Here's why the 2018 Suzuki Swift Sport is perfect..
Suzuki have always had the ability to make fun cars to throw around backroads, usually slightly under powered but always capable of putting a smile on your face. The previous generation Swift was no exception, slightly under powered but a superbly fun car for any walk of life.
Fast forward to 2018 and Suzuki have released an 'all new', totally redesigned Swift Sport and once again, the figures say it's underpowered (138bhp and 230Nm) but finally it has a weight advantage. Coming in just under a tonne, the power to weight makes this a significantly faster car than the figures would imply, while allowing semi-frugal fuel economy (50mpg easily).
Costing just under £18,000 on the road and coming with most things as standard, have Suzuki finally nailed it? Price, performance and.. economy?
The back end of the Swift Sport isn't a looker, but it's far from the worst looking hot hatch rear end..
The first thing you notice driving the Swift Sport is how connected you immediately feel to the car. The steering has a nice weight and response, the brakes give you good pedal feel and you don't feel exceptional flex from the car in harsher corners. The only thing which threw me off was when the hazard lights came on for no reason half way through a corner, probably because the slightly oversensitive ABS module thought it was about to become scrap.
The gearbox throw is still slightly too long (as per the previous generation) and doesn't always feel that great but that's because I'm comparing it to a Golf GTI manual, a car considerably more expensive.
The interior is far from exceptional, however for the cost it's more than acceptable. Harder plastics are used throughout and the infotainment is in desperate need of an update - but it all works well. The seats are comfortable and rear legroom is surprisingly vast. The boot isn't gigantic but has more than enough space for all the daily rubbish you can fill it with.
Performance wise it's a surprising thing. With 138bhp it shouldn't be able to keep up with faster cars, but it does it without hassle. The 0-62 time of 8.1 seconds is actually open to interpretation as I regularly got it 0.5-1 second faster on a flat bit of road (and a full fuel tank).
The Swift Sport hugs corners like an AWD, never even giving an idea of letting go. Understeer was only possible when you really wanted it to - otherwise it held without failure and made for a great back road blaster. Hit the motorways and you're not out of place either, it cruises extremely well and you've got bundles of power to overtake. However as the speeds increase, the 138bhp power output becomes more obvious - the aerodynamics can only be so good on a £18,000 car.
So why is the 2018 Suzuki Swift Sport perfect?
This is a vehicle which is not only capable to bring a smile to anyone driving it, but it won't cost a fortune doing it. Suzuki have a great reliability history and because the car doesn't slide everywhere (weighing so little), servicing costs won't be astronomical either.
Simply, it's perfect because it does everything perfectly. Quiet and refined, performance driven and with punch, spacious and comfortable, affordable and cost effective. It's bundled with technology as standard and it won't run your bank balance dry. While it has faults, for £18,000 on the road new it's entirely expected and understandable.