Reader review | Uncomplicated fun: an amazing time with the new Suzuki Swift Sport

<i>Image: Warren Wilson</i>
<i>Image: Warren Wilson</i>
Warren Wilson

In 2018 I read an article on the Suzuki Swift Sport, confirming the car’s arrival to the South African market.

Owning a Suzuki Swift as my daily drive, I just knew I had to drive this car on all of my favourite Cape Town roads. And, I just so happened to stumble upon the opportunity.

REVIEW | The Suzuki Swift Sport is a magic box of tricks and so much fun to drive

The first thing I noticed when setting off in the new Swift Sport, was the amount of torque available. This was increased from 160Nm in the previous generation Swift Sport to 230Nm in this model. As a petrolhead, I remember thinking: "Damn, I should get a custom exhaust fitted now."

Of course I couldn’t do it with a vehicle belonging to the automaker, but if I was the proud owner this would be one of the first things I’d probably address. 

Those chrome tip dual tailpipes (which are real and huge) just doesn’t sing as loud as I thought it would as engine revolutions climb. Nothing wrong with some extra theatricals.

Suzuki Swift Sport black

                                                                       Image: Warren Wilson

That first drive. Not!

I was looking forward to taking my first proper drive in the Swift Sport, but Cape Town decided to shed some tears. Heavy rain, in traffic, on a Friday! There goes my first fun drive, I thought. Nonetheless, I knew that those tears would dry up and opted to rather familiarise myself with the Swift Sport’s interior.

Setting up my mobile device to the infotainment system was quite easy and connection happened seamlessly. Suzuki’s previous infotainment system was a bit of a schlep, so this was a welcomed addition.

This new system also does duty in other range-topping Suzuki models. The instrument cluster plays home to the boost gauge, G-meter, and power and torque gauge. It certainly adds to the sporty feel of the car. 

The next morning, bright and early, I took the Swift Sport on that run I couldn’t wait for. I opted for a road popular for its curvy and sweeping bends. What stood out immediately was the fact that the car felt like it is always in its sweet spot, as peak torque kicks in around 2500rpm and runs out at around 5000rpm, which means you’ll be constantly boostin’. 

And as we know, ''boost is life'.

suzuki swift sport

                                                                          Image: Warren Wilson

Fuel not a factor

En route to my next location for the day, I directed the car towards Franschhoek pass. I’d be piloting the new Swift Sport, while a friend would be piloting my previous-generation Swift. Hopefully we can fit in some time for a photo shoot, too!

At this point, there was a 73km gap between where we were and the wonderful views and twisty curves of Franschhoek pass. With the average fuel consumption for the new Swift Sport rated at only 6.1-litre/100km, there was little reason not to make the drive.

GALLERY | Suzuki Swift Sport

As soon as the Swift Sport’s 16-inch tyres touched the resurfaced Franschhoek pass, I knew we made a perfect choice. Suzuki’s new turbocharged 1.4-litre BoosterJet engine constantly felt ready for more, and thanks to the smooth-shifting six-speed manual gearbox, you are almost always in the right gear. This car has a solid grip!

What I appreciated about the drive, was that the car remained true to the feeling of being a Swift Sport. Same feeling, but a great, different experience.

On the peak of the mountain pass we stopped for a few snaps and a chat before making our way back to Cape Town. This was good.

Suzuki Swift Sport black

                                                                        Image: Warren Wilson

Lightness is key

We tend to believe that we need a lot of power in a car, and how power is usually the key defining attribute of warm/hot hatches. But with a solid, sporty suspension, and a low kerb weight, the dynamics will prove to be a lot more popular.

The engine’s 103kW and 230Nm always feels like enough. The South African version of the Suzuki Swift Sport is only available with the 16-inch wheels, no rear fog lights, and with no Lane Keep Assist and Lane Departure Warning, either.

But we welcome a specification list that, besides these absent features, still comes standard with Android Auto, Apple Carplay, Bluetooth, cruise control, sporty bucket seats (which Suzuki calls “tombstones”), LED head-and-taillights, and metallic paint (six colours as standard!).

On the price, Suzuki SA needed to be clever. Although we did not get all the features in our Swift Sport that the European and Japanese markets get, we still got a car with character and soul. For the manual we’re driving you will have to fork out R315 900, while the automatic will set you back R335 900.

The new Suzuki Swift Sport is a pure underdog in our market and it’s walking into a space where the previous generations have carved out a cult following.

The turbocharged engine makes a huge difference as to how the car performs and reacts, yet it has its own unique way of going about its business. And that, I believe, is what makes the car so special.

suzuki swift sport

                                                                        Image: Warren Wilson

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