Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Fire up the... new Suzuki Swift Sport
Each and every morning, without fail, it spins a web right above my back gate, and every other morning I'll forget it's there and get a faceful of silk and flies.
It's annoying, but I wouldn't exactly move house out of arachnid-induced frustration. It was much the same story with the outgoing version of Suzuki's Swift Sport, which had a couple of annoying niggles. In particular, the boot lip's always been a bit too high, which meant lifting bags or suitcases into the back was harder than it should've been. Yet I could forgive it that - and just about everything else - because of the way it went.
The old Swift Sport is still one of the best handling hatchbacks I've ever got my hands on. All of which makes this new version the difficult second album from Suzuki Swift - given how brilliant the original was, surely the larger, lardier replacement can only be a bit worse?
The Swift Sport's not a numbers sort of car but given that's where most of the improvements have been made I'll hit you with some anyway; the 1.6 engine now knocks out 136bhp, making it punchier than its predecessor's, but with carbon emissions now at 147g/km it's cleaner too, and you'll get 44mpg on a good run, 10% more than before. It's also a little larger inside and out, a little quicker and - naturally - a fraction pricer than the old one. It's also something you can't stack up with statistics - to my mind, it's better looking too.
So has it strayed from the winning formula? It's not the reassuring story the minor irritations tell you; that rev-happy engine's still a tiny bit thrashy around town, the interior's still a bit gloomy on longer trips and yes, the boot lip's still too high. It's probably not the best supermini if you're 117 years old, but if you're 17 and value thrills over frills here's the good news.
The new Swift Sport is brilliant.
Because it's a smoother drive the steering doesn't talk to quite as animatedly any more but in every other respect the new one's a belter - if you value handling over grip and power which is better being used on the road than bragged about at the bar, then you'll love the Sport.
It isn't perfect and it's a car of few superlatives, but only because there's no accurate way to measure how much fun it is.