Readers Write

I tried to buy a Suzuki Swift Sport. Twice. And Failed.

Yes, I did try to buy a Suzuki Swift Sport. Twice. And failed. I know, you immediately think I’m either a nut bar or just not that smart but please bear with me…

I LIKE SUZUKI PRODUCTS products. As a kid my older brothers had Suzuki motorbikes. A TS 250 scrambler and a GSX 750 road bike.

The scrambler was quite high, and being a shorty I struggled a little to control it but once I got it going it was great. Go anywhere, fast enough and tough as a brick you-know-what.

The GSX 750 was slightly different. Low and fast. And I mean fast. Especially for a 15-year-old. That’s me. That thing was quick. When I was on the back my brother would say hold on and boot it. It took all my strength to stay upright as my arms slowly gave into the G-Forces of acceleration and he leant over the front wheel to keep it down. Scary as hell, but fun.

Now both those bikes had a hard time. The engines were thrashed and the bikes were crashed. And they kept going.

We lived in a dead end street. A total of 30 houses. At the end of the street was a barbed wire fence and paddock.  One game we played with the GSX 750 was who can accelerate to the fastest speed and stop before wrapping themselves and the bike in the barbed-wire fence.

You drove to the top of the street, turned and then stopped.  Revved the engine, dropped the clutch and stood over the front wheel keeping it down while accelerating down the street and watching the speedo at the same time. You could just get to third before you were standing on the back brake, pulling on the front brake and changing down as fast as possible to stop the bike before it hit the fence.

Now I know you’re thinking bulls%^$t. But this is a true story. Boys will be boys.

I never won. My older brother did but on that attempt he put the bike sideways into the fence and we all ran down and pulled him and the bike back upright.  While laughing hysterically of course and demanding to know the speed.  I can’t remember what it was but it was fast. We stopped the game after that run.

Both those bikes were trashed and crashed. The GSX 750 was pranged a few times and was eventually sold.  The TS 250 had the privilege of being ridden to the top of a massive gravel hill and as my brother turned to come down it stalled. Gravity took over and it started to fall downwards.  He couldn’t hold it so just stepped off it and it fell about a hundred meters down a slope going end over end. He actually rode it home. It was never the same after that so he sold it and bought a car.

The reason for that story is that I think the fun I had on those bikes caused a bias towards Suzuki products. I have owned three Suzuki Vitaras and loved them. So when it came time to buy a small runabout hatch I immediately wanted a Suzuki Swift Sport.

Also since BMW started building the Mini I see the Suzuki Sport as a poor man’s Mini. I like Minis as well because when I was young a friend had one and we had a ball in that. But that’s another story.

Attempt One. Approx 2008

Needing a smaller hatch the wife and I headed to a Suzuki dealership in the outer western suburbs of Melbourne. We went in. I drooled over the sport and she looked at the base model. The sport was about $25K and the GL less. After the standard sales pitch we took the GL for a spin. 1.5-litre engine and 74kW. Yawn.

We both liked it but it was gutless and there was no boot. I mean. None. You would struggle to fit a cut lunch in there.

“That’s a concern,” she said.

Back to the dealership.  Now for the Sport.  Nice and shiny with sport bits, 1.6-litre engine and 92kW. Now 92kW just doesn’t make it to real power territory. More hinting at real power but as the car weighs nothing and it handles pretty well it was a fun drive.

“We’ll think about it,” we said to the salesman, got his card and left. After much debating about the non-existent boot and the performance in general we decided to buy the Sport if we could get a deal. She wanted an automatic but we decided for the Sports manual.

So I rang the dealership.  Couldn’t get the salesman so left a message. Two days later I rang again and spoke to him. 

“We really want to look at buying the Suzuki Sport,” I said, to indicate to him he wasn’t wasting his time. We were going to buy it as my wife’s company car so she could claim tax on it so I asked “what’s the finance rate”.

“I don’t know,” the salesman said. I waited and he didn’t say anything.

“Can you put me onto your finance guy then,” I asked. “Sure,” he said and I waited on the phone as he looked for the finance guy. “He’s not available at the moment,” was his reply when he came back to the phone.

I waited again and nothing. “Can