From £17,999
The Japanese hot hatch is all grown up in terms of character, technology and price, but is it still a fun-loving kid at heart? We found out over six months

Why we ran it: To find out if the new, turbocharged Swift Sport still offers good, simple hot hatch fun that can compete with the best in class

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Life with a Suzuki Swift Sport: Month 6

Did its dynamic brio and simple charms compensate for its flaws over six months? - 5th December 2018

In recent years, Suzuki has hit a rich vein of form through an ability to engineer a rare trait into its models. It’s not a new suspension part, or a high-tech engine, or particularly sharp handling. It’s far more intangible than that: charm.

The restyled Suzuki Ignis has plenty of it. The new Suzuki Jimny is positively dripping in it. And, after six months or so running the new Swift Sport, I’m pleased to report it is also full of charm. Which is a very good thing.

Charm might sound a slightly twee quality for a hot hatch. Shouldn’t such cars appeal for their ability to exhilarate and thrill their way into your heart? Well, the Swift Sport can do that. But it does so by putting a broad smile on your face and winning you over through character, personality and enthusiasm.

Effectively, the Swift Sport’s charm enables it to play Jedi mind tricks to win you over. For both outright performance and perceived interior quality, it struggles to match up to the cream of the hot hatch class.

And when you drive it, you’ll quickly build up a fairly sizable list of foibles and irritations And yet, about five minutes after you’ve clambered out of the driver’s seat, any irritation is quickly replaced by warm thoughts of how fun and friendly this car is. That’s been the case since we first picked up the Suzuki from Dublin Airport and returned it to Autocar Towers via a circuitous route across some of the finest driving roads in Wales, the first of many journeys that were longer than strictly necessary.

By the time I drove the Swift off the ferry from Dublin to Holyhead, I already felt fully at home in the car and had a smile on my face. Part of the charm of the Swift Sport is its simplicity. There are no drive modes, so you don’t need to spend ages working through various suspension, engine and steering settings to hone it to your liking. It gives the car a slightly childish charm – and that’s meant as a compliment – that really fits the character you want a fun, effervescent hot hatch to have.

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Yet, underneath that charm, the Swift Sport is still a capable performance machine. The 1.4-litre turbo engine might not quite have the character of the previous Swift Sport’s naturally aspirated engine, but it sure gives a hefty whack of power and torque that makes tackling a flowing B-road thoroughly fun.

Unlike some ‘harder’ hot hatches, the Swift Sport strikes a happy medium between such B-road performance and everyday practicality. In particular, the ride and suspension are still enough to reward on faster roads, without making tootling on bumpy city streets too much of a hardship. And its small size and balanced steering make tight manoeuvring a cinch.

The Swift Sport also seemed to put a smile on the face of others, judging by the number of second glances it received. Mind you, I suspect that was largely due to our car’s Canary Yellow paint. Frankly, it’s a colour I could never see myself choosing, no matter how brave I was feeling, but I grew to quite like it. It really fitted with the car’s character. And it made the car easy to find in a busy car park.

Still, I can’t pretend that the Swift Sport is perfect. As noted, it was easy to develop a fairly long list of gripes. Both the ride and cabin noise could irritate at motorway speed, and the small fuel tank meant you tended to fill up within 300 miles of the last stop, not least because the fuel range calculator was incredibly inaccurate.

There was a slightly flimsy plastic panel on the transmission tunnel that we kept catching with our feet (I ripped it off once while doing so) and the reversing camera seemed to suffer from dirt and grime more than rivals’. The infotainment system and touchscreen were okay but couldn’t live up to the standards of some rivals. We also had a short-lived but annoying tyre pressure sensor issue, although this seemed related to the sharp drop in temperature at the end of the summer.

All minor gripes, but the sort of things that begin to add up – especially when you compare the Swift Sport with its rivals. At £16,999 (there’s currently a £1000 discount off the official list price), it’s pricier than a VW Up GTI and relatively close to the entry-level VW Polo GTI and class-leading Ford Fiesta ST.

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But here’s the thing: the Swift Sport isn’t a car you’d necessarily buy based on some careful calculations, but because it’s charmed you into submission. If the Fiesta ST and Polo GTI are the small hot hatch equivalents of the Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport video games, the Swift Sport is Super Mario Kart – although, no, you can’t fire banana skins from the Suzuki’s exhaust (a job for the facelift, surely).

