Alfa Romeo
Land Rover
Suzuki Swift Sport
Hot hatch yes; pocket rocket no
December 2006

GEE a lot of people wanted to know about the Suzuki Swift Sport. It seems its predecessor, the GTi, which was last seen in Australia circa 2004, had left some big shoes to fill.

Everyone from the fruit shop checkout chick to the Jehovah's Witness who lobbed at 8.30 on a Sunday morning wanted to know if it went as fast as it looked.

The unique number plate of SUZUKI on the press car was also a hot topic.

It was hard to explain to people that yes it went quite well and it handled pretty much as it looked, but not nearly as well as the hype surrounding the car.

It seems that the GTi left such a pretty good impression that the Swift Sport would have to be a superstar to live up to the expectation.

As I've said, it's a good little car, but let's be honest. 92kW isn't exactly cutting edge from a 1.6-litre engine, and neither is the fact that it doesn't get there until 6800rpm. Maximum torque doesn't arrive until 4800rpm either.

So essentially you have to wring its neck and you'll get close to an eight second 0-100k/h time. Good enough to tell the boys about over a beer but not exactly blistering.

In the handling department the Swift Sport grips very well and handling is above average.

Where this little machine excels is in the sticker price of $23,990.

This figure gets you standard features such as electric windows, remote central locking, CD player with steering wheel controls, leather three-spoke steering wheel, sports seats, chrome plated inside door opener & side louvre bezel, stainless steel pedal plates, assorted aluminium inserts, dual airbags, side airbags, curtain airbags and ABS with EBD.

The car comes in six cool colours with cool names as well: Champion Yellow; Pearl White; Azure Grey Pearl Metallic; Supreme Red Pearl; Kashmir Blue Pearl Metallic and Bluish Black Pearl.

The engine is mated to a five speed manual transmission with short shift linkages that give a firm, quick shift feel. The transmission has closer gear ratios selected specifically for the Sport model and provides a slightly lower ratio overall as well as less reach between them.

At highway speeds the revs are a little higher than most would be used to, but with consumption figures of 6.4 litres/100km you won't mind too much.

The Sport's enging is 100cc and 17kW more than the base level car with modifications including a new cylinder block, new inlet and exhaust camshafts, new pistons, piston rings, connecting rods, crankshaft, large capacity sports muffler, oil cooler, intake and exhaust manifolds and an electrical throttle body.

It certianly is a head-turner with a newly designed front bumper, rear bumper and splash guard as well as a wide lower grille front air dam.

From behind the Sport has a large sport rear spoiler and newly designed rear combination lamps, including reversing lamps that have been separated from the other lights and sit along side each of the twin exhaust outlets.

In a styling cue taken from the popular Suzuki GSX R750 motorbike the dash features an easy to read instrument cluster in which the tachometer dial, has its '0' mark positioned at six o'clock, where the eye falls naturally.

In summation, it is definitely a hot hatch, but a pocket rocket would be pushing it.

The Suzuki Swift Sport comes with Suzuki CustomerCare, providing customers with peace of mind via a three year/100,000km warranty and three year 24 hour roadside assistance.



ENGINE: 1.6-litre VVT four cylinder

POWER: 92kW at 6800rpm

TORQUE: 148Nm at 4800rpm

TRANSMISSION: 5-speed manual

ACCELERATION: 0-100km/h 8.2 seconds

FUEL TANK: litres


CONSUMPTION: 6.4 litres/100km highway; 9.3 city

PROS: Hot hatch looks; great grip; handling better than average; sharp price

CONS: Dull off the line and needs to be pressed hard to extract the best out of it

BOTTOM LINE: $23,990