Suzuki Swift Sport review – the back-to-basics drivers' hatch

Honest, simple and mature, the Swift Sport remains an affordable evo favourite. More standard kit ups value for money

Evo rating
Price
from £13,999
  • Old-school pocket rocket
  • Less efficient than turbo rivals

evo Verdict 

Now in its second generation, the Suzuki Swift Sport manages to mix effervescent performance with everyday useability. When it arrived in 2011, its arch rival was the Renaultsport Twingo 133, but the French warm hatch’s demise means the Swift is part of a dying breed – recent rivals from Renault, Ford, Peugeot, Mini and more have all been turbocharged.

It’s among the reasons that, despite its less economical (on paper) and less efficient naturally aspirated engine, we’re fans of the Swift. For those seeking an experience more akin to that of hot hatches of yesteryear – not necessarily high-performance, but interactive, revvy and fun – the Swift is arguably the strongest contender on sale today. That it's also relatively inexpensive next to even basic modern superminis, with pricing from £13,999, makes it even more appealing.

Subscribe to evo magazine

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

For 2015 Suzuki gave the Swift DAB radio and satellite navigation as standard. The touch-screen unit not only adds another layer of functional practicality to the warm hatch, it means the car is probably the best value offering in this segment.

evo Comment 

‘If you were to go on a normal ten-minute test drive from a dealer in each car, then the Suzuki might leave you a little cold after the exuberant Twingo. It has certainly matured a bit compared to the previous-generation Swift Sport, which, let’s face it, sounds quite dull. But… if you dig a little deeper, push the chassis harder, you suddenly start to realise what a talented little car you’re driving. The suspension is some of the best I have come across – it’s hard to sing the praises of the damping hard enough. The way it soaks up bumps and lets you attack any road is quite simply extraordinary.’ – Henry Catchpole, features editor (Renaultsport Twingo 133 v Suzuki Swift Sport, evo 175) 

evo Tip

When drivers jump out of old hot hatches such as the Peugeot 205 GTI or Citroën AX GT, they’ll often proclaim that ‘they don’t make them like this anymore’. Well they do, because while the Suzuki Swift Sport is vastly more refined, reliable and useable, its handling and ethos is not too dissimilar to that of those pioneering models.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Okay, in 2015 it’s far from hot – some diesel superminis get close to the Swift's performance these days – but for an honest warm hatch experience, we’d look no further. It’s also far more mature than the lipstick-wearing Ford Fiesta Zetec S Red/Black Edition…

> Performance and 0-60mph time - Refined as it is, the Swift Sport's naturally aspirated four-cylinder can't beat smaller turbocharged rivals for output. But the Sport's skinny kerbweight helps to keep things fairly...swift. Read more about the Swift Sport's performance here.

> Engine and gearbox - It might lack the grunt of its turbocharged rivals, but the Swift Sport's naturally aspirated 1.6-litre engine thrives when thrashed. Read more about the Swift Sport's performance here.

> Ride and handling - Mature damping makes for a pliant ride that matches the car's overall old-school demeanour. On track you'd want something firmer, but on country lanes it's a capable setup. Read more about the Swift Sport's ride and handling here.

> MPG and running costs - A lack of boost ensures claimed mpg can't top the class, but a low insurance group opens the door to younger and harder to insure drivers. Read more about the Swift Sport's MPG and running costs here.

Advertisement - Article continues below

> Prices, specs and rivals - The Swift Sport undercuts all of its key rivals for price, offering more bang for your buck and punching above its weight. Read more about the Swift Sport's prices, specs and rivals here.

> Interior and tech - Lots of standard kit and a clean dash make the Swift Sport a pleasant place to spend time. We just wish that seat would go a little lower... Read more about the Swift Sport's interior here.

> Design - To the untrained eye, the Swift Sport might blend in amongst other superminis, but those in the know will recognise a rear roof-spoiler and twin-exit exhausts as signals for its performance. Read more about the Swift Sport's design here.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/volkswagen/golf-gti/22866/new-volkswagen-golf-gti-leaked-ahead-of-reveal
Volkswagen Golf GTI hatchback

New Volkswagen Golf GTI leaked ahead of reveal

Following a slew of spy shots last year, a camo-free Mk8 Golf GTI surfaces online
20 Jan 2020
Visit/lotus/202124/lotuss-badge-engineered-specials-from-cortina-to-carlton-and-vx220
Lotus

Lotus's badge-engineered specials: from Cortina to Carlton and VX220

Some collaborations more secretive than others, a handful of models have received backing from Lotus over the years. We've gathered the very best
19 Jan 2020
Visit/ford/202122/ford-focus-rs500-v-audi-rs3-new-v-used
Ford Focus RS

Ford Focus RS500 v Audi RS3 – new v used

One’s an eight-year-old Ford, the other a brand new Audi. But which of these five‑cylinder superhatches deserves your £45k?
18 Jan 2020
Visit/features/22907/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-col-de-turini
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019