Suzuki Swift Sport
The 2006 Suzuki Swift Sport has a highly recognisable profile
- Fun car to drive quickly; also at home around town
- Comfortable racing-style bucket seats
- Sporty red highlights on exterior trim
- Affordable and durable all-round package
- Absence of sixth gear - inclusion would make cruising more refined
- Rear seats only really suitable for children
- Lack of soundproofing means noise levels can irritate on long journeys or at high speeds
- Brand image is weak in comparison with mainstream rivals
The Swift Sport is the high performance derivative of the capable Suzuki Swift. The three-door hatchback offers an exciting driving experience in a highly practical and stylish package. Its supermini size, agile handling and reasonable fuel economy make this an ideal city car, while its 1.6-litre engine and sports chassis are equally capable of addressing open, challenging roads and longer journeys.
Suzuki engineers honed the award-winning Swift for European drivers, and much of the chassis development and refinement resulted from extensive testing in the UK, as well as Germany and Austria.
The Sport's performance and capabilities have been achieved by blending the high-revving 1.6 litre VVT engine with a sports-tuned version of the Swift's already capable chassis. However, Electronic Stability Control is provided for added security, and is both efficient and yet not overly intrusive.
Externally the Swift Sport, reminiscent of the Mini Cooper, shares the eye-catching looks of the Swift such as the muscular flared wheel arches and bold sills. However the Sport gains features such as new front and rear bumpers, rear roof spoiler, 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear fog lights and chunky chrome twin exhausts to provide a sportier, more aggressive look.
Inside, the sporty look is continued with bucket-type sports seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, a black and red combination of upholstery and fine details such as chrome-plated inner door handles and a silver-finish gearshift knob.
Our verdict on the Suzuki Swift Sport
The Swift Sport is undeniably a car for enthusiasts, with a performance edge over many supermini hatchback rivals. However, it is not only in terms of performance that the Swift Sport excels. It is comfortable, practical and economical to own and benefits from a raft of safety and security features, too. In all, the Sport offers refinement and performance and is excellent value.
The Suzuki Swift Sport is surprisingly good value for money and offers good fuel economy on the combined cycle. The Japanese manufacturer has a good reputation for reliability, and the Swift Sport's quality exterior and interior build are protected by a three-year vehicle warranty.
Space and practicality
While there is plenty of leg and headroom at the front, space in the rear is limited and adult passengers are easily cramped. The Swift Sport offers good luggage carrying flexibility, with the rear seatbacks able to be folded to expand the luggage capacity of the boot. There is also a plethora of useful storage spaces and cubbies around the cabin, adding to the supermini's practical nature.
Controls and display
The controls and displays are simple, effective and attractive and are positioned in such a way that makes their use readily intuitive. The Sport offers an array of features more at home in premium models, such as audio controls on the steering wheel, automatic climate control, outside temperature display, heated electric door mirrors and driver's seatbelt and door ajar warning lamps.
Superior ride quality and handling are provided in equal measure, resulting in good standards of comfort. Most road imperfections are dispatched with ease - even large bumps taken at relative high speeds. Meanwhile, the bucket seats with large side bolsters offer an exceptional combination of comfort and support.
Like its predecessor, this generation of the Swift Sport features keyless entry. It's a very useful feature and makes access easy when you're struggling with shopping, for example. An electronic immobiliser is also standard.
The Swift Sport has a good level of active and passive safety measures, although is not a class-leader in this field. Electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist and electronic stability control all complement the responsive and agile chassis to help prevent an accident. In the event of impact, protection measures include driver and passenger front and side airbags, curtain airbags and brake and clutch pedals that are specially designed to mitigate leg-injuries.
The Swift Sport offers great driving appeal, with Suzuki successfully combining a driver-focused cabin design and the car's sporty dynamics. The 1.6-litre engine is mated to a close-ratio five-speed manual transmission and an uprated clutch that offers a slick shifting action. This allows rapid and positive gear changes that serve to enhance the driving experience.
Family car appeal
The Sport comes in three-door form only and is too small in the back for constant family use. The Swift Sport could however serve as a handy second car in support of a larger people carrier or estate.
First car appeal
The Sport variant is possibly not the best introduction to the Swift range. Novice drivers will likely be priced out on in insurance terms, but if any do have deep pockets the car's abilities could prove intimidating.
Quality and image
With its extensive package of standard fit features, attractive overall styling and attention to detail on the interior styling, too, the Swift Sport creates a good impression of quality. Indeed, it could be said Suzuki is now leading the Japanese marques for value. In terms of image, cars like BMW's popular Mini might still hold more street credibility with the younger end of its target market, but the smart and modern Swift Sport can more than match its rivals with style and performance, too.
Benefiting from keyless entry there is no fumbling in bags or pockets for keys to gain access to the car, and the doors are opened simply by pushing a button on either front door handle. Front seat passengers should encounter few problems getting into and out of the Swift, but the lack of rear doors means rear seat passengers fare worse. The boot opens easily thanks to an electromagnetic catch that requires only a light touch to release it.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
The radio/CD player is integrated into the central fascia, and can be operated using either simple one-touch push button controls or those usefully mounted on the steering wheel. The system features MP3-compatibility and speed-sensing volume control.
Colours and trim
There is a choice of three external paint colours: metallic silver, black metallic and a pearlescent red. The interior continues the sporting look with a combination of black and red upholstery throughout, including red stitching on the gearshift. The comfortable bucket sports seats are covered in a pleasant and tactile fabric, the plastics of the dash and centre console look sturdy and details such as a chrome rim around the tachometer suggest overall refinement and quality of trim.
Parking the small and agile Swift Sport is pretty straightforward, with the power steering offering plenty of assistance. That said, the downward curve of the bonnet means the driver cannot actually see the front of the car - not an issue once the driver is familiar with the vehicle, but worth looking out for to start.
A tyre repair kit replaces the spare wheel of other Swift models.
Petrol engine options - 1.6-litre (136bhp). Transmission options: 6-speed manual gearbox standard. Trim levels: one trim level for Sport variant.
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Mini Cooper Pricier purchase than the Swift Sport but has great residuals and brand appeal
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