Suzuki Swift Sport: Performance hatch joins the fleet

  • We take delivery of our newest long-term test car
  • Suzuki Swift Sport promises much entertainment
  • Will fuel economy and range become an issue?

I’m not exactly what you’d call a reserved, laid-back driver. In fact, that’s quite a way from the truth. I spend much of my free time whizzing around circuits, competing in my own little single-seat Formula Vee race car. My idea of fun is nailing a four-wheel drift at top speed and aiming my car at the next corner, hopefully passing a car or two in the process. For that reason, I was quite excited to learn that my new long-term test car was a sports-orientated version of the one I’d just given back.

The past few months have been spent getting to know and love the Suzuki Swift, and now the keys had been pried from my hands, replaced with the keys to a Suzuki Swift Sport.

Now, late last year I went on the international launch of the new Swift Sport in Barcelona. The old model was fantastic, and a bit of an unsung hero in the highly competitive hot hatch market. The main problem it suffered was a slight lack of refinement. It was a lot of fun, but a bit rough around the edges. The new model, however, is a totally different kettle of cod. It’s a far more composed car. The ride for instance isn’t anywhere near as unforgiving, and the interior is a lot more grown-up.

That doesn’t mean it’s less fun to drive though. The 1.6-litre petrol engine makes 136bhp and feeds power to the front wheels via a bespoke six-speed manual gearbox. It does feel slightly unresponsive lower down the rev range but when you dial things up a notch or two and begin taking the Sport by the scruff of the neck it’ll do 62mph from a standstill in just 8.7 seconds.

Also of note was how comfortable the Sport is compared to rivals. Thanks to relatively modest 17-inch alloys with fatter tyres, supportive and comfortable seats and a composed chassis, I concluded it’s a car you wouldn't mind spending a lot of time in. That should come in useful, since I’m doing rather a lot of miles right now. Over 1,000 miles a week, in fact.

Another important factor when doing that amount of miles is of course fuel economy. The Swift Sport claims to be capable of 44.1mpg on the combined cycle, but our experience suggests it’ll be significantly lower than that in real-world driving. Range is a concern, too. The Sport has a 42-litre fuel tank, so just how friendly am I going to have to get with the attendant at my local fuel pumps?

Still, I’m excited about the new motor. It’ll be interesting to see whether the B-roads of the UK prove to be as much fun as the excellent-quality roads in Spain – and of course it’ll be fun trying to get close to that mpg figure. I shall let you know how I get on…

Current mileage: 5,720

Average mpg: 35.71