ROAD TEST REVIEW: 2018 Suzuki Swift Sport Turbo
STRONGER, lighter and faster. The Suzuki Swift Sport Turbo has already ticked its fitness-focussed New Year resolutions.
Pitched as "very warm” on the popular hot hatch scale, the Sport arrives packing a whole lot more grunt than its predecessor adorned with active wear to set it apart from the Swift family.
Featuring go-fast plastics with a carbon fibre look, prices start from $24,990 plus on roads - the automatic versions attract a $2000 premium. That undercuts Euro competitors like the Renault Clio RS, Volkswagen Polo GTI and the Peugeot 208 GTi.
"We're not packing a 250kW engine into a 50-something thousand dollar road-going Exocet missile designed expressly for homologation into the World Rally Series,” Suzuki Queensland general manager Stephen Craig said.
"Instead, we are in the very warm, very manageable, very desirable, very affordable, very impressive sector of the hot hatch market.”
Under the bonnet is a turbocharged petrol unit which is a close relation to the powertrain used in the Vitara and S-Cross. Extra athleticism comes from more torque, while the suspension has been bolstered to provide flatter prowess in the bends.
It's also dropped more weight than Warnie from his hey-day. Wide-ranging changes have seen about 90kg shaved off the Swift, which means a sub one-tonne figure when stepping on the scales.
Set apart from the run-of-the-mill Swift courtesy of the different grille, side skirts, twin stainless steel exhaust pipes and 17-inch alloys with Continental rubber, the Sport also comes with "race-inspired” sports seats, seven-inch touch-screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, special interior treatments and sports pedals.
Safety is five-star, with inclusions such as a vibrating steering wheel to alert the driver to lane wandering, radar cruise control that maintains a safe distance from the car in front, along with dual brake sensors which can automatically apply the brakes to reduce or avoid a frontal accident.
Five colours are available, the hero yellow hue, along with blue, white, grey and black. All interiors are a combination of black and red with carbon-fibre looking features.
Capped-price servicing is available over five years for a total cost of $2761, but intervals are short at six months or every 10,000km.
Suzuki has a strong reputation for reliability, partly due to the short maintenance schedule.
Quick to get off the line, the Swift feels impressively punchy.
The same engine in the S-Cross was sprightly, but upping the torque output to 230Nm offers some serious poke from low in the rev range.
Yet it's getting into the twisty stuff where the new model excels. Testing the 2018 derivative after its predecessor, the latest offering is streets ahead. Sawing left and right offers predictable grip and confidence-inspiring cornering. It's well balanced and possesses greater ability than the price-tag indicates.
Keen drivers will like the slick-shifting six-speed manual, although the six-speed auto with paddle shifters will attract the majority of buyer love.
Extremely capable courtesy of blending cornering capability and a strong powertrain, the Suzuki Swift Sport possesses impressive dexterity at an affordable price point.
Undercutting the Euros at both the price tag and maintenance costs, it's a punchy hatch which offers solid bang for buck.
PRICE Starting from $24,990 plus on-roads for the manual, that makes it $3000 more than the GLX Swift with a 1.0-litre turbo and an automatic transmission.
ENGINE While the same engine you'll find in the Vitara and S-Cross, this 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo gains 230Nm (an extra 10Nm) - which equates to 4.2kg per Newton metre.
SUSPENSION Specific front suspension with Monroe struts and different bump stoppers along with recalibrated stabiliser bar. Rear shocks are Tenneco-made from Monroe and come from the Czech Republic. Specific torsion bar for greater stiffness.
Suzuki Swift Sport Turbo
PRICE $24,990 plus on-roads (manual, good buying)
WARRANTY AND SERVICING 3yr 100,000km (short) servicing $1814 over four years (mid-range)
ENGINE 1.4-litre turbo 4-cyl 103kW/230Nm FWD (pretty quick).
SAFETY 5-star, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, high beam assist, emergency autonomous braking (excellent)
THIRST 6.1 litres/100km (par for the course)
SPARE None, repair kit (becoming common)
BOOT 265 litres (small)