Acts don’t get much harder to follow than the outgoing Suzuki Swift Sport – a near-legendary pocket rocket.
Well, we’re pleased to report that the much-anticipated third generation Swift Sport doesn’t disappoint.
Based on the standard five-door supermini launched last year, the new Swift Sport is quicker, lighter, lower and wider than its predecessor.
It’s also much more distinctive with new body kit, a black grille framed by LED headlights, twin exhausts and 17-inch alloys.
But the biggest difference is under the bonnet where the 1.6-litre normally aspirated petrol unit has been replaced by a turbocharged 1.4-litre Boosterjet, already available in the Vitara.
Even though the new engine has only slightly more grunt (138bhp compared to the previous model’s 136bhp), it’s the way it delivers that power that makes all the difference.
Suzuki claims there’s 44% more torque which means there’s plenty of pulling power from low down and you don’t have to work it so hard.
This increased performance translates into decent figures too, though this is warm rather than hot hatch territory.
The new Swift Sport can hit 62mph from standstill in 8.1 seconds and reach a top speed of 130mph. Fuel economy is 47.1mpg under the new ‘real world’ testing regime, while CO2 emissions are at 135g/km.
Raw stats are one thing, what matters is how the power is delivered and the way a car handles, and it’s here that the Swift Sport excels.
The extra grunt is immediately obvious, but it’s not outrageous, making it both relaxed enough to potter around town and ferocious enough to fully exploit the most challenging of open roads.
Thanks to the Swift’s new lightweight structure (it weighs just 975kg) and the eager engine’s smooth delivery, it’s still some of the most fun you will have on four wheels.
Brisker than the figures suggest, it’s agile, there’s little body roll and the ride is just right – not too firm and not too soft. The steering is a bit on the light side, but you soon adjust, while the brakes are suitably sharp and traction is superb. The only slight disappointment is the six-speed manual gearbox, which despite a shorter throw, isn’t always the sweetest changer.
The new Swift Sport is available in just one trim level and it comes fully loaded. Standard equipment includes a special interior trim with red accents, semi bucket seats, a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink, climate control, privacy glass, DAB radio with Bluetooth and six speakers, LED daytime running lights and body-coloured door mirrors.
There’s even a new colour available, but only choose Champion Yellow if you want to stand out from the crowd.
It also comes with stacks of safety tech including autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic dipping headlights, driver alertness monitoring and hill hold control, plus six airbags.
Just like its standard spec sibling, inside there’s plenty of room for adults front and rear, while the boot is a respectable 265 litres (579 litres with the backs seats flat) and there are lots of small storage spaces dotted around the cabin.
It’s fair to say that the interior is durable rather than plush with plenty of hard black plastic on display, but the design is simple and effective and all the controls and switchgear seem well placed.
Verdict: Frankly, the all-new Suzuki Swift Sport is hard to fault. It’s huge fun to drive, yet practical and economical.
The only fly in the ointment is its new price point of £17,999 which means that it’s not quite the bargain the outgoing car used to be. So with the basic spec model of the new Ford Fiesta ST starting at £18,995, this presents something of a dilemma for prospective buyers, though Suzuki rightly points out that the Swift Sport comes fully-loaded.
Stop Press: You can buy the Suzuki Swift Sport during June 2018 in the UK for £16,499 – a £1,500 saving.
Review in association with www.automotiveblog.co.uk