Suzuki Swift Sport

Hybrid

Suzuki Swift Sport Hybrid, front
Suzuki Swift Sport Hybrid, side
Suzuki Swift Sport Hybrid, rear
Suzuki Swift Sport Hybrid, interior
Suzuki Swift Sport Hybrid, boot

IT would be a pretty cruel and sad world if the amount of money you spent on a car equated directly with the enjoyment derived.

Fortunately that is rarely the case...as a week behind the wheel of Suzuki's diminutive and reasonably priced Swift Sport clearly illustrated.

The squat, wheel-at-each corner design which appears almost ageless, falls into the super-mini class meaning that it's the right size for country lanes, commuting and easy supermarket parking. Aside from its city driving credentials, the Swift is also relaxed and refined and totally at ease on longer hops with comfortable seats and a compliant yet firm ride.

The Sport has a few subtle styling tweaks that mark it out from the normal Swift - twin exhausts, wider side sills and a rear spoiler. But nothing outrageous or garish.

Under the bonnet there's a 1.4litre, free-revving four cylinder engine which gets a lift from a mild hybrid system that raises its horsepower to 129bhp - fairly tame by current standards with a number of hot hatches boasting 200bhp plus.

But the beauty of the Sport is the manner in which it drives rather than brute power. Delicately balanced with a steering system that feels directly connected with the road surface and a transmission that as slick as it is quick together with the smooth energetic power unit, it's a cracking all-rounder that just feels right.

Against the stop-watch, 62mph comes up in under nine seconds - not exactly breathtaking, but a tad quicker than the cooking model. It tops out at 130mph. So it earns a place in the warm hatch category, somewhat cooler than say a Cooper S, let alone the heroic Toyota GR.

In reality, the extra power not only improves outright shove but mid-range acceleration also, making the little hatch smoother and more driveable without any loss in tractability. You can detect the hybrid kick, but it's gentle and progressive.

The compact dimensions and lightness of controls together with direct steering help make it supremely manoeuvrable and athletic, yet it demands little of the driver other than that he or she enjoys their time in the Sport.

Drive it hard and you may see fuel consumption sink to below 40mpg. But pedal lightly and it's easy to squeeze 50 miles from a gallon.

The cabin is well made and solid if a little dated. The seven-inch touchscreen works well enough but is smaller than that of most rivals, and sat nav and radio controls are somewhat fiddly. Irritatingly the sat nav is disabled on the move, which means a passenger cannot operate it until the car is stopped.

There's ample space in the front with decent legroom and no shortage of shoulder room. Those in the back have enough headroom, but legroom is understandably limited. The boot is compact but roomy enough for weekends away. The battery is situated under the front seats so does not rob the boot space.

Daytime LED running lights are standard issue as are heated door mirrors, rear cross-traffic alert system and air con.

FAST FACTS

Suzuki Swift Sport Hybrid

Price: £22.070

Mechanical: 1373cc, 129bhp, 4 cyl petrol hybrid engine driving front wheels via 6 speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 130mph

0-62mph: 8.8 sec

Combined MPG: 50.1

Insurance Group: 35

C02 emissions: 127g/km

Bik rating: 30%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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