Driven – 2012 Suzuki Swift Sport

When Suzuki Auto first opened shop in South Africa back in June 2008, the Suzuki Swift was one of the two models that featured at the launch. Since then the Swift has earned a good reputation for quality and build, which was entrenched even further when they launched the second edition last year. And now the Swift Sport 1600, the new flagship model of the Swift range, has just been launched under the slogan “Hot but Smart.”

Built on the 2nd generation Suzuki Swift, the Sport is a good looking car. It’s both quite aggressive and refined, a mix that will appeal to many drivers who want a genuinely sporty car. The new Swift Sport is also 10mm lower to the road than the previous model, which adds to the sporty stance and “says” that the Swift Sport hugs the road.

The front is dominated by the two large foglamp bezels with distinctive fins, the high-intensity headlamps with metallic grey coatings, and a large wide grill. From the sides, under-spoilers help to create the Sport’s low-slung look, and also promote smooth airflow along the underbody. Multi-spoke alloy wheels of 16 inches, shod with 195/50R16 rubber add to the sporty profile. The back is relatively plain until you look down and spot the twin exhaust pipes, metallic-grey diffuser and a striking rear roof-end spoiler.

The interior of the Swift Sport is nicely equipped, with hairline chrome instrument panel decorations, premium-look chronograph-style meter cluster and eye-catching red-stitched accents on the leather steering wheel, gear lever gaiter, sporty cloth seats, and stainless steel pedals. The metallic rings around the meters are thicker than those in the Swift and a metallic ring surrounds the multi-function display, resulting in a cluster of five rings, all easy to read. Unusually the speedo is marked in 30 km/h increments, with a little arrow to denote the 100 km/h mark.

The front seats are based on the comfortable seats of the new Swift, but with added support in the form of side-support pipes on the seat frame, and outlined in a red Suzuki Sport motif, with a “Sport” logo embroidered in red on the seats.

Other standard equipment includes automatic air conditioning, electric power steering, electric operation for the windows and side mirrors, six-speaker sound system including a CD player with MP3 support, USB port and remote keyless entry and starting. There is also a comprehensive trip computer, which can display the vehicle’s range, average fuel consumption, instant fuel consumption and more.

The sporty front bucket seats are comfortable and there’s lots of space all round. At the rear though, if the driver is over 6-feet or so, then legroom is compromised, but for us normal adults it works out fine. Boot space is average for the class, and can be further expanded when the 60:40 split rear seats backrest is folded down. There are also a number of storage spaces for oddments.

At the heart of the new Swift Sport is the new M16A 4-cylinder petrol-fed powerplant. From a capacity of 1 586 cc, it develops a healthy 100 kW of power and 160 Nm of torque, and drives the front wheels through a specially designed six-speed close-ratio manual transmission. It will sprint from the zero to 100 km/h in a quick 8.7 seconds, down from 8.9 seconds in the previous model, and has a top speed of 195 km/h.

Although the new Swift Sport has more equipment than the previous model, it is 30 kg lighter resulting in better handling and a lower fuel consumption of 6.5l/100 km in the combined cycle. CO2 emissions have also been significantly reduced, down to 153g/km from 165g/km in the previous vehicle.

With safety a priority for Suzuki, the standard spec includes six airbags, ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes, with ABS and EBD, and Brake Assist, which in turn earned the Swift Sport a 5-star Euro NCAP rating – the world’s highest vehicle safety rating.

The new Suzuki Swift Sport is not one of the fastest hot hatches on the market, but it is “hot” enough to thrill, and truly fun to drive. The motor just loves to be revved, and keeping your foot flat to the floor, it will accelerate right to the 6 900 rpm mark before you need to change up a cog, which, with the light clutch action and slick changing short “throw” gearbox makes for sporty changes.

The ride is on the firm side but not uncomfortable. On the open road the Swift Sport cruises quietly on the freeway at the speed limit, or higher if allowed, while a quick change down brought immediate response for overtaking.

The Swift Sport is just the injection that Suzuki needed in the range. The extra power transforms the Sport into a really enjoyable car to drive, and it sounds so good.

The new Swift Sport sells for R213 900, which includes metallic paint as well as a comprehensive three-year/100 000 km warranty, a six-year corrosion cover, a four-year/60 000 km service plan, an AA roadside assistance plan, incorporating break-down towing, 24-hour road patrols, battery, fuel and locksmith call-out services, and emergency medical rescue.

Engine & Gearbox
Accel 0-100 8.7 s
Co2 153 g/Km
Cylinders 4
Engine CC 1 586 cm3
Engine Design inline
Engine Location front
Engine size and detail 1.6
Fuel per 100km – average 6.5 Litres
Fuel Type petrol
Gearbox manual
Gears 6
Max Speed 195 Kph
Power KW 100 kW
Power Revs 6 900 rpm
Torque NM 160 Nm
Torque Revs 4 400 rpm
Transmission Type manual
Valves per Cyl 4
Air Con std
Alloy Wheels std
Audio CD
Central Locking keyless
Climate Control std
Electric Mirrors std
Electric Windows std
High-Level Brake Light std
Keyless Go std
Multi-Function Steering std
On-Board Computer std
Power Steering std
Seats 5
Xenon Headlights std
Safety & Security
ABS std
Airbag Quantity 6
ASC std
Brake Assist std
Curtain Airbags std
Driver Airbag std
EBD std
ESP std
Front Passenger Airbag std
Front Side Airbag std
SRS Airbags Yes
Boot Max 533 litres
Boot Min 210 litres
Doors 5
Gross Weight 1 520 Kg
Ground Clearance 130 mm
Height 1 510 mm
Kerb Weight 1 060 Kg
Length 3 890 mm
Tank Capacity 42 Litres
Turning Circle 10.4 m
Tyre Size – front 195/50 R16
Tyre Size – Rear 195/50 R16
Wheelbase 2 430 mm
Width 1 695 mm
Suspension & Drivetrain
Drive Wheels front
Plans Valid from First Year of Registration
Service Intervals 15 000 km / 1 year Km
Service Period 48 Months
Service Plan 60 000 Km
Warranty 100 000 Km
Warranty Period 36 Months