Suzuki has really done its homework with the all-new Suzuki Swift Sport, not just bringing to market a car that is fun to drive, but also brings all the features that car buyers in 2018 expect.
And that is more than what can be said for some of the competition.
OK, we will start off with what I think is the new Suzuki Swiftâ€™s weak point - the external styling.
The previous generation Swift, with styling that dated back to 2005, was still a good-looker when it was replaced last year with this new design.
You might say though that the slightly melted and bubbly look of the new Swift works that little bit better in the Swift Sport - it has a different grille and slightly rework front styling to the standard car.
You also get attractive 17â€³ alloy wheels, a small rear spoiler and some carbon-fibre type highlights down on the sill panels.
Before you ask, yes, the Swift Sport is available in colours other than the yellow (officially called â€˜Champion Yellowâ€™), these include an attractive metallic blue, charcoal grey, white and black.
Certainly this is one of the 2018 Suzuki Swift Sports real strong points.
A carry-over from the old model is the high roof and quite square shape that really maximizes headroom front and back.
Rear seat legroom is fairly restricted, while the boot, 55 litres larger than the old model, is respectably sized.
The feel throughout is generally very good, everything functions easily and things are well-placed, especially the 7â€³ centre touchscreen.
Visibility is also generally quite good, though the chunky C pillars do restrict some rear 3/4 visibility.
Stepping up to the Swift Sport gets you sportier seats, but I found the side-bolstering in the base just a little uncomfortable, and that wasnâ€™t even enduring long stints in the new Suzuki offering (a more svelte body than mine may not even notice this).
Suzuki has given the Swift Sport a functional and attractive driver info screen that is easy to cycle through via the steering wheel controls.
I mentioned the centre infotainment screen, this is where you will find a better than average operating system that provides both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with a reverse camera (now with guidelines) and sat-nav.
Suzuki has placed the audio input/USB and power outlet in the easy to access forward area of the centre console.
Cabin storage areas are all reasonably sized, and perhaps better than what you might get in some larger offerings.
Take note, the Swift Sport doesnâ€™t have a centre arm rest between the front seats, this does bring down comfort levels a tad and the sun visors donâ€™t give you complete coverage when used on the side windows (i.e. they are a bit short and stubby).
As mentioned previously, this is one of the 2018 Suzuki Swift Sports strong suits.
You get as standard the aforementioned Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, sat-nav, and reverse camera.
Iâ€™m also really pleased to report that Suzuki has also included as standard a full range of driver assist features including adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking.
Auto highbeam, auto LED headlights, leather steering wheel, tilt and reach steering adjustment, push-button ignition, and keyless entry all come as part of the package.
Drive and Engine
The numbers might seem minimal, weâ€™re talking just a 1.4 litre turbo-petrol engine that gives you 103kW/230Nm, however my time flogging the Swift Sport around the Broadford Race Track in Victoria had me quite impressed.
The circuit, if you arenâ€™t familiar with, has plenty of ups and downs and undulations, along with a couple of decent-sized straights - the Suzuki never felt wanting for any extra go.
Iâ€™m ecstatic to see that Suzuki has canned the CVT that features in the previous sporty Swift - in its place is a proper six-speed auto transmission and its a pearler.
Yes, the standard fitment is a six-speed manual, but after sampling both, my impression was that the auto version was just as willing and didnâ€™t erode the driving fun.
We didnâ€™t get to sample the new car on the roads, on the track though it displayed impressively low levels of understeer and felt generally really well-planted and reassuring when pushed in the bends.
Suzuki is promising 6.1 litres combined for both the manual and auto version and thatâ€™s very reasonable.
No compromises here - the new Swift Sport gets a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating.
Thereâ€™s the previously mentioned driver assist tech, including the AEB, along with lane-departure warning, two ISOFIX anchorage points and front, side and curtain airbags.
- Reasonable pricing
Not So Good
- Styling not as attractive as previous model
- No centre armrest
- Rear seat legroom
Suzuki is on a winner here with a car that delivers respectable hot-hatch performance in a package that doesnâ€™t ask you to make too many sacrifices.
A good combo of sporty and fun, but easy to drive and live with too, I can see Suzuki delivering a healthy number of Swift Sports to Aussie buyers.
It might be a little behind some of the competition in overall power and torque but with an 80kg weight reduction on the old model it is hard to feel like youâ€™re being shortchanged.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Suzuki Swift Sport
- Engine: 1.4 litre turbo-petrol producing 103kW/230Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed auto
- Safety: Five stars
- Warranty: 3yrs/100,000km
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $25,490 (manual) and $27,490 (auto)