Suzuki has just released their scorching Swift Sport into the South African market. Poised to take on current warm hatch favourites like the Fiat Panda 100HP and Renault Twingo Renaultsport, this three-door version of the firm’s pint-sized hatchback promises to deliver entertaining handling and spirited performance to those of us living on a shoestring budget. To tell you the truth I’ve been waiting a long time for this model to come our way and I’m really look forward to thrashing it along my favourite asphalt haunts sometime in July. Until then I’ll just have to pour over the many features that make it such an appealing little package in the first place. I thought you might you might be interested too, so, without further adieu, let’s take a look at what makes the Swift Sport, uh,well, sporty…
1: That Go-Faster Exterior:
Suzuki has gone through a lot of trouble to make their range-topping Swift look the business. Not only have they lost two doors in the process but they’ve also added a host of cosmetic add-ons to emphasize the Sport’s racy personality. Viewed from the front, the most noticeable feature is a deeper front bumper that features an integrated air-dam and a secondary air intake that’s been flanked by two round fog lamps. To make space for those large 17-inch alloys shod with Goodyear Eagle F1 195/45 R17 tyres, both the front and rear wheel-arches have been flared – a tweak that gives the Sport a much more purposeful stance over its lesser 1.5-liter brethren. Walk past the Sport’s rump and you’ll discover an equally radicle rear bumper; one that incorporates a faux honeycomb-mesh diffuser as well as a pair of big-bore stainless-steel exhaust pipes. Hopefully they sound as good as they look. Finishing things off is a chunky roof spoiler that’s been bolted to the top of the Suzuki’s rear hatch. All in all, and I think you’ll agree, the sum of all these visual mods help give the Swift a much-needed shot of street-smart attitude.
2: The Brawny 1.6 Engine:
It might not pack quite as much power or torque as the Twingo Renaultsport but with 92kW at 6800rpm and 148Nm at 4800rpm, the little Sport still comes loaded with plenty of oomph thanks to its 1.6-liter engine. Indeed, equipped with variable valve timing, you can expect the benchmark 0-100km/h dash to be dispatched in a tidy 8.9-seconds. Keep your foot planted to the firewall for long enough and you’ll top-out at a claimed maximum speed of 200km/h. Suzuki claims this free-revving four-cylinder mill achieves 7l/100km on the combined cycle and huffs out 165g of CO2 for every kilometer travelled, which should please those intent on saving the world’s dwindling polar bear populous. Just like it’s Renault rival, the Sport comes mated with a five-speed manual gearbox.
3: An Upgraded Chassis:
No slouch in a straight line, the Suzuki Sport should be equally pleasing to cane through the twisties thanks to its revised chassis set-up. Highlights include model-specific gas-filled Monroe shock absorbers, modified spring and damper rates as well as a re-calibrated electric power steering system for quicker response and better feel. Now while these tweaks may have a slightly negative effect on the Swifts’s normally complaint ride, you can be sure of some significantly improved handling.
4: A (slightly) More Aggressive Interior:
After having one on test last year I can tell you that the standard Swift interior is a rather anaemic place to spend time in. Luckily the new Sport ups the ante a little with a pair of sculpted front seats; a chunky red-stitched leather steering wheel and gear lever; stainless-steel foot pedals and special red inserts integrated into the door panels. Finishing things off are a host of aluminium-look plastic finishes encrusted in and around the dashboard. I’ll admit that this doesn’t sound like much on paper but in the end it does really does spruce up the Swift’s otherwise dull inner confines.
5: Those Value-Added Features:
Like most machines in the current Suzuki portfolio, the Sport comes equipped with an impressive array of standard features. Sat on the inside you’ll find a MP3 CD Front loader linked to satellite controls embedded in the steering wheel; electric windows and mirrors; fully automatic climate control; remote central locking and a dedicated on-board trip computer. In terms of safety you can expect no less than six airbags; seat-belts with front load limiters and pre-tensioners and all-disc ABS brakes with EBD and ESP stability control. Luckily the latter can be turned off – unlike in its more expensive Toyota Yaris TS rival – which should help the Swift Sport when it comes to rapid off-the-line getaways. Incidentally that 201-liter boot can be extended to 494-liters by folding down the rear seats.
No doubt an attractive proposition for those on the market for a small, punchy hatchback with sporting pretensions, the Suzuki Swift Sport will hit local showrooms in July at a recommended retail price of just R199 900. This includes the option of metallic paint as well as a four-year/60 000 km service plan and a three-year/100 000 km warranty.