SWIFT: a soaring bird, an author of renown, an adjective for rapid pace ... and a jolly good little hatchback.

I’m not sure about the writer (Jonathan Swift of Gulliver’s Travels fame) but the pacy, soaring bits certainly sprang to mind when I finally got behind the wheel of the new Suzuki Swift Sport.


Well, the lovely people at Suzuki invited me to an event in Ireland for the launch of the hot version of their amiable supermini which involved putting the car through its paces at a race circuit.

Sadly, due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to drop out of the event so didn’t get to run the rule over the car on unfettered Tarmac. Still, the missed circuit-session told me that the Japanese manufacturer was happy to see its motor tested in a high performance manner.

And, after a short wait for delivery, several days of road-test told provided the reason why. For the Swift Sport delivers a genuinely simulating driver experience. Not hairy, lairy and scary but plenty quick enough to put a smile on your face (0-62mph in 8.2 seconds, top speed of 130mph).

With a 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine producing lots of useable torque, and a total kerb weight that is 80kg less than its predecessor, the lighter and quicker Swift Sport is grip-tastic on corners and handles in truly rewarding fashion.

In the looks department, the five-door car has an athletic stance and style is enhanced by an exclusive front grille and bumper, aerodynamic front-lip spoiler, side skirts, rear diffuser and roof-end spoiler, 17in polished alloy wheels and dual exhaust tailpipes.

The interior continues the sporty theme, with accent panels, colour-contrasted gauges and precision dials giving visual impact. The fabric-trimmed semi-bucket seats are supportive and the only slight let-down is some hard-surface plastics.

Features include satellite navigation, smartphone link display and adaptive cruise control.

The fulfilling driving experience is aided by the ‘Boosterjet’ engine, mated to a six-speed manual transmission, which delivers high power with good fuel economy (50.4mpg combined). The new turbocharger helps the engine produce impressive torque from low in the rev range, while also pulling willingly from mid-range revs in the higher gears.

The previous Swift Sport was a joy to drive and its successor is in the same vein. It ticks all the right boxes as a stylish, pacy package of fun. Price: £17,999 OTR.