabled infotainment system and six airbags.

Suzuki Swift Sport

Engine: 1.4-litre, turbocharged transverse 4-cylinders

Bore x stroke: 73 x 82mm

Compression: 9.9:1

Valve-train: 16-valve, DOHC, direct injection

Gearbox: 6-speed manual, front-wheel-drive

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 138 (140) [103] @5,500rpm

Specific power: 100.5BHP/litre

Power-to-weight: 142BHP/tonne

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 170 (230) @2,500-3,500rpm

Specific torque: 167.5Nm/litre

Torque-to-weight: 237Nm/tonne

0-100km/h: approximately 8-seconds

Top speed: 205km/h

Fuel consumption, combined: 6.1-litres/100km (estimate)

Fuel capacity: 37-litres

Length: 3,890mm

Width: 1,735mm

Height: 1,495mm

Wheelbase: 2,450mm

Tread, F/R: 1,510/1,515mm

Ground clearance: 120mm

Kerb weight: 970kg

Doors / seats: 4/5

Luggage volume, min/max: 242-/918-litres

Steering: Electric-assisted rack & pinion

Turning circle: 9.6-meters

Suspension: MacPherson struts / torsion beam, coil springs

Brakes, F/R: Ventilated discs / discs

Tyres: 195/50R16

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