More nicely warmed through than really hot, but this well-sorted and likeable hatch is the best of its type.

What is it?

It’s the Suzuki Swift Sport - a Suzuki Swift (very good too), with a dose of Sportiness. Not too much, mind: this isn’t a GTi competitor, because that would be expensive and hard to insure. So it gets a 1.6-litre engine with 125bhp, 17-inch alloys, a 0-62mph time of 8.9sec and will cost near enough £11,500 when it goes on sale in October.

What’s it like?

Very nice, as it happens. The regular Swift’s a decent car: well built, looks good on the outside, is interesting and attractive inside. This Sport version just improves it for the keener driver. There’s a sweet gearbox (though 4th to 5th balks), good throttle response and a very progressive clutch, so the drivetrain is peachily smooth. And although it’s not fast, the Sport is reasonably brisk. The engine makes a decent noise at higher revs, too. All the more shame, then, that the pedals are hopelessly spaced for easy heel-and-toe downshifts. At pace, the steering is fairly weighty, with strong self-centring and slightly dull reactions, which is a pity given the rest of the controls are so positive. The Sport gets Monroe dampers and uprated springs and bushings. They tighten body control but, because the ride’s still respectable, there are more body movements than the keenest drivers will want. Still, the Swift Sport is agile and grips well. An ESP system has also been developed specifically for this derivative that allows a decent amount of slip angle before gently interfering.

Should I buy one?

If you’re thinking of buying a Citroën C2 VTR then yes, you should. This is better in just about every way. It’s also faster and cheaper than a Mini Cooper, though can’t match that car’s tactile appeal. And while it’s not the keenest drive, in terms of affordable small semi-sporting hatches, it’s the best there is.


Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

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sat 25 March 2008

Re: Suzuki Swift Sport

It’s the Suzuki Swift Sport - a Suzuki Swift (very good too), Damn right its good. Its a great looking car with an aggressive stance i bought minr in september last year in an open evening type thing for under £11k. Amazing, i thought. The only fault ive had so far is 2nd gear, maybe i was being too vigourous with it with the phenonmal acceleratioon through 2nd 3rd and 4th. It defineltly needs a sixth gear though as there's too much torque for the engine to handle. Apart from that it is truly a great car. Sat from Wednesbury.