New 2018 Suzuki Swift Sport – sub-tonne hatch gets turbo power, but high price
Lighter and more powerful than its predecessor, the new Swift Sport
The Suzuki Swift Sport looks to continue the model’s success in the junior hot hatch segment with a compelling lightweight formula. The Swift Sport has landed in the UK with a compelling asking price of £16,495, although that will rise at the end of June to £18,995, after the promotion price has ended.
Why the disparate pricing? After heavy criticism from journalists of the car being too expensive was hit harder with the new Fiesta ST’s aggressive sub - £19k starting price, placing it barely £1000 higher despite its more substantial package and 197bhp power output.
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The Swift Sport has long been an evo favourite, and the forthcoming model holds much promise. The headline figure is weight. At 970kg, the new Sport is 80kg lighter than the previous Sport, making it one of lightest hatches around, hopefully allowing it to recapture the thrilling driving experience of the outgoing model.
The hot Swift has switched to turbocharged power – a first – using a slightly-modified version of the 1.4-litre four-cylinder Booster Jet engine from the Suzuki Vitara S. Peak power is up by 4bhp over the old car, arriving earlier in the rev range at 5500rpm. However peak torque has increased substantially – by 44 per cent – to 170lb ft, coming on stream between 2500rpm-3000rpm.
A new intercooler and wastegate valve have forced a recalibration of turbo boost pressures, liberating 8lb ft of torque more from the Vitara-based unit. The changes deliver a more exciting engine that’s appropriate for the Swift Sport, according to Suzuki, although performance figures for the car have yet to be released. The front wheels are driven through a six-speed manual gearbox, compared to the standard Swift’s five-speeder, which should help to make the most of the modest performance.
The suspension arrangement is fairly basic, with MacPherson struts up front and a torsion bar arrangement at the rear, but Suzuki has equipped Monroe dampers (fitted to the previous Sport), heavier-duty wheel bearings and thicker joints for the otherwise unchanged anti-roll bars.
That should enhance handling without sacrificing ride quality, and given the low weight there's not a lot of mass to control which bodes well for reduced body movements.
Visually, the new Swift Sport gets a new, more aggressive styling treatment for the front of the car. The grille is a different shape, and has been lowered and thrust forward, while it features a wavy mesh rather than the standard car’s simple bars. The headlight units are the same, but a new feature line gives them a somewhat angry look.
New 17-inch alloy wheels and a rather arresting yellow paint scheme known as Champion Yellow complete the Swift’s visual changes. Inside, the car gets red detailing on the dials and dash, while a sportier flat-bottomed steering wheel features. Bolstered sports seats should provide rather more support than the standard car's particularly flat items.