Suzuki Swift Sport

1.4 Boosterjet

Suzuki Swift Sport, dynamic
Suzuki Swift Sport, front
Suzuki Swift Sport, rear
Suzuki Swift Sport, interior
Suzuki Swift Sport, seats, detail
Suzuki Swift Sport, dashboard

FUN is the name of the game when considering sporty superminis and the warmed up version of the Suzuki Swift has always delivered on that front.

The revamped third generation model, which hit UK showrooms last summer, pushes the Swift Sport much closer to genuine hot-hatch territory, however, thanks to a new, turbocharged engine and some serious weight loss.

Beneath the bonnet the Japanese car maker's impressive 1.4-litre Boosterjet powerplant replaces the previous normally aspirated 1.6-litre unit while the latest construction technologies mean the body is stiffer and stronger but actually some 70kg lighter.

All of which means that the Swift Sport feels more sprightly and nimble than ever, responding urgently to throttle inputs and bounding enthusiastically out of corners, with direct and accurate steering and a short-throw, six-speed manual gearbox ensuring the driver feels fully engaged at all times.

A 0-62mph sprint time of a snip over eight seconds and a top speed of 130mph, although thoroughly respectable, might not be right up there with the best boy-racer rivals but sometimes there's more to motoring enjoyment than sheer speed.

It's how and when the Swift Sport delivers its power that makes the big difference - and from behind the wheel it definitely feels sharper than those figures might suggest.

Maximum torque has increased by 44 percent, to 230Nm, and it's available much lower down the rev range, at just 2,500rpm, so you can get your kicks without having to wring the engine to death.

There's plenty of grip on offer too and the body stays well controlled even when cornering enthusiastically, and although the pay-off for this is a slightly firm ride it rarely strays onto the wrong side of comfortable.

Lighter cars and smaller engines also mean better fuel economy and the Swift Sport now claims more than 50 miles per gallon on average - although in a week of mainly urban driving I was getting closer to 37mpg.

Of course, looks are as important as performance in the not-hatch stakes and the Swift has all the boxes ticket in this department too.

Now available only as a five-door and at five centimetres longer than the standard Swift, there's no doubt the Sport has grown up a bit, but striking 17-inch alloys, unique muscular bumpers, a bold honeycomb grille, carbon fibre-effect sills, a high-mounted rear spoiler and twin tailpipes all project the desired dynamic image.

Six colours are available split between Champion Yellow, Burning Red and Speedy Blue for the younger audience and white, grey and black metallic options which will appeal to the more reserved, or mature, buyers.

Credit too, to Suzuki for not banging a few hundred pounds extra on to the asking price for certain shades, as is the trend these days.

Inside the cabin, the sporty theme continues with branded Sport seats, contrasting red stitching and trim, red rev counter, sports pedals and a racing-style, flat-bottomed multifunction steering wheel.

Plastic surfaces, however, have a slightly disappointing scratchy and unyielding feel for a car which now costs £18,000 - but overall the interior is stylish and offers enough space for four adults to get comfortable.

It's also bristling with plenty of standard high-tech kit, including a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system featuring DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as a 4.2 inch digital display in the driver's instrument panel that shows a range of information including a nifty turbo boost graphic.

Other equipment includes a rear view camera, front fog lamps, automatic air conditioning, satellite navigation, automatic emergency braking, lane departure correction, keyless entry and start, rear electric windows, LED headlamps, LED combination rear lights, adaptive cruise control and rear privacy glass.

FAST FACTS

Suzuki Swift Sport 1.4 Boosterjet

Price: £17,999

Mechanical:140ps, 1,373cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 130mph

0-62mph:8.1 seconds

Combined MPG:50.4

Insurance Group:9

C02 emissions:125g/km

Bik rating:29%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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