The world needs cars like the Suzuki Swift Sport and here at Wheels24 we've been waiting for a long time for the sportiest version of the Swift to arrive, especially since it's now powered by a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine.
It represented a form of motoring that we love - good driving fun without a stratospheric price tag. And talking about money, the new Sport retails for R315 900 for the manual version while the automatic costs R335 900.
So the new Swift Sport has a new engine?
Yep, gone is the old 1.6-litre normally-aspirated powertrain and in comes a smaller cubic capacity 1.4-litre Boosterjet engine producing 103kW and 230Nm. Power has only increased by 3kW while the torque figure sees a more substantial 70Nm more.
When it comes to the little Swift's weight, the Japanese automaker says the new car has a kerb weight of 970kg. Suzuki were at pains to mention that the combination of low weight and over 100kW translates into a power/weight ratio of just over 106kW per tonne. Mightily impressive.
Enthusiasts will want to know the claimed 0-100km/h sprint time is eight seconds dead and it'll run out of puff at 205km/h. And for 2019, the fourth generation can be had with a six-speed automatic derivative with paddle shifts (It's a conventional torque converter and not a dual-clutch gearbox).
What's it like to drive?
Our time in the Swift Sport was spent exclusively at Red Star Raceway in Gauteng and it's on track where the new engine shows how there is no need to wring its neck to extract power but ride on the lovely fat dollop of torque.
The tight twisty circuit at Red Star might evoke visions of hectic down changes and harsh throttle inputs, in fact the quickest way around the circuit was maintaining fourth gear and reducing the distance of track one actually needs to get around.
We used the manual versions only and while I wasn't convinced by the lightness of the steering it was immediately clear that the Swift Sport is still a helluva fun car to chuck around.
Going into a corner too quickly? Not too worry as a quick lift off the throttle settles the car and a smiling emoji takes over your face, it's such fun to drive and I can foresee it being one of the best ways to get from A to B. The lack of weight and good front end grip makes it so easy to slice through corners around Redstar.
My stint in the automatic derivative was limited to a gymkhana exercise that lasted around 45 seconds in the car in four different stints, not a particularly ideal way to get to grips with the new transmission. Changing via the paddles felt quick and it can be argued that the auto version can only unlock more fans to the Swift Sport family.
Is it worth it?
When it comes to features, the Swift Sport features subtle sporty overtones including stainless steel sport pedals and special semi-bucket seats, while niceties such as fully automatic climate control, speed-sensitive power steering, electrically foldable rear-view mirrors and all-round electric windows are standard.
The model also features the firm's new 17cm touchscreen with accessibility to Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a reverse camera, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, steering mounted controls and cruise control.
All images: Supplied
Included in the price tag are a four-year or 60 000km service plan and a five-year or 200 000km vehicle warranty.
First impressions of the Swift Sport are good, it's more powerful, still good to look at and hasn't lost almost of any of its charm. Yes, the world needs more cars like this little Japanese supermini.