Rest In Peace, Suzuki Swift Sport

Suzuki’s junior hot hatch has been consigned to the history books, marking the end of one of the best fun-per-pound nameplates out there
Suzuki Swift Sport ZC33S
Suzuki Swift Sport ZC33S

It’s another day and another death of a hot hatch, with time called on the Suzuki Swift Sport in the UK. With the new Swift arriving without a Sport version on the cards, the dinky box of fun is being dropped from our shores

The culprit? You guessed it, the switch to electric cars and a need to meet emissions sales targets. Dale Wyatt, Suzuki UK’s boss, said: “The departure of these models will make room for EV and enable us to compete during a period where our sales ratio of hybrid versus EV products will drive our business.”

Note ‘these’, as the Ignis, Swace and Jimny LCV will also join them. Neither of the first two is really a great loss – the first is a slightly confusing hatchback, and the second is a mere rebadged Toyota Corolla. It appears that Jimny will eventually get a direct EV replacement, at least.

Rest In Peace, Suzuki Swift Sport

However, the Swift Sport is a different story. It sounds like the model will carry on in other markets, particularly its home nation of Japan, for the time being, but surely for not much longer. Recent reports have suggested that the recently-introduced new generation Swift isn’t in line to get a Sport of its own, and that the existing model will get a slightly extended lifespan before bowing out for good.

It brings an end to what was truthfully always a class of one. The Swift Sport has never been quite on par technically in the hot hatch stakes with the likes of the Ford Fiesta ST, VW Polo GTI or Renaultsport Clios just to name a few, but it never tried to be.

Rest In Peace, Suzuki Swift Sport

It initially traded on offering a more old-school experience – a light chassis, a free-revving engine, only as many bits of tech as it needed and most importantly it didn’t cost the earth.

The Mk1 ZC31S wasn’t a perfect car, and I’d know that more than most, but it offered something unique, while the 32S fixed that by changing very little beyond adding a much-needed sixth gear and a few basic amenities. Second-hand values on either are also about as low as they’ll ever get right now.

It did lose its way a little with the third-generation 33S and its over-abundance of equipment, higher price and losing some character by presumably emissions-enforced turbocharging and eventually mild-hybrid tech, but by the nature of its competition it remained a rare treat as a sub-one-tonne, manual hot hatch that didn’t take itself too seriously.

Rest In Peace, Suzuki Swift Sport

Should the Sport ever return, it’ll almost certainly be as an electric vehicle. I’d reserve judgment on that car in isolation for if and when the day comes, but I know it could never be a true ‘Swift Sport’. The days of the low-weight, low-cost, heavy-on-fun hot hatch are now, officially, over.

Rest in peace, Suzuki Swift Sport. There’ll never be anything quite like it again. 


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