They say when you think about something a lot, you end up dreaming about it at night.
While I had my fair share of thinking what it would be like to spend a night with Sophia Vergara or becoming the white Power Ranger as a teenager, there was one particular memory that refused to go away: getting the girl of my dreams and having that first kiss. This car was about to take me back to that memory.
A Swift love affair
It was a case of being in the right place at the right time. I received a call that the new Suzuki Swift Sport was being dropped off at the Wheels24 office at the time. Boasting a genuinely eye-catching Champion yellow paint job and mean-looking LED daytime running lights, it never looks in the mood to mess about. On the contrary, I was told 'die karrentjie is gif (this little car is potent)'. I thought to myself: how? - it only pushes out 103kW.
That phrase kept running through my mind and I was getting restless in waiting for the day to end so I could feel this 'gif' for myself. The clock stuck 15:30 and I headed off to, unaware at the time, what would keep me coming back for more.
We live in a world where forced induction, most commonly on smaller engines, is becoming the norm. Suzuki already has a wide model range of small capacity, fuel-efficient offerings, but it is in the Swift where the buck alters from the norm.
Image: Warren Wilson
Not only has the current-generation model downgraded its engine size from 1.6- to 1.4-litres, it is the first to make use of a turbocharger, mated to a four-cylinder Boosterjet engine. It is also the very same engine used in Suzuki's Vitara Turbo.
In comparison to the predecessor, power delivery is pretty much the same but it is in the torque where the magic really happens - thanks to its turbo engine.
Right, onto the drive
You are lulled into a false sense of security upon start-up as a mild burble on the exhaust tickles your ears, while the sport seats, also known as 'tombstones', holds you tighter than your first love. Intricate red seat stitching and tinges of red on the instrument cluster, dashboard, and centre console lets you know its not the base 1.4 model.
Image: Warren Wilson
Acceleration can be felt as quickly as 2300rpm and this it is where the turbo really shows its good side. It goes like stink off the line through first, second, and third gear up to fourth, but its lack of displacement catches up to it eventually as the turbo runs out of steam towards top-end speed. The car weighs just 970kg and you feel it in the drive with responsive steering, and stiffer suspension.
This model which we had tested, priced from R317 900, had the six-speed manual option which is a treat for purists like myself but for an extra R20 000 you can go for the automatic option. This had me thinking how that auto 'box would perform here.
There is plenty of fun to be had when playing with the throttle because 103kW never felt so good. Everything from the 16-inch wheels to the engine and chassis construction is why the car performs like it does. Engineers found the near-perfect formula of power and weight, using it to great effect when driven.
While there are other faster and more luxurious options on the market, the Swift Sport is a different type of fast. Yes, you could buy yourself a VW Polo GTI with DSG or Renault Clio Sport and have way more power, but on the other hand, you'll just be like all the thousands of Polo owners chasing Vrr-phaa.
Because everything on the car works in unison with one another, changing something can throw off the balance. The 16-inch wheels do the job but could be improved to suit the stance of the car. A bigger, more throaty exhaust won't hurt consumption figures that much, but who cares, this is a performance car!
For the price, it is the more rugged option. It has a multi-function steering wheel, LED lights, and a touchscreen infotainment system as its competitors but not as fancy. Just the way this car performs with relatively low power figures and how well-balanced it is will have me signing up for an extra debit order.
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