I'm willing to bet thousands that you saw a Suzuki-related article that's linked to Chris Wall Media and you expected some ridiculously over the top biased opinions and views. While I do like to keep things impartial, who am I to disappoint? I mean come on, it's not only one of my favourite brands here, it's also the flagship model Suzuki Swift Sport, and that means I've had a smile cramp for a week and I've been trying to figure out how to write about the car properly. The thing is there's just no way to do it without adding in the bias that Suzuki brings out in me.
All the tech specs and ins and outs of the all-new Suzuki Swift Sport were covered after I attended the local launch at RedStar Raceway - you can have a refresher if you click through to the post. The SSS was something I was both looking forward to and dreading at the same time thanks to that BoosterJet engine setup. The previous generation Swift Sport was a little firecracker of a car, it truly was the last of the hot hatches if you ever subscribed to the original point of a hot hatch being lightweight and affordable and fun. It featured a sweet short ratio 6-speed transmission and a revvy normally aspirated 4-cylinder lump making 100kW and 160Nm. While in this day and age of chasing numbers, those are rather small, but when you add this to a superb chassis and a kerb weight of just 1075kg, the result is fun, a heck of a lot of fun. Few normally aspirated cars are as cool to chuck around, even at altitude. It's probably why there's now four Swift Sports competing in the King Price Extreme Track Attack series.
Then Suzuki announced that the all-new Suzuki Swift Sport would arrive with a turbo attached and I lost all faith, I wanted another N/A screamer. The men in white coats managed to drop 200cc of engine capacity and made up for it by adding in a turbocharger, and this has seen the power figure rise by just 3kW. Yes, THREE, which puts the total at a monstrous 103kW. The major upside to strapping a turbo on is that Newtons increase more than kilowatts, and so this BoosterJet setup takes that figure up to 230Nm from the old 160Nm. Earning their bonuses, the tech chaps somehow managed to keep the chassis as impeccable and responsive as ever, managed to increase the interior dimensions and still also managed LOWER THE WEIGHT. This all-new Suzuki Swift Sport tips the scales at just 970kg, and when you work things out, what you have is a power to weight ratio of 106.18kW/ton, or 142.3hp/ton, and that's not bad at all. That's more than the legendary Mercedes 190 E 2.3 16v (142.2hp/ton), the VW Corrado G60 (141.7hp/ton), my old favourite and previously loved car, the Ford Focus ST170 (141.5hp/ton) and even the old Opel Astra Coupe Turbo only came in at 141.2hp/ton. So yeah, by today's hot hatch standards, the numbers are low but when you check a VW Golf ClubSport is at 189hp/ton, things aren't too shabby at all.
Adding to the new turbocharged setup, the Suzuki engineers made sure other areas saw improvements, the interior looks great with a pretty cool dash layout and design. There's now a decent infotainment system in play that features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto - and unlike some of ze Germans who charge an arm and a leg for this stuff, it's free. The flat-bottom sports wheel is great, the controls are laid out great, it's all a very nice place to be. The bucket seats are comfortable, they keep you in place when you decide to throw a SSS around like a red-headed step child, and that's about fifty-twelve times on every drive. I love that they're 'tombstone' style with no movable head rest. If you're of the poofy variety, where you're a few meals ahead and a few toilet visits behind, the seats may be a constant reminder that you need to start gym (or cycling if you're a motoring scribe), but that's the nature of the bucket seat beast. Yeah, the fat hot hatches are fatter because they cram in more tech and gimmicks, but with the spec list in the new Suzuki Swift Sport, I'm left wanting nothing.
As said above, online and pretty much everywhere, this car ticks all my boxes, and if having it for a test week proved nothing else, I have confirmation that this is indeed one of the very few cars on the market that I'd consider buying new. I drove it as often as possible, and for the stupidest reasons too. The other day I was sent to the shop to get some bits and bobs for dinner, we needed some cheese to complete the recipe. Easy enough. After a ten minute drive to the shops that are 1km away, I found that they had the required dairy products in 300g and 500g packs. Now a normal person would call or WhatsApp his wife to confirm what's needed. I'm not quite normal, and so it was another 10 minute drive home to ask which one we needed... When Eskom pulled the usual loadshedding crap I spent three hours in the car, in my driveway, charging my phone and watching Hunter on Amazon Prime.
