By Mike Torpey on 2020-01-18 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Suzuki Swift Sport
SMILE on your face performance backed up by everyday convenience has achieved cult status for the Suzuki Swift Sport - on the ‘warm' hatchback scene at least.
But then the Swift Sport has been a landmark model for its Japanese manufacturer for more than 13 years, and the latest version has raised the bar even higher.
Lighter, sharper and quieter than before, this third generation model really puts the driver at the heart of the experience.
A little longer and marginally lower than standard Swift variants, the Sport has a solid, compact stance on the road and really looks the part in our tested model's gleaming Champion Yellow paint job.
Now powered by a 1.4-litre Boosterjet turbo petrol engine developing 140ps, it is capable of accelerating from 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds and on to a potential top speed of 130mph.
The little Suzuki's pulling power is also impressive, offering a 44 per cent greater degree of torque than before - 230Nm available from 2,500rpm - while its lighter body contributes to an official average fuel return figure of 50.4 miles per gallon.
That's an impressive claim for a car with this sort of punch and our own consumption over almost 250 miles of mixed urban, A road and motorway driving pretty much confirmed its authenticity with a figure of 46.7mpg.
Light to the feel and with precision steering, the Sport is rewardingly nimble, predictable and well planted when taking on tight country lanes and both quiet and settled through the suburbs.
And with a 10 per cent shorter gearshift throw from the six-speed manual transmission for quicker changes it really is a treat to drive.
The kit list is extensive and includes the likes of a leather steering wheel, air con, 17-inch alloys, electric windows, privacy glass, DAB radio and Bluetooth and LED daytime running lights.
You also get a sharp rear view camera, sat nav, Smartphone link display audio, front fog lamps and safety features like Advanced Forward Detection System, Lane Departure Correction, six airbags, Adaptive Cruise Control and a weaving alert function.
As for value, well rivals like the admittedly more powerful Peugeot 208 GTi, Clio Renaultsport and Vauxhall Corsa VXR all cost at least Â£2,225 more - and the former nearly Â£4,000 more expensive.
Accessories to personalise Swift Sport models include the likes of a black or silver stripe over the roof and down the bonnet, wheel decals in various colours, striking wing mirror covers and really effective wheel bolt sets that match the car's Champion Yellow version - a body colour originating from the Suzuki Works Junior Rally Car.
Suzuki Swift Sport
Mechanical: 140bhp, 1,373cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 130mph
0-62mph: 8.1 seconds
Combined MPG: 50.4
Insurance Group: 19
C02 emissions: 125g/km
Bik rating: 29%
Warranty: 3yrs/62,000 miles
Choose from one or more of the options to find the car for you.
Based on your search find the dealership
nearest to you.