Review of the new 2018 Suzuki Swift Sport

When the new 2018 Swift Sport was released for sale in June, our very own Graphic Designer Jemma couldn't wait to get her hands on one. So now 3 weeks since taking delivery, and as an existing Swift Sport owner, we asked her to give us her first impressions of the new model and an honest review of how it compares to the existing model.

I'll start by being totally upfront and saying that I have always been a fan of the Swift Sport. This is my third Sport having owned two of the previous model - the standard and then the sat nav version. That said, I have promised to make this a totally honest and frank review of the new model and before I get onto the 2018 model, I'll start by taking you through my thoughts on the existing Swift Sport.

I first got my hands on the old model back in 2013 not long after it had launched. I was driving a Toyota Yaris, which at the time I was quite content with, but after getting in the driving seat of the Sport for the first time, I was hooked. Admittedly my Yaris was a 2007 model, and this was a car 6 years younger - but there was just something about it which I'm pretty sure any other Sport owner reading this will relate to.

"..after getting in the driving seat of the Sport for the first time, I was hooked."

The previous model was without doubt a bargain. You got so much car for so little money, that I couldn't quite understand how Suzuki had managed to make a profit producing it. The Swift Sport had auto headlights, electric folding wing mirrors, bluetooth, a USB port to plug my old, trusty 80gb ipod into, climate control and (very) comfortable sports seats. And that was just the interior. Under the bonnet was a naturally aspirated 1.6 engine which just loved to be revved.

Given the sporty nature and power of the car, I fully expected to be visiting the petrol station more often but incredibly it was quite the opposite. In the warmer, summer months the Sport would achieve up to 54MPG if I was light on the accelerator (you didn't need to be heavy!) and was economical with the air-con. The only quarm I had with my 2013 Sport was the lack of sat nav so when Suzuki upgraded it in 2015 to include this as standard, I jumped at the chance to retire my outdated TomTom.

Fast forward to March 2017 when Suzuki unveiled the brand new Swift at the Geneva Motor Show, showcasing a completely new look and heaps of new on-board technology. I waited with bated breath for the announcement of a new Sport model, but it wasn't until the actual release of the new Swift in June 2017 when leaked images showing a Japanese brochure and a much sportier looking Swift Sport in bright yellow, began doing the rounds. I immediately fell in love!

Finally, at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Suzuki officially unveiled the new model and I was relieved to see it was everything I was hoping it would be.

Quite often manufacturers release a 'concept' image of a new model, and then the final version looks nothing like it. I was concerned this may be the case with the Swift Sport but I was happily proved wrong.

Fast forward to May this year, and the final pricing and offers were announced. Whilst I was a little disappointed with the price increase, which to be honest was more than I had expected, after driving the car for the first time I could appreciate what I was getting for my money! When Suzuki then announced a special launch offer, to quote my boss, it was 'a no brainer.' I put my name on the list, and once again, my patience was put to the test whilst I waited for its arrival!

Luckily, just a few weeks later my brand new 2018 Swift Sport arrived. It looked good - really good! The yellow paint perfectly complemented the carbon skirting; though, this was the case with the other colours too. When I opened the drivers side door, the 5 door setup became apparent as I didn't need to swing the door out as wide as I did in my previous 3 door Swift Sport. This was an unexpected, but welcome improvement. My eyes initially fell on the red gloss accents within the car, and this was my first minor criticism. The red accents don't match the yellow exterior paint, but once you're inside the car - this really isn't noticeable.

The sports seats have changed slightly and whilst they seem to hug you better, this is to the slight detriment of seat size. Let's just say - there's not a lot of width to get your behind nestled into, however that said they are very comfortable.

"The yellow paint perfectly complemented the carbon skirting.."

The interior of the new Sport definitely feels more upmarket than the previous model. The digital dial on the automatic climate control, the flat-bottomed steering wheel, the digital readout between the rev and speed counters and the introduction of Apple CarPlay/Android Auto all contribute to this. When Suzuki initially announced the price, I was struggling to understand where all that extra money could have possibly gone - but now it was beginning to make sense.

You also get a bunch of safety kit as standard including advanced forward detection which means the car will alert you if it thinks you're about to plough into the car in front, and apply the brakes for you if you're a little slow on the uptake! Lane departure warning displays lights on the dashboard and will gently guide the car back between the lines. High beam assist also comes as standard (just incase you forget to turn them off when a car is coming towards you) and Suzuki have now tagged on a reversing camera, but strangely no reversing sensors.

Boot size was a hindrance with the previous model, and although I quite happily got my weekly shopping in it, I struggled with anything larger. Suzuki listened, and the new model has seen a significant increase to 265 litres.

So, onto the important bit - how does the new Swift Sport drive? In short, very well. The previous 1.6 engine loved to be revved, and it felt like it gave you more and more the higher up the counter you went. You don't get this with the new 1.4 boosterjet because of the turbo, but instead you get an instant thrust of power from low down in the rev range, so you don't feel like you need to ask more and more from it. This also helps with fuel economy. Despite having the climate control on all the time, the engine being new plus giving it a spirited drive, I've still seen my MPG average as high as 52 (thanks in part to the new start/stop system). Given that Suzuki report a combined MPG of 50.4, this is very promising. I thought I would really miss the character of the 1.6 engine, but I don't.

The overall ride of the new Swift Sport is more refined as well. Suzuki have overhauled the chassis and suspension, so hitting a pothole or going over any bump is no longer a teeth-clenching experience. The new model absorbs them well - a very welcome improvement. This change is also noticeable at high-speeds, meaning a more comfortable motorway ride. Don't think for one moment though that this has been to the detriment of the handling. The new Swift Sport (like Julia Roberts once said) still "corners like it's on rails".

"..the new Swift Sport still corners like it's on rails."

Old Swift Sport vs. New Swift Sport

Old Swift Sport New Swift Sport
Weight 1045kg 975kg
Power 134bhp 138bhp
Torque 160nm 230nm
0-60mph 8.4s 7.8s
Top Speed 121mph 130mph
Average MPG 44 50
CO2 Emissions 147g/km 125g/km
Boot Size 211 litres 265 litres
17" Alloy Wheels Yes Yes
Sports Seats Yes Yes
Leather Steering Wheel Yes Yes
Climate Control Yes Yes
Cruise Control Yes (Basic) Yes (Adaptive)
AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking) No Yes
Satellite Navigation Yes Yes
Auto Start/Stop No Yes
Lane Departure Warning No Yes
Apple CarPlay/Android Auto No Yes
Reversing Camera No Yes

So to summarise. After nearly 3 weeks and 1000 miles, I have very little to criticise of the new Swift Sport. Initially, a bone of contention I had was with the recommended retail price - but having driven it and after factoring in all the kit you get, it actually still represents good value for money. Throw into the mix that Suzuki are offering £1,000 off until the end of September, and the Swift Sport is almost the bargain its predecessor was.

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

Positives Negatives
Quicker, quieter & a more fuel efficient engine The base of the seats could be a little wider
Heaps of technology, with Apple CarPlay working seamlessly. The gloss red interior accents are not colour matched to the exterior
More refined & comfortable ride with plenty of grip Although there is a reversing camera, reversing sensors would have been a welcome addition
More angular & sporty exterior
Bigger boot

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