The drive is what makes me happy, properly happy. The delivery of power is just brilliant. It's not Polo GTi linear, it's all old school Uno-Turbo-with-a-bent-wastegate surging awesomeness. The gear ratios, the short throw when swapping cogs, the direct and tight steering and the responsive throttle all make for the most ridiculous fun possible. Sure, it's 'only' 103kW, but it sure as shit doesn't feel like it if your but dyno is to be believed. I'm a car guy, I know plenty other car guys, and I visited a few and took them for a drive. Not ONE managed to guess the correct power figure. The closest guess was 130kW, and that was from someone who drives a Cooper S. That's one of the really cool things about the Suzuki Swift Sport, the way everything is set up it feels like you're driving something much higher up on the monthly instalment ladder. For me, how the drive feels is rather important and I can only fault the car's drive in one way. I'm just not a fan of the rev limiter because it's a soft one that kicks in at 6k on the tacho, but you have 2k of revs left to fill. I'd much prefer it revs past the power band and bounces off a limiter with a bit of drama and flair and pops and bangs (no, not the aftermarket Fiesta ST type, the real ones that happen normally). Most people wouldn't even think of that being an issue, but some of us are weird like that. I'm betting that with this car being what it is and where it's from, there will soon be easily loaded aftermarket software that will change that. You may have noticed that fuel consumption has been left out of this so far, and that's because when you feel this good driving a car, it doesn't matter how much it drinks. That said, I'm pretty sure that even when hoofing it things stayed well under 10-litres/100km anyway.
So living with the Suzuki Swift Sport daily is something that can be easily, and happily done. When I saw the initial press pics of the new body shape for the Swift, I didn't like it at all, the dimensions looked off to me but after seeing and driving the new Swift 1.2 when it released locally my mind started to change. When the Sport hit, the car was given enough cool features to be able to properly identify it as the flagship model, and it looked so damn good that the only issue it presented was what colour to choose (I now choose Burning Red Metallic). Sure, the OEM 16-inch wheels could be at least 17-inches, but I'm yet to meet an enthusiast that would keep the stock wheels on any car they bought, and I'm no different. The 16s would chill in a garage until the car needs selling, or they'd be sold off to pay for another thing I'd change. While I've given you the impression that the Suzuki Swift Sport is perfect, it's not. Well, I like to think that the Suzuki engineers left certain things the way they are to give enthusiasts like me something to tinker with and personalise.
On the aesthetics side, I've already mentioned the wheels, but I'd also pay attention to the black insert on the rear bumper, the side skirts, the front lip and the fog light surrounds. In OEM form they have a sort of carbon fibre-look and texture to them, so I'd dig to either have proper carbon fibre skins made for them, or I'd have them painted piano black. I'd do the same to the interior trim, where you see red trim in the pics above, that would all be made piano black too. While the audio system is great, I'd replace the stock speakers with some more powerful aftermarket bits, because loud music rocks when you're driving fast. Ooooh, and a boost gauge, I'd add a proper boost gauge. I do love the telemetry you can see in the instrument cluster, the amount of boost, G-forces and the like, but I would like to see an actual readout of the boost pressure. Someone in Jozi needs to give one of these a down pipe and exhaust, not to increase power, I just so badly want to hear this little 1400cc lump without an OEM exhaust muting it. Of course, most of the things I would like to do to one of these little cars WILL void your warranty. But Suzuki is Suzuki, and I have faith in the reliability of these things, tweaked or not.
So that's my take on the new Suzuki Swift Sport. Even if you manage to dismiss my obvious bias for the thing, you can see it's not just fanboi rantings. The turbocharged hatchback performs well, handles great, has all the right curves in all the right places and has an interior that's got the right amount of tech and sportiness without being bloated with features you'll only show your friends in the first week of ownership and never again. It's my new favourite car, if I lined up all 6 numbers in the Lotto, this would be my first purchase. Not that it's expensive, I'm just not looking to buy a car right now. This this is a bargain for what it is and what you get. All this is yours for just R 317 900 (R337 900 for the 6-speed auto) and that includes a 5-year / 100 000km warranty and a 4-year / 60 000km service plan. The best part is that I think these cars are so good that they speak for themselves. You really must get behind the wheel and make up your own mind. For all the specs possible, click through to the Suzuki SA main site.
Dealership Dealings - New Zealand is boss!
In New Zealand there's a Suzuki dealership, West City Suzuki, that offers customers a Track Edition Suzuki Swift Sport with the help of Jtune Automotive. There's no software, just bolt-ons, and the results are awesome. After much discussion, the Track Edition Swift Sport ended up with an HKS Super Power Flow intake system, HKS DV and an HKS Hi-Power Spec-L exhaust system, all good for an 18.6kW power increase. That's without aftermarket software remember. Then, a set of B.C. Racing coilovers with adjustable shocks, meatier Endless MX72 brake pads, and lightweight 17-inch WedsSport TC105X wheels were fitted (with thicker Cusco sway bars as an optional extra). Not only does the change to the underpinnings help improve the handling and trackability, the the chosen wheels also weigh 500g less than the OEM hoops and so with the reduction in rolling resistance 15kg is effectively shaved off the SSS when it’s in motion. Can you imagine how that feels with the extra power on top? Yuuuuuuuuus!
So if someone in SA could do this, ya'll will be my heroes.