Road test: Suzuki Swift Sport
What is it?
This is the second version of a much-loved sporty hatchback – a car which uses an old-fashioned formula wrapped up in a modern package. The Swift Sport is the pinnacle of the Swift supermini range and is the Japanese firm's offering in the niche affordable hot hatchback market. It's very much a pocket rocket for very little money.
What's under the bonnet?
A fizzy and raspy normally-aspirated 1.6-litre petrol engine. Despite the car's diminutive size, the unit packs a keen 134bhp - up 13bhp over the old Swift Sport – and it gets to 60mph in 8.5 seconds. Top whack is 121mph while combined fuel consumption sits at 44.1mpg. CO2 emissions are 147g/km. New for this car is a six-speed manual gearbox which provides the best of both worlds, while its small size and high power means the Swift Sport is very reminiscent of the original VW Golf GTI and Peugeot 205 GTi.
What's the kit like?
Very reasonable. The cabin initially looks sober and dreary, but look closer and you'll see some nice detailing. There's a leather steering wheel and a leather covered handbrake lever all topped off with red stitching. Swift Sports come as standard with automatic air conditioning, fog lamps, push button start, cruise control, Bluetooth, projector headlamps with wash and rear privacy glass. The sporty ambience is topped off by a very comfy pair of sports seats. All of this costs a very affordable £13,499.
There are quite a few in fact. In terms of price, the Renaultsport Twingo 133 costs £13,565 and gives the Swift Sport a hard time in terms of driver fun. From Italy there's the Abarth 500 at £14,467 while Ford could sell you a Fiesta Zetec S for £14,700. The Swift Sport is the cheapest and is arguably the nicest to own.
Is it any good?
The Swift Sport is a real joy to drive. To get the most out of it, you need to really work the gearbox and keep the engine on song. The six-speed 'box is snappy, the steering is well-weighted and there's plenty of grip.
The AOL Cars verdict
£13,000 may sound like a lot for a Swift, but it's peanuts for entry into the hot hatchback sector. It's very reminiscent of what hatchbacks were like in the 1970s – cheap, practical and just damn good fun. Surprise, surprise – we can't rate it highly enough.
Model: Suzuki Swift Sport
Engine: 1.6-litre, petrol
Power: 134bhp, 160Nm
Max speed: 121mph
MPG (comb'd): 68.9