Instead, while it might not have the depth, outright performance or sheer polish of its rivals, it makes up for that with a primary-coloured burst of character and, yes, charm – but underpinned by an engaging drive. It’s a hot hatch that is serious about performance, but remembers that this is a type of car that, above all else, should be fun.

Which raises another question: over the course of a few months, would I trade some of the Swift Sport’s fizzy character for greater all-round polish? Would I switch the Suzuki for a hot hatch that’s a bit more serious but refined, like, say, the Polo GTI? Good question – and one I’ll be answering very soon…

Second Opinion

The Swift Sport’s underdog appeal meant I couldn’t help but root for it, even against more well-rounded rivals. You don’t have to look far to find its limitations – its built-to-a-budget interior and the pricing – but it was entertaining in a way that many more focused hot hatchbacks simply aren’t.

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Tom Morgan

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Love it:

HANDLING AND CORNERING Rewarding and engaging. Rarely did a potential detour along a flowing

FEEL THE TORQUE Turbo engine produced plenty of fun torque, even if the sound it produced was a little disappointing.

CANARY YELLOW PAINT Luminous yellow is a ridiculous, garish and stupid colour for a car – and yet the Swift Sport pulled it off.

Loathe it:

FUEL MILEAGE CALCULATOR So unpredictable you couldn’t rely on it, although it at least provided amusement at trying to figure out.

CRUISING REFINEMENT The cabin could be on the noisy side at cruising speed and the ride wasn’t best suited to motorways.

Final mileage: 8360

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Life with a Suzuki Swift Sport: Month 5

LEDs light the way - 21 November 2018

Autumnal dark nights have given me a new appreciation for the Suzuki’s brightness – and, in this case, I’m not talking about the Canary Yellow paint but the full LED headlights. It’s good to see such features increasingly working their way down to small cars. It also means I can see as clearly down the road as other cars can see me coming.

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Mileage: 7997

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After a series of glowing testimonies, our hatch comes under cross-examination - 24th October 2018

We’ve racked up thousands of fun miles during four-and-a-bit months in our banana-hued pocket rocket. The Swift Sport has thus far been very easy to rub along with, but these updates would be dull if we said we liked everything about every car.

So if I’m being particularly niggly, I’m not sold on the three-dial arrangement for controlling the climate system. Well, I refer to it as ‘three-dial’, except the middle one isn’t a dial. It is merely a screen for showing your climate settings that happens to look and feel identical to the rotary dials (for the blower speed and temperature) either side of it.

This quirk finally sunk in after I’d fumbled to adjust the temperature via the immovable central ‘dial’ for the umpteenth time. Problem is, when you’re on the move and want to adjust the temperature, you want the operation to be so instinctive that you don’t need to avert your eyes from the road.

Elsewhere, there are areas where I feel Suzuki has gone a bit too far in its mission to apply traditional hot hatch tropes to the Swift. Is it laid down in some arcane law, for example, that every sporting car must have red-hued instruments? And does the circumference of the analogue tachometer really need to have graduated measurements denoting each 50rpm? Can the most eagle-eyed of warm hatch enthusiasts distinguish the difference between 2150rpm and 2200rpm while on the move?

On an upbeat note, the low tyre pressure alert that caught the attention of resident owner James Attwood in recent weeks didn’t rear its head during my time in the car, so it looks likely that the system was simply crying wolf.

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One beep I wish I’d heard was that of a reverse parking sensor. I recently engaged ‘numpty mode’ and backed the car into a barrier in the Autocar multi-storey car park. Fortunately, the barrier was made of wood, not unyielding concrete or steel, and the Swift Sport escaped without a mark.

In my defence, your honour, it was the absence of parking sensors on the Swift Sport that confused me. It seems a surprising and notable absence, even on a small car, although Suzuki would justify the decision by pointing to the reversing camera that’s included as standard.

That would have been useful in this instance if I’d remembered there was one. Besides, the view from said camera isn’t very good, because it is deeply recessed above the rear numberplate and gets obscured by muck easily.

That said, Attwood says the Swift Sport is so small that he’s never missed the sensors. And, of course, none of these quibbles would make or break a Swift Sport sale.

