On the 29th October 2014 a man arrived at CT Towers with the keys to our very own Suzuki Swift Sport. It’s a good looking thing, especially in the Boost Blue Pearl paint job our car was sporting, and over the last five months its unpretentious charms made it a firm favourite with all of us. Sadly, another man turned up last week and asked for the keys back…
We originally got the budget hot hatch (perhaps warm hatch is more accurate) in to see if one of the least expensive hatchbacks on the market today was a good entry point into the world of performance motoring. You can get a three-door Sport from £13,999, while our five-door costs an extra £500. The spec list is decent, with keyless entry, satellite navigation and comfy sports seats all standard. It also looks great, with subtle bodywork modifications and lovely 17-inch alloys, which make it more butch looking than the standard car.
We’ve been chronicling our time with the Swift, so to say a proper goodbye, here’s a roundup of a fantastic five months:
Matt was the first to get acquainted with our new Swift Sport, and after a few weeks with the car, he drew up a list of good and bad points. Generally speaking, we loved everything about the way it drove, from the revvy 1.6-litre naturally-aspirated engine to the way it cornered, but the drone of the engine at motorway speeds is very intrusive. Most of the complaints were fairly minor, though its tiny boot was annoying.
The best way to determine a car’s quality is to compare it to its rivals, so we called Mini and booked a Cooper in for a weekend away with the Swift Sport and our other longtermer, the Seat Ibiza FR. Because it was December in England, it absolutely chucked it down, and photographer Jayson got incredibly wet while the rest of us hid in the warmth of the cars.
The Mini’s gorgeous interior highlighted just how cheap the Swift’s dashboard is, but then the German car costs about £1500 more. 10 per cent extra cash for a nice interior might have been a fair trade, but the Mini’s engine really let it down. It was close between the Ibiza and the Swift, but on the day, Matt went with the Seat because “it’s an absolute belter when you’re pressing on.” While I agree that it’s a belter, I personally prefer the Swift’s more confidence-inspiring cornering ability, and would use the £2000 saving to mod the Suzuki.
Next on the agenda was to find out whether the Swift Sport was as good out on track as it is on the road. Driven at eight-tenths on public highways it’s fantastic fun, but track driving asks a hell of a lot more from a car.
We met up with the Part Box Suzuki Swift Sport race car at Curborough Sprint Course in Lichfield to see how the road car handled the circuit, and to take a look at what goes into a track-prepped version.
The road-going Swift handled the day well enough, but unsurprisingly it was massively outdone by its fettled brother.
My time with the car didn’t get off to a good start. After picking up the keys in January, I parked in a supermarket car park and came back to find that someone had scraped the front bumper quite considerably.
I felt sick, but fortunately a good scrub brought it back to nearly new condition… though I felt the overwhelming urge to vent my frustrations on the matter.
Despite an inauspicious start to our relationship, I quickly fell for the Swift. I love that it doesn’t try too hard to be something it’s not, and that it absolutely nails the thing that’s important: driving pleasure.
After driving a multitude of more expensive motors during my time with the car, I came to the conclusion that the Swift Sport was one of the few cars that I thought was genuinely worth the cash. Yes, it has its foibles, but at this price point it’s hard to find something better. Other cars demand huge financial commitments, yet fail to deliver in a number of important ways. The Swift always delivers, because it doesn’t hype you up to expect more.
After five months of being Car Throttle’s daily driver, the Suzuki Swift Sport is gone. As you can see from the content above, we’ve given it a workout in a wide variety of ways, and each and every time it delivered the goods. For one final photoshoot with the car, I met up with Ethan and his SWAGon R for a morning of Suzuki indulgence.
They’re completely different cars, obviously, but it’s interesting to see just how far the brand has come in the last decade. The Swift Sport may be a humble hot hatch, but it’s more than capable of holding its own with the big boys. Therefore I’m pleased to report that it’s a fond farewell and that this car is already missed.