Cheap & Very Cheerful – Suzuki Swift Sport (2008)
My memories of the previous model Suzuki Swift aren’t great. A friend owned an old one one back in my college days and to say that it was cheap and nasty would be an improvement to its image. The doors shut with a harsh clang, the interior was made of the thinnest and hardest plastic I’d seen in a car and the noise was painfully excessive. While the little engine loved to be thrashed you’d always stop short for fear of making your ears bleed again.
Suzuki Swift Sport Review
|Max Power:||123 bhp|
|Max Torque:||109 lb/ft|
|Max Speed:||124 mph|
So it’s great to see that Suzuki have made massive improvements on the current model. While its hardly going to challenge an Audi in terms of build quality it could certainly teach it a thing or two about value for money, and it’s light years ahead of its older brother in every respect. To top things off, the Suzuki Swift Sport also makes a great case for itself in the bargain hot hatch league.
Driving one recently made me realise just how much fun can be had for just under £12,000. With 123bhp from its 1586cc petrol engine you’re going to have to push it to risk losing your license, but while you’re trying you’ll be having a great time. With only 1,105kg to haul around the Swift Sport manages to run 0-62mph in only 8.9 seconds while the official economy figures say it can return 39.2mpg.
The chassis is great fun, keeping body roll in check and giving plenty of grip without being too harsh, and it responds well to your commands through the steering. The steering is a touch too light and robs the Swift of some of the more subtle signals from the front wheels but it is quick. Overall it’s an entertaining little car that begs to be chucked around on a quiet country lane.
The Swift Sport is a bit of a looker too, coming complete with 17″ wheels (yes, as standard, not an expensive option), twin exhausts, rear spoiler and fog lights, and either metallic paint (silver or black) or pearlescent red as standard. I’m torn between the black or the red for my own favourite, but the silver looks good too.
In fact this little car can teach the current class leader, the MINI Cooper, a thing or two. Although the Cooper accelerates faster (0-60mph in 8.2 seconds) and has the better chassis, it is considerably more expensive when you’ve added options to its miserly specification and the new 2007 styling makes the car look slightly lardy. Crash regulations have had a little to do with this, but the MINI looks even more like a caricature of the original Alec Issigonis design than ever.
On the other hand, the Swift’s design makes it look compact without being too soft, and it borrows a few of the more successful design cues from the MINI. Just look at those blacked out A-pillars … do they look familiar? Fancy a white painted roof or some bonnet stripes? They’re on the options list. But even though the Swift Sport may be a bit of a copycat, how many estate agents have you seen driving around in one with it covered head-to-toe in advertising?
The Suzuki Swift Sport isn’t just a bargain if you buy one brand new. A quick look on Autotrader found a few ’57′ plate examples with under 1.000 miles on the clock for less than £10 grand. That’s less than 6 months old and barely even run-in!
So is it worth buying one? Absolutely, as you get loads of standard equipment, an entertaining drive, Suzuki’s bulletproof mechanicals and a 3-year warranty. Insurance shouldn’t be too expensive as it falls into group 9, although road tax is a little high as the Swift’s 1.6-litre engine falls into band E. This means that until April ’08 it will cost you £165 for the year and after that it’ll cost £170.
The Suzuki Swift Sport is a fun little car that will put a smile on your face without hurting your bank balance. Is it the hot hatch bargain of the century? Yes, I think it just might be.
* Prices taken from Suzuki website, October 2008