The car’s appeal as an involving, cheerful warm hatch means such trifling foibles won’t even warrant a second thought for many. The enjoyment from taking to a flowing B-road, and the Swift Sport’s inbuilt and infectious charm, means that such issues fade from the memory quite quickly.

Indeed, the very fact we’ve had to dig so deep to unearth anything untoward about the Swift Sport is a glowing testament to its strengths as a fun hatch.

Love it:

LARGE STEERING WHEEL Purposeful and devoid of any ‘a tiny wheel gives you more feel’ nonsense.

Loathe it:

MOTORWAY COMFORT As fun as it is on B-roads, it can be tiresomely noisy and harsh on longer schleps.

Mileage: 6744

Matt Burt

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Life with a Suzuki Swift Sport: Month 4

Troublesome tyre pressures - 3rd October 2018

The fun of driving the Swift Sport has been slightly offset by the recurring appearance of a low tyre pressure warning. We’ve checked the tyres and pumped them up to the recommended levels, but the system still intermittently signals a problem, despite the front tyre in question being fully inflated. We suspect a faulty sensor.

Mileage: 6162

Lt suzuki swift sport

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Shining like a beacon in the dark - 12th September 2018

Here’s a thought for Euro NCAP: give brightly coloured cars bonus safety marks. Driving on the M5 in Somerset in a torrential downpour recently, I witnessed several near-misses, as various grey, silver and white cars nearly swiped similar vehicles hidden in the spray and gloom. Nobody seemed unable to spot our Champion Yellow Swift.

Mileage: 5327

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Some show a keen interest in our pocket rocket, but others give it a wide berth - 29th August 2018

The owner of the Bentley Continental GT wasn’t taking any chances. To the chagrin of the car park official at Rockingham Motor Speedway trying to make the most efficient use of space, he left a huge gap between his car and my Suzuki Swift Sport.

It was, he assured me, nothing personal. He’d only taken delivery of the car three days earlier and was taking absolutely no chances. In return, I assured him that I had no desire to swing a car door into the side of his fresh Bentley. But, frankly, I couldn’t blame him for doing everything in his power to ensure he didn’t get a Champion Yellow-tinged ding in one of his doors.

Still, while his caution was entirely understandable, I did briefly wonder if his giving me a quite literal wide berth might have been down to a spot of stereotyping of me as a slightly carefree hot hatch hooligan. Upon seeing our Suzuki’s beefy bodywork, dual exhausts and ‘vibrant’ paint, I’d wager a regular British Touring Car Championship race attendee would quickly recognise that ‘my’ Suzuki is a Swift Sport, and not its more sedate, non-sporting Swift sibling.

That encounter with a Bentley owner contrasted sharply with one I had with a neighbour the other day. He’d seen the Suzuki parked in the street a few times – let’s be honest, it’s hard to miss – and when he saw me getting out of it one evening he was keen to know what I made of it. After all, he said, one of his family had owned an older Swift and thought it made an excellent, economical city runabout. Although, he added, he thought mine was a bold choice of colour. I tried to explain what the Sport bit of the badge entailed. I’m not quite sure he got it.

Suzuki car park

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Still, part of the charm of the previous Swift Sport was that it was a hot hatch for those ‘in the know’, and my experiences suggest that under-the-radar appeal has carried over into this new one. While there are plenty of visual cues that it isn’t a standard Swift, the difference isn’t as marked as, say, the contrast between a Honda Civic and a Civic Type R.

But spend any time in the two and there really is no mistaking. Shortly before collecting our Swift Sport, I spent a week or so driving the standard Suzuki Swift. Although they look similar – especially inside, where only some upholstery trim and minor design flashes split the two – the difference really is both substantial and remarkable.

The SZ5 Swift I was driving uses Suzuki’s 1.0-litre turbocharged mild hybrid petrol engine. It’s a quiet and frugal unit yet peppy enough for motorways and faster roads. And the Swift itself featured the sort of light steering and smooth ride you’d want from a supermini. My neighbour will be pleased to know it does indeed make for an excellent, economical city runabout – although you can’t buy one in Champion Yellow.

