Skip to main content

You are here

The Top Gear car review: Suzuki Swift Sport

£8,944£14,299
8/10
Overall verdict

For: 

Classic junior hot hatch drive for a bargain price

Against: 

Some will still yearn for more power
The Swift Sport isn't the most muscular of supermini hot hatches, but smart thinkers will still see the appeal.

Find new & used cars

Our choice

Suzuki

1.6 Sport 3dr

£13,549
8/10
44mpg
8.70s
136bhp
147g/km

What we say: 

Can you spot the difference? Us neither. But who cares: the latest Swift Sport is better than ever

What is it?

The second iteration of one of TopGear’s favourite budget hatches has got its first full makeover since 2006. Don’t be misled by the familiar looks, for this really is a new car. This time round, Suzuki has given it more power but also managed to keep the weight down, to just 1,045kg. This is hundreds of kilos less than comparable superminis, which is what makes the Swift Sport such a thriller.

Suzuki has given the chassis an extensive engineering overhaul, subtly beefed up the styling and mated the high-revving 1.6-litre engine to a Sport-specific six-speed gearbox. It has all the ingredients of a genuine cracker.

Driving

The Swift Sport lives up to its considerable promise on the road. The standard Swift already handles really well and, with far-reaching changes for the keenly developed suspension, the Sport is even better. It drives brilliantly, with bags of composure, and actually harks back to classic hot hatches of old with its tenacity and clean dynamic interaction. It’s faithful enough to let you use every last drop of performance in delightful confidence (and is backed up by standard ESP, something hot hatches of old sure didn’t have).

The 1.6-litre engine is derived from the old one but now gets variable intake valve timing. This brings more power and an even revvier nature, with peak power of 136bhp coming in at a screaming 7,000rpm. Torque is up too though, and the engine speed it comes in at is lowered. Combined with the new super-snickety six-speed gearbox, it’s now even easier to drive the nuts off the hot Swift.

On the inside

The interior is just right, with a fine set of seats and a tactile steering wheel ensuring the must-haves box is firmly ticked. It’s well equipped too, even coming with xenon headlights as standard, while the extra refinement of the new Swift means this one is quieter and less tiring than the old one on a run. Despite the sprightly handling, it even rides with decent composure.

Last year’s new five-door was welcome and both rear and boot are big enough to pass muster.

Owning

The Swift Sport costs just £13,749. For a car that’s this much fun, with this much equipment, that’s a bargain. However, Suzuki has weaved in many more benefits besides. This one is more economical than before, averaging 44.1mpg (another benefit of its lightweight build), while a 10 per cent lower CO2 rating of 147g/km brings tax bonuses too. The only gripe for owners are short 9,000- mile service intervals. Everyone else can stretch them longer, Suzuki: why can’t you?

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
The fastest
1.6 Sport [Nav] 3dr
8.7s 147g/km 44.1 136 £13,799
The cheapest
1.2 SZ2 3dr
12.3s 116g/km 56.5 94 £8,944
The greenest
1.2 Dualjet SZ4 [Nav] 5dr
12.3s 99g/km 65.7 90 £12,644

Wildcard

How about something completely different?

Wildcard

8/10

Mini Hatch

£12,145£31,260
The Mini Cooper is another relatively fuel-efficient warm hatch that handles little short of brilliantly, although it's not as affordable as this