Suzuki Swift Sport five-door road test

  • Suzuki Swift Sport now with add five-door practicality
  • For £14,249 the latest Swift Sport is also a five-seater
  • Performance and driving experience unaltered

Few manufacturers cater for that small group of customers who don’t want to give up the thrill of driving a small hot hatchback yet require greater practicality due to the onset of family life. What will quickly become a well-regarded addition to the fray is the new Suzuki Swift Sport five-door.

Swift Sport with five-door practicality

Suzuki’s three-door Swift Sport was launched to instant acclaim in January 2012 and thankfully there’s been no tinkering with the recipe in the conversion to five-door format, a model that’s expected to make up to a third of this version’s sales.

Not only does your £500 additional outlay buy you a pair of extra doors, but the Sport also becomes a five-seater with the addition of a central three-point seatbelt. Be aware the gap between those seatbelt fastenings is narrow, requiring a Twiggy-like physique to make the most of it.

Demonstrating the firm's awareness of customer feedback, the Sport joins the rest of the range in having a rear parcel shelf that now lifts with the tailgate. It’s a minor addition that adds significantly to the car’s convenience. We noted this as a problem with a our long-term Suzuki Swift test car, so we're very glad it's been addressed.

While non-sporty Swifts have also received a mild visual makeover, the Sport with its unique bumpers, grille and lights looks the same as before - which is no bad thing. The introduction of a new ‘Boost Blue’ pearlescent paint is the only visual enhancement.

Swift Sport gets the option of two extras doors and new blue paint

Rewarding and fun to drive

Nestle into the comfortable and supportive driver’s seat, which offers a wide range of adjustment for an optimum driving position, and you immediately feel ready to enjoy the Swift Sport’s performance.

With 134bhp available at 6,900 rpm and 160Nm produced at 4,400 rpm from its 1.6-litre petrol engine, the Suzuki might not be a winning hand at Top Trumps but on the road, where it matters, the Swift Sport’s a genuine delight.

Its lightweight, nimble and joyously slick six-speed manual gearbox slots quickly and easily between ratios, meaning that this is a car which allows you to extract a lot of performance and enjoyment regardless of the outright speed you’re travelling at.

Keep it in towns and the Suzuki is the dutiful small hatchback, being easy to park with large door mirrors and good all-round viability. The controls feel light too, without any sense of being over-assisted.

Progress to a cross-country route and the Swift Sport excels, its balanced handling offering seasoned drivers a rewarding experience without feeling remotely daunting to those opting for a faster car for the first time.

Performance and economy figures match the existing model, planting the Swift Sport five-door in road tax band F with its 147g/km CO2 emissions rating. While a claimed average of 44.1mpg might sound like a small price to pay for a sportier hatchback, our spirited drive only mustered 38mpg, which would result in an inconveniencing real-world range of 351 miles between fill-ups.

Living with the Swift Sport

In order to keep the purchase price at a relatively low £14,249, there’s inevitably some cost-cutting in evidence, particularly inside the Swift Sport’s cabin. If you’ve recently prodded and poked some of the Suzuki’s pricier rivals you’ll have spotted soft-touch plastics and plush finishes, but what the interior of the Swift isn’t is cheap or nasty.

There’s an honesty about the materials used which don’t feel significantly under-par compared to rivals, and with fine build quality and a good level of standard equipment, it matters less.

Yes, the dashboard top might be shiny and reflective but you’re getting cruise control, automatic lights, Bluetooth telephone and audio streaming, keyless entry and start and climate control for your money. As gripes go, it’s a minor one.

Should you buy one?

Even with three doors it was an entertaining and appealing package but the latest Suzuki Swift Sport five-door remains a quick, engaging and affordable hatchback. Good build quality, high levels of equipment and a fine reliability record mean you’d be unwise to overlook the Swift Sport.

Also consider:

Renault Clio 1.2 TCe 120 GT-Line

A little slower than the Swift Sport but the five-door only body is larger and more practical. Looks the part and drives seriously well, but sticking point is the list price £3,000 higher than the Suzuki. That twin-clutch gearbox is great, though.

Skoda Fabia 1.2 TSI Monte Carlo

More show than go with just 104bhp on offer making it slower than the Swift Sport as well as being a little more expensive. Roomier body and greater fuel efficiency tick boxes though.

Abarth 500 1.4 T-Jet

Smaller and less practical with only with three doors, the fastest Fiat 500 is nevertheless similar to the Suzuki in terms of performance and price, while the cute looks are a huge draw.