Picking one’s wheels for the Christmas holidays is always a dilemma for us motoring journalists. Tough life, I know. This year’s decision was made easier for me by the arrival of a Suzuki Swift Sport, my long-term test car for the next few months.
We’ll introduce it properly in the magazine in the coming weeks, but it only took me about 100 yards of driving it to sense some very positive words will be written about the Swift Sport in its time at Autocar.
In many ways it reminds me of the Renaultsport Twingo. It’s a simple, lightweight warm hatch, with the emphasis on dynamic ability you can actually exploit, rather than showy looks and more power than it can handle.
While the Twingo just about shades the Swift in the handling department, the Swift will always get the nod from me, as its ride quality makes it so much more usable as an everyday proposition.
But best of all for me is the amount of power – 131bhp from a normally aspirated 1.6-litre engine – under the bonnet. As Matt Saunders said on the launch of the car in October, there are those – even some Suzuki engineers – that will want more poke.
But in a class populated with cars that have more power than their chassis can actually handle (Mini Cooper S, Fiat 500 Abarth etc), the Swift Sport is a classic case of less most definitely being more.
And if the Swift Sport’s figures sound familiar, the RS Twingo uses an engine of the same power, size and also without forced induction with similarly positive results.
Any other pocket rockets out there I should have my eye on for the 2012 Christmas holidays?