The Swift Sport uses a 1.4-litre turbo, so when you step into it you’re expecting the extra whack of performance (although a bit of extra noise to go with it would be nice). But the time and money Suzuki’s engineers saved by not giving the Swift Sport a more substantial design makeover has been well spent working on the car’s chassis. The steering is heavier, the suspension firmer and the handling is pure well-honed hot hatch.

There are a few areas where you notice a compromise in the conversion from Swift to Swift Sport. One is the common seating position, which is a little lofty for a hot hatch. The other is the 37-litre fuel tank they share. That’s sufficient for the Swift, which does a claimed 62.7mpg, but you’ll struggle to get 300 miles out of a full tank in the Swift Sport.

Still, one of the reasons I’m visiting the filling station more often is how much fun I’m having getting through that fuel. The fact not everyone recognises what I’m driving makes it even more enjoyable.

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Suzuki engine

Love it:

A SHOW OF FORCE A g-force meter on the instrument panel is an oddity in a standard Swift but adds to the fun of driving the Swift Sport on flowing roads.

Loathe it:

CUP HOLDERS Another standard Swift holdover, they remain a little too small and too close together to cope with some drinks receptacles.

Mileage: 4828

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Life with a Suzuki Swift Sport: Month 3

Unexpected trim panel removal - 15th August 2018

The positioning of the Swift Sport’s pedals means that I frequently catch my left foot on a plastic panel on the side of the transmission tunnel when I’m getting out of the car. That finally resulted in me knocking off the entire panel. It clipped back into place easily enough, and perhaps my unwieldy lower limbs are partly to blame, but it’s not something you’d expect to happen in a rival.

Suzuki swift sport longterm loose trim

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Mileage: 4497

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It didn’t get to tackle the hill, but our Swift still impressed on its Goodwood excursion - 1st August 2018

Given its predecessor’s well-earned reputation as a hot supermini that flew under many buyers’ radars, there was plenty of interest from Autocar’s staffers in a stint behind the wheel of the Swift Sport.

Somehow, I made it to the front of the queue and have been responsible for a significant portion of our car’s 4053 covered miles. A lot of that distance was spent in stop-start traffic on my cross-London commute, which revealed little, other than a gearshift that wasn’t as precise or satisfying as I’d like. Considering the responsive steering and an eagerness to surge forward at every set of traffic lights with even mild encouragement from my right foot, the vagueness of the six-speed ’box felt a bit out of place.

To experience the Sport as intended, I made sure the journey to this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed used a more engaging route – and the Swift didn’t disappoint. There’s more than enough grunt from the 1.4-litre engine to entertain without having to eke out every last rev between shifts as you race through the gears.

It was how the power is delivered that impressed me the most, the turbocharger providing a welcome punch of mid-range torque to propel the Sport forward in whichever direction I pointed it. The thing is, this is the kind of car that feels equally rewarding at a slower pace.

Whereas a more potent hot hatch reveals only a portion of its potential at road-legal speeds, I didn’t need to be on the limit for the Swift to impress. Although the steering might be unnaturally heavy for something only a little larger than a supermarket shopping trolley, the Sport still comes alive in the bends. There’s enough grip to let you carry momentum through corners at a pace that larger, heavier hot hatches would struggle to match and the engine is peppy enough to propel you out the other side.


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When I arrived at the Festival of Speed, Goodwood’s usually luscious green surroundings had turned an arid yellow on account of July’s heatwave, so naturally the Champion Yellow Swift looked right at home. The car parks might have been filled with more expensive metal, but the aggressive styling and impossible-to-ignore paintwork still drew plenty of attention – even once it was caked with four days of accumulated grime from the campsite-turned-dustbowl.

The Sport’s fuel economy resolutely refused to dip below 40mpg, no matter how hard I pushed it, which made that particular part of the digital instrument cluster a bit redundant. Happily, it can be switched out for a pair of grin-inducing bar graphs showing how much power and torque you’re wringing out of the engine at any moment, or how much boost the turbocharger is producing.

This is, of course, the first Swift Sport to use forced induction – and, dials aside, I get the impression it’s a bit embarrassed to admit as much, with little in the way of aural feedback. A part of me wishes Suzuki had added some turbine whistle to truly embrace the turbo. That would have livened up an otherwise plain-sounding engine note.

