R O’Neil purchased this Suzuki Swift new for $32,000 (including all on-road costs). R O’Neil would buy this car again because: “It’s fast (enough), fun and frugal. The Swift Sport doesn’t take itself too seriously, and as a result offers enough real-world performance to be fun and engaging at normal speeds. It’s a hot-hatch that harks back to the good ol’ days.”
10,000km and one service in, the Swift has been dead reliable. It hasn’t used a drop of oil and has only needed fuel in the tank and air in the tyres. This shouldn’t be surprising but the car does have a genuinely ‘tight’ feeling that makes me feel optimistic about long-term ownership prospects.
The closest thing I’ve experienced to an issue with the car has been difficulty connecting my phone to the CarPlay head unit. However, changing the cable seems to have fixed the issue, so it might not be the car’s fault after all.
Owning and driving the Swift is great. Dealing with Suzuki and my local dealership, less so. This isn’t the car’s fault though. No point going into the issues I’ve had in this review but I’ll be going to specialists for future vehicle maintenance to avoid the average service and quality of work I’ve received through my Suzuki dealer.
Purchasing the car was fine. It was in stock and I didn’t need finance so there weren’t many hoops to jump through. I won’t be going through Suzuki or their dealerships for anything else though.
I’ve had poor experiences with my local dealership and Suzuki genuine parts are outrageously overpriced. I was quoted $1000 for ‘Suzuki’ roof racks. A five minute drive up the road to a Yakima dealer resulted in the same roof racks (Yakima make them for Suzuki) for $450.
The Swift Sport has undoubtedly increased in price as it’s aged, which seems counter-intuitive.
However, newer models have included more technology such as radar cruise, lane-keep assist and added digital functionality in the instrument cluster (i.e. a digital speedo). In any case, $32k on-road for a performance-focused hatchback, with a five-year warranty isn’t bad in my books.
Here’s where the Swift Sport comes into its own. While there’s no doubt it’s less ‘focused’ than similar-sized hot hatches like the Fiesta ST or i20 N, the Swift Sport offers performance that can genuinely be used on public roads and at sensible speeds.
The Swift feels like a modern interpretation of a classic hot hatch – like a 205 GTI that won’t immediately go wrong.
The overwhelming feeling of driving the Swift Sport is lightness. It’s 970kg. I can’t think of another modern car, this side of a Lotus Elise, that’s under a tonne.
This low weight has a positive flow-on effect on pretty much every aspect of the car’s performance and economy.
The 1.4L turbocharged engine feels stronger than it looks on paper, no doubt due to the car’s low weight not asking questions the 103kW and 230Nm don’t have answers to.
The manual transmission is easy to use but the ratios are short; 110km/h in sixth gear has the engine at well over 3000rpm. The short gearing doesn’t seem to hurt economy, with around-town consumption sitting at 6.4L/100km, which drops into the high fives on the open road.
It’s worth noting that the Swift Sport’s fuel tank is tiny, at just 37 litres, but its low fuel usage means 400-500km is easily achievable between fill ups of 95RON.
The Swift Sport has all the modern safety and convenience technology you would expect, such as keyless entry and start, CarPlay, autonomous emergency braking, radar cruise, lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic warning, parking sensors, and some of the best LED headlights of any car I’ve driven (We’ve put them to the test here! – Ed.).
The only thing to note is its slightly erratic and over-cautious collision warning system, which is part of the autonomous emergency braking. The system seems fond of warning you of your impending doom for little more than rolling up to a stop behind a stationary car.
The safety systems can be switched off and pleasingly stay off when the car is stopped, which is more than can be said for many new cars.
Ride and handling are other areas where the Swift Sport’s low weight can be felt. The suspension is relatively soft, but well controlled. The well-judged suspension combined with skinny, but high-quality, tyres to deliver handling that’s fun and accessible.
The handling errs towards understeer as start to reach the limit of the 195-width Continental tyres’ grip but much like the engine performance, it’s enough to make decent progress on the road, without risking imprisonment.
The Swift Sport isn’t a serious hot hatch. It’s not serious in any way really, which is part of its appeal. It takes a basic, pedestrian vehicle and adds bespoke suspension, wheels, interior, engine, gearbox and body trim to make a car that’s easy to own and genuinely fun to drive.