The hot-hatch was an icon of the eighties and a much loved one at that. As the years have moved on the hot hatch sales have fallen into a more niche market. Enter the Suzuki Swift Sport, says our motoring correspondent, Ian Beasant.
With so many safety and emission regulations added to the consumer demand for more practical cars, it certainly is challenge for car manufacturers to please and fulfil all markets. The hot-hatch – which was originally a three door hatchback car with a powerful engine, stiffened suspension and a set of alloy wheels, which handled like a kart and could turn on a penny – was a thing of joy and if you owned one you certainly would have had an extra spring in your step.
The New Suzuki Swift Sport has stayed very loyal to the fundamentals of a hot hatch. It has five doors, although carefully designed rear doors with the handles disguised into the rear pillar, make it look like a three door hatch – and a very handsome one at that. It sits wide and low, the front is home to a large honeycomb grille, striking headlights add to it is impressive road presence. It certainly turned a lot of heads and won many admiring looks during the time I spent with it.
The heart of any performance car mild or not is always the engine and Suzuki have excelled in this fitting their 1.4 boosterjet petrol engine which is an absolute beauty. It produces 140bhp, will sprint the Swift to 60 mph in eight seconds and is capable of 130mph at the same time it will average 50miles per gallon. It gets even better as the way the engine delivers power is so like a non turbo engine that makes it so brilliant.
The six-speed gearbox is well matched to the engine and it seemed to me no matter what gear you are in their was always plenty of power on tap, it pulls from nothing and enthusiastically revs throughout every gear with ease it really is a bit special in car of this size.
The chassis is well balanced and although quite tightly sprung the balance between comfort and control is well, near on perfect. The Swift Sport precise steering which makes it easy to place on the road.
Where the Suzuki isn’t lacking is in standard kit. Six airbags, lane departure and forward collision warning systems, air conditioning, rear privacy glass, and a touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, DAB radio, Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity are all included. There’s also a reversing camera. This explains the lack of parking sensors.
Sporty touches range from the 17-inch alloy wheels, to the subtle body kit and a pair of chrome tail pipes.
The interior of the Swift Sport is nicely finished and superbly equipped with everything you come to expect nowadays and the beauty about this is its all standard on the Swift Sport so the price you see is the price you pay and you will not have to go through the dreaded options list that so easily adds thousands onto the price.
It is easy to find a comfortable driving position in the supportive sports seats, as the seat and the steering column offer full adjustment. I reckon four adults would be very happy and comfortable to travel as leg room in the front is very generous and in the rear adequate, remember this is a hot hatch.
I have heard the Suzuki Swift Sport referred to as a warm hatch rather than a hit hatch, well yes that maybe so, but it is still the warmest one on the market at present and with Suzuki amongst the top three manufacture’s in reliability and customer service, really, what’s not to like!