The induction whoosh and venomous rumble of our recently departed long-term Hyundai i30 N left a much more positive impression when I borrowed it for a few days, even if it is artificially piped into the cabin. On the other hand, a rorty blow-off valve would probably be a step too far for the Swift, which felt equally comfortable being used as a daily driver as it did on the limit.

It was only the final part of my journey home after the Festival, on a truly terrible piece of northbound M25, that I wished the Swift had a slightly softer, more pliant ride. The Sport’s seats might be comfortable for long-distance drives, but not when the suspension is trying (and failing) to soak up the Tarmac equivalent of a Toblerone bar.

Tom morgan

Love it:

CRUISING ALONG There’s no shortage of tech inside the cabin and adaptive cruise control is a highlight, making motorway journeys a breeze.

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Loathe it:

AMBIGUOUS ESTIMATES Estimated fuel economy might be optimistic, but the indicated remaining range quickly tumbles once you drop below half a tank.


Mileage: 4053

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Life with a Suzuki Swift Sport: Month 2

Solving a button mystery - 4th July 2018

The Swift Sport’s boot has two buttons on. As you’d expect, one opens the boot. The purpose of the other was a mystery to us for some time. (Yes, we could have looked in the manual, but where’s the fun in that?) Until, almost by accident, I discovered it locks the car. Genius: grab stuff from the boot, shut it and lock the car, with no need to dig out the keys from your pocket.

Mileage: 3567

Suzuki swift sport boot buttons

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Now, where did we park the car? If only there were an easy way to spot it. Oh, wait… - 20th June 2018

There are plenty of things to talk about regarding our Suzuki Swift Sport. How it drives, how it rides, what the engine’s like – that sort of thing. You know, the stuff that actually matters when considering the experience of driving one of the new kids on the hot hatch block.

And yet all pretty much everyone who has seen our Swift Sport wants to talk to me about is something that is entirely superficial: the colour.

Now, a car’s paint job shouldn’t really matter, yet it is what everyone asks about. So, by popular demand, let’s start there. In the brochure, it’s described as Champion Yellow. In the real world, it has been variously described to me as ‘bright’, ‘vivid’, ‘distinctive’, ‘lurid’ and, erm, ‘wow’.

Someone who works elsewhere in the media empire that publishes Autocar and who followed me into our ultra-glamorous multistorey car park the other day said she was relieved to find out I hadn’t paid out my own cash for it, because she would have worried for anyone who had chosen that shade of yellow.

Before I collected our Swift Sport, Champion Yellow wouldn’t have been my choice, were I buying one. I’m not a showy or flashy person by nature and I’d probably have plumped for one of the five other somewhat less ‘vibrant’ options. But the thing is… the yellow has grown on me. Quite a lot.

For a start, I’m spending a lot less time wandering around car parks trying to find it. This was illustrated recently when, after a flight delay, I trudged into one of Heathrow’s big parking lots at just gone midnight, tiredness causing me to forget exactly where I’d parked. I soon found it.

Suzuki swift sport longterm review car park

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It’s also harder for drivers of cars that cut me up at junctions to do that ‘oh, sorry, didn’t see you’ wave as they sweep across my brow. Yes, you saw me. I know you did.

But, mostly, the Champion Yellow paint job has grown on me because it’s well suited to the Swift Sport’s character: bright, breezy, fun and not too serious. The bright hue shows up the Sport’s bodywork tweaks over the regular Swift, and because this colour isn’t an option on the standard car, it means there’s little doubt I’m driving a hot hatch, not a city runabout.

In my short time with the Swift Sport so far, I’ve revelled in its relative simplicity. Many modern hot hatches can be rewarding and engaging to drive but, as with some modern smartphones and the like, they can be quite tedious to set up. Having to wade through various drive mode options and fiddle with settings before you can really enjoy driving a hot hatch can detract from the experience.

The Swift Sport, though, doesn’t have any drive modes. It’s not that sort of hot hatch. Instead, it’s straight to the point: zippy to drive, sharp to respond. That was made clear by my first experience of the car – a road trip from Dublin to Twickenham, you may recall – but the real benefit of that has shown itself now I’m using the Swift Sport largely for my daily urban commute.

It isn’t so concerned with being ‘hot’ that it’s overly stiff and uncomfortable on such roads. It’s not as pliant in soaking up bumps as a regular Suzuki Swift, but it doesn’t feel that daily usage has been compromised to make it perform on flowing roads. In that sense, it’s just like the Champion Yellow paint job: it might not be a colour you’d choose for your everyday motor, but it doesn’t take long to adjust to it. Besides, I’ll leave the last word to my five-year-old nephew.

When I showed him the Swift Sport for the first time, his eyes lit up, and he pronounced it “super-cool”. That’s good enough for me.

Love it:

TORQUE ABOUT IT The turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine gives the Swift Sport plenty of pep when you need it, without ever being brutal.

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Loathe it:

SLOW SAT-NAV START-UP It takes an age to lock in its location when you first turn the car on, which is at odds with a car that’s otherwise so quick to get started in.

Mileage: 2483

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Not quite range anxiety, but the Swift lacks fuel capacity - 13th June 2018

As with standard versions, the Swift Sport has a 37-litre fuel tank – but it seems smaller. The regular Suzuki Swift’s mild-hybrid-boosted engines give you a decent fuel range, but the bigger, 1.4-litre turbo in the Swift Sport requires frequent fill-ups. Thankfully, though, the 300 or so miles of driving you get between stops are proving very enjoyable.

Mileage: 2427

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Suzuki swift sport longterm review ja driving

Life with a Suzuki Swift Sport: Month 1

Welcoming the Swift Sport to the fleet - 30 May 2018

Turns out that patience isn’t always a virtue. Or, to subvert another cliché, sometimes good things come to those who don’t wait. And proof of that, currently parked outside Autocar Towers, is small, fun and very, very yellow.

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That’d be our new Suzuki Swift Sport, then. We’ve been asking (well, pestering) Suzuki for one for our test fleet since our first, brief taste of the hot hatch in Japan last year. Eventually, and possibly just to keep us quiet, Suzuki offered to deliver one to us near the end of May. But they also casually mentioned that, if we fancied getting one nearly a month earlier, we could.

The catch: we’d have to pick it up from an event they were running - in Dublin. So we’d have to fly to Dublin, collect the Swift Sport, catch a ferry to Holyhead and then drive the 300 or so miles back to Autocar’s Twickenham base.

Catch? That’s not a catch. More like a kid being told they can have their Christmas present early and then given the chance to play with it for hours. After all, what better way to learn about a new car than with an extended road trip spanning urban driving, motorway mileage and, via a short but brilliant detour, some of the finest driving roads in Wales?

As an aside, our lack of patience wasn’t even tested when it came to speccing the Swift Sport: there aren’t any options to consider. Every car gets a six-speed manual ’box, specially tuned exhaust, LED headlights, 17in alloys and the distinctive Sport body kit. Inside, there’s air-conditioning, a leather steering wheel, a colour touchscreen and driver assistance systems such as forward detection, lane departure correction and adaptive cruise control.

Our only choice concerned the colour. We went for Champion Yellow, largely because I have fond memories of similarly hued Ignis and Swift Sport rally cars from a decade ago.

13 Suzuki swift sport lt review atters collecting keys

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The opportunity to do such varied mileage is a key part of the reason we wanted the Swift Sport on our fleet. Previous versions have quietly become cult favourite hot hatches, because they were simple, small, fuss-free and fun. Or, as we described it in our review, a “pleasingly old-fashioned little bundle of joy”.

Success creates expectation – and so our hopes for this new Swift Sport have duly been raised. In addition, Suzuki hasn’t simply updated its hot hatch with a new look and minor tweaks: there are some substantive changes under the bonnet.

Suzuki has replaced the peppy 134bhp 1.6-litre naturally aspirated engine from the old Swift Sport with a 138bhp 1.4-litre turbocharged motor. That means the car has more torque – 170lb ft compared with 110lb ft – but, according to our first drive recently, perhaps a bit less character.

That first review did highlight some cause for concern, as reflected by its three-star score. While our testers still judged the Swift Sport “a fine little driver’s car”, there were furrowed brows over the price: it’s been hiked to £17,999 (albeit discounted to £16,499 until the end of June 2018). Now that’s expectation raising – it’s four grand more than a Volkswagen Up GTI, for starters.

Still, like any kid unwrapping a shiny new toy, I wasn’t really thinking about the price when I collected the keys at Dublin Airport. All I wanted to do was try it out. With not enough time before the ferry to find some fun Irish roads, I settled for a trip to Phoenix Park, largely so I could drive a bit of the classic street circuit (albeit very slowly).

That seemed a great idea, until it was time to head to the ferry terminal. The two were only split by six or so miles – except it was six miles right through the centre of Dublin, in ridiculously heavy traffic. That wasn’t good for my nerves but was a useful test of the Swift Sport’s abilities in stop-start urban driving.

Unlike some hardcore hot hatches, and without the use of any drive modes, the Swift Sport is capable of doing a more than passable impression of a non-sporting Suzuki Swift, which helped ease my attempts to manoeuvre my way out of near-gridlocked traffic on a succession of bumpy back streets.

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Having made it to the ferry terminal in the nick of time, the jaunt across the Irish Sea was a chance to relieve the stress of city driving and mentally prepare to exploit our new Swift in full Sport guise on my planned route from Anglesey to an overnight halt in Shrewsbury.

The trip proved that although the Swift Sport might have grown up and become a little more serious, it’s still capable of entertaining with a responsive, reactive and just plain fun drive. As first impressions go, it was hugely positive and it’s whetted my appetite for more time with the Swift Sport on some of the UK’s finer flowing A and B-roads.

It’s worth noting that it didn’t disgrace itself the following day, when the final part of the journey took in the motorways of Britain, when I set off from Shrewsbury to Twickenham with a mild detour via Bristol (it made sense at the time).



I arrived back at Autocar HQ after a long weekend of getting to know the Swift Sport keen to spend more time in it. One first impression: it remains good, simple fun, yet is also a hot hatch that should settle in nicely as a daily driver. Of course, it’s always fun being allowed to open your presents early.

The question will be whether they’ll still feel shiny and exciting a few months down the road. At some point, too, the question of value will come into play and we’ll have to consider that £17,999 price – and the similarly priced elephant in the room that is the new Ford Fiesta ST.

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Still, that’s for the months ahead. Right now, I’m after an excuse for another Swift Sport road trip.

Second opinion

Past Swift Sports have, in my opinion, offered as much pep and performance as you need to drive spiritedly but safely on Britain’s roads. The balance between everyday usability and sports tuning has always seemed spot on and the early signs are this latest version gets it right too.

Matt Burt

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Suzuki Swift Sport specification

Prices: List price new £17,999 List price now £17,999 Price as tested £17,999 Dealer value now £12,700 Private value now £11,290 Trade value now £11,695 (part exchange)

Options: none

Fuel consumption and range: Claimed economy 47.1mpg Fuel tank 37 litres Test average 43.9mpg Test best 47.9mpg Test worst 29.3mpg Real-world range 357 miles

Tech highlights: 0-62mph 8.1sec Top speed 130mph Engine 4 cylinder, 1373cc, turbocharged petrol Max power 138bhp at 5500rpm Max torque 170lb ft at 2500-3500rpm Transmission six-speed manual Boot capacity 265 litres Wheels 17in, alloy Tyres Continental 195/45 R17 Kerb weight 975kg

Service and running costs: Contract hire rate £199 CO2 125g/km Service costs None Other costs None Fuel costs £984.85 Running costs inc fuel £984.85 Cost per mile 13 pence Depreciation £6306 Cost per mile inc dep’n 95 pence Faults Loose interior trim

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9 Suzuki swift sport lt review cabin

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James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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xxxx 20 December 2018


Thankyou, in case anyone wants to use the above companies email address for PPI etc contacts it's:

ianp55 22 October 2018

Suzuki Swift Sport

My Swift Sport is going well no problems yet,got 47mpg on a long run but has now shrunk back to 46-5mpg after some horter runs. Agree with you the sat-nav is not that great but I don't need to use it that often,about tyre pressure I've been inflating them to 35psi all round is this right/

Peter Cavellini 9 October 2018


 Eh nope, what are Suzuki playing at?, surely they could design or buy in an engine with at least 200bhp!, this Car is screaming out for more power! , this has shopper power......

Luap 22 October 2018

Peter Cavellini wrote:

Peter Cavellini wrote:

 Eh nope, what are Suzuki playing at?, surely they could design or buy in an engine with at least 200bhp!, this Car is screaming out for more power! , this has shopper power......


Are you going to be an inane prat all your life?