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The new Suzuki Swift Sport is a warm hatchback that delivers an honest and affable performance experience focused on simplicity and lightness.

04 May 2021


It's been almost a whole decade since we've had a Suzuki Swift Sport.

A decade (one whole COE lifespan) is a long time. And since 2012 when we last had a Swift Sport, plenty has changed about the automotive industry. We've seen a stark shift towards SUVs, electrification and increased technology in cars. Some enthusiasts would also bemoan the fact that so-called 'purist' cars are becoming increasingly rare to find (they're not entirely wrong on this front).

This brings us to the all new Suzuki Swift Sport. Now in its third generation, the Swift Sport brings a uniquely focused formula that looks to recapture some of that enigmatic hot hatch magic. In a world where 300bhp hot hatches have become par for course, where does a car like this Swift Sport stand?

Power to the people

Twin tailpipes set this Swift Sport apart from the standard Swift model
On the exterior, the Swift Sport gets a number of sporty touches to highlight its more performance-oriented disposition. These include carbon fibre patterned embossing on the grille, front lip spoiler, side skirts and rear diffuser, as well as twin tailpipes at the rear. You also get a sportier front fascia with a honeycomb grille.

A key part of the Swift Sport's popularity was its relative accessibility. It has never been a particularly complicated or high-tech model, and as a result it was never very expensive.

The new car feels a touch more modern, though there's no mistaking that this is still a car that exists on the lower end of the price scale. With manual seats, a manual handbrake and auto windows for the driver only, there's not a lot in the way of creature comforts.

Modern equipment like Apple CarPlay help raise the overall level of quality within the cabin
There are some modern equipment, such as Apple CarPlay via the touchscreen infotainment system, as well as a digital screen on the dashboard that you can use to display a variety of information.

However, this is ultimately a relatively simple and straightforward car - you just hop in, hit the start button, and just drive off.

Power of lightness

Powering the new Swift Sport is a turbocharged 1.4-litre engine whose performance figures surely won't blow anyone away. The 127bhp and 235Nm of torque seem modest in comparison to many other hot hatches in today's market. So, you could call this a warm hatch, rather than a proper hot hatch.

The 1.4-litre powerplant makes 127bhp and 235Nm of torque, with power delivered urgently and promptly
That would be selling the Swift Sport short, though. The powertrain, especially with the 48V mild-hybrid system offering additional low-rev torque fill, is urgent and plenty fast. Compared to the naturally aspirated engine from before, this new mild-hybrid powertrain is much more accessible and easier to use. There's plenty of torque throughout the rev range, and you don't have to wring the engine hard to get maximum performance. There's an ease of use that just wasn't there before.

It also helps that the car is light - weighing just a hair over one tonne, the Swift Sport is agile on its feet, scampering up to road limits with verve. That lightness also contributes to the car's iconic handling - sharp, precise and lively. Wring it hard through a couple of corners and the Swift Sport's knack for going quickly around bends really shines through.

The Swift Sport is one of the very few cars in the market right now that's offered with a manual gearbox
And then, there's the Swift Sport's rather unique offering - a manual gearbox! If we're being honest, it's not a particularly spectacular gearbox. The throw is quite long, the gear shifts not particularly quick and, overall, it doesn't feel that sporty. But, for drivers who enjoy manually changing gears, and who revel in the 'purity' or 'authenticity' of using a clutch pedal, this Swift Sport has that covered.

Where the Swift Sport brings new technology and equipment is in the safety department. The Suzuki Safety Support Suite includes features like Dual Sensor Brake Support, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning and Weaving Alert. The availability of Adaptive Cruise Control is quite rare on a car in this class, and we must say that it works quite well, too.

An honest conversation

The 48V mild-hybrid system helps to torque-fill at low revs, which helps boost the overall sense of performance
The Suzuki Swift Sport has always been a relatively honest, uncomplicated performance hatchback.

This new one most certainly retains that character, though key changes (like the new turbocharged engine and mild-hybrid system) make the car much more accessible in terms of performance.

But, is anyone really pining for a manual shifting Swift Sport in 2021? Suzuki distributor Champion Motors is only offering the car with a manual transmission, and that certainly speaks to the niche nature of this car in today's market. It's not going to be a volume seller, and that's understandable. 

The Swift Sport's focus on lightness and driving engagement is an honest yet unique approach to performance motoring
For the $109,900 (as of 22 April 2021) asking price, there are certainly other viable options in the market. Similarly sized superminis like the Volkswagen Polo and the Seat Ibiza are priced similarly and have performance that's not that far off from the Swift Sport. Or, there are also a slew of compact crossovers that appeal to the SUV-mad market right now.

With the way the automotive market has changed over time, the Swift Sport is unlikely to be the hit it was 10 years ago. Even more so than before, it is very much a niche, enthusiasts' car for individuals who know and prioritise the value of lightness, engaging performance and joyous fun. The new Suzuki Swift Sport is an honest, lovable hatchback that delivers that, in precisely a way that it only knows how to.

Car Information

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Suzuki Swift Sport Mild Hybrid 1.4 Turbo Standard (M)
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Price

: $108,900

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1373cc

Horsepower

:

95kW (127 bhp)

Torque

:

235 Nm

Transmission

:

6-speed (M)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

9.1sec

Top Speed

:

210km/h

Fuel consumption

:

21.2 km/L

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