2016 Suzuki Swift Sport review
Robert Pepper’s 2016 Suzuki Swift Sport review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety, verdict and rating.
In a nutshell: The Swift Sport is a basic, unpretentious five-door little hatchback with enough sporting character to make daily errands that little bit more enjoyable.
2016 Suzuki Swift Sport
Price : from $24,490 (plus ORC); Warranty : three-year, 100,000 kilometres; Safety : five-star ANCAP (35.55 / 37); Engine : 1.6L 4-cyl petrol, 100kW @ 6900 rpm, 160Nm @ 4400 rpm; Transmission : six-speed manual (CVT auto option); Body : 3890mm (L); 1695m (W); 1510m (H); wheelbase 2430mm; Turning Circle : 10.4m; 0-100km/hr : approx. 7.5 seconds; Ground Clearance : 130mm; Seats : 5; Tare Weight : 1060kg (unladen); GVM : 1520kg; Towing : not rated; Fuel Tank : 42 litres; Spare : none; Thirst : 6.5L/100km ADR81/02 combined cycle; Fuel : petrol (95 RON)
The Suzuki Swift Sport is the sports version of the normal Swift hatchback. The differences include revised and lowered suspension, a more powerful engine, six-speed not five-speed gearbox and more that we’ve described in this blog post. The result is a sportscar in the classic hot-hatchback style; very much based on the donor car, with just a few well-considered changes here and there, more mechanical than styling.
The Swift is also, by modern standards, very basic as you’d expect for the price. The front differential is open (albeit with traction control), no special limited-slip function. The stability control system is on or off, no sports mode. There is no driving mode selection to be made, no artificial sound enhancement. The Swift is basic, but that means it’s also authentic, in some ways it’s a ’90s hatchback for sale in 2016. That’s a compliment.
Room & Practicality
A car this small doesn’t have a lot of room to play with, so up front there’s no centre console. There’s the usual glovebox, doorpockets and drinks holders. Above the glovebox is an odd kind of ledge, you’d look at it to store things but it doesn’t look like items would stay in it. There is a lot of headroom, even for our 6ft 2″ tester. The car never really feels cramped, thanks to its squarish design which maximises internal space.
The second row is surprisingly spacious for this size of car, but limousine it is not.
Did you notice the “curry hook” on the back of the passenger’s seat? It’s a nice little feature!
Moving into the boot and so far, the Swift hasn’t done anything wrong, more failed to overly impress. But the boot will be a problem for some:
It’s very small. This is not a criticism, it’s a simple tradeoff because you can’t have a car that small which seats five and has a big boot. It’s just something buyers need to be aware of. You can always lay the second row flat with its 40/60 split if you need more space, and it is good to see such a split on a car this small.
There is also a clever false floor system (pictured above) which allows a bit more boot depth. There’s no tie-down points but with a space that small you don’t really need any. The tiny parcel shelf is removeable.
To sum up, the Swift is small on the outside, uses its space well inside, but doesn’t have a lot of little practical touches and you need to be sure you can live with a tiny boot.
On the inside
The cabin of the Swift Sport is no bad place to be. All the controls are Japanese standard so easy to use. The Sport has red stitching which lends the vehicle a sporty air, as does some of the exterior garnish. Happily, Suzuki have managed to keep the level of cosmetic flourishes commensurate with the car’s price and ability, a restraint not every Japanese manufacturer is able to exercise.
The photo below shows the dash. It’s clean, good looking and modern, if a little feature-free. The centre display is changed by two stalks coming out of the tacho and speedo. But do you see a problem?
Look at the speed. Where’s 50? And 70? And 80? At least 100km/h is clearly marked, but other than that, it is hard to work out at a glance what speed you’re doing. The photo also shows the single mode stability control set to Off; not that we recommend doing so, as the car has so much grip and the stability control is well calibrated so it makes no difference.
The seats look sportily appropriate, with good side bolstering. Unfortunately, they are too flat. After the test one of our crew sent me a photo of a dining room chair…I looked at it in confusion until the next message arrived – “found a seat as flat as the Swift”. Fair point. The steering wheel is reach and tilt adjustable, but that seat really needs a seatbase angle adjustment.
The infotainment unit is the usual touch-screen, but not the same one we reviewed in the Vitara RT-S long-term review and in detail here. This one has a CD player! It’s actually quite a decent little unit to use; snappy to respond, clear and useful with just four menu options of sound, navigation, phone and settings. Thankfully, the volume button is a dial not a touch-screen. I still prefer to use my phone for navigation though.
Overall, the Swift Sport has an interior that reflects its price, with the only mis-steps being the speedo and the seat adjustment.
Performance, Ride and Handling
On the open road: If you like working for your drive you’ll appreciate the Swift Sport. Nothing is done for you; the car responds well to finesse and skill, it will show up mistakes but not punish, there’s no easy power on demand and it has quite incredible levels of corner grip. The suspension is overly harsh and prone to banging, but that does in a way improve the experience, make it a bit raw. You need to watch your power application out of sharp corners lest there be wheelspin, but there’s no torque steer, probably because there’s not enough torque to worry about rather than because of Suzuki’s clever engineering.
There’s more than sufficient power below 100km/h, but you will not get the thrill of acceleration nor a spine-tingling soundtrack. Second gear is too long, reaching 100km/h…it would be better to have shortened it to an 85km/h top speed to better keep the engine on song. Brakes are superb, and directional changes are a specialty both due to the dimensions and weight. Yet for all that, the steering is not quite as communicative as perhaps it could be, especially given the firm suspension and grippy tyres.
When freeway cruising the revs are a little too high for maximum comfort, and the car can be knocked around by the wind. It does the job, but it’s not the top choice for interstate drives.
The Swift is a good little drive, and any keen driver will enjoy it on their favourite roads, but it’s not one of the finest hot hatches for any money.
The Swift scores a 5-star rating with 35.55 out of 37, with 2 out of 3 points for bonuses. However, that score is a bit misleading because there’s no active safety – for example no AEB, active cruise control, lane keep assist or blind spot monitoring. There’s not even a reversing camera or sensors. Still, at this price point those items aren’t expected, but it would be good see at least one of them, and the owner’s manual does indicate that such items are fitted to other Swifts.
There are three, easily accessible child restraint points plus ISOFIX seat tethers.
Pricing & Equipment
There is only one Swift Sport for $24,490 plus onroads. The automatic, a CVT, is an extra $2000 to take $26,490, and there are no options.
The cheapest Swift (non-sport) is the 1.4L GL for $15,990 and the most expensive non-Sport is the auto-only 1.4L GLX Navi SE for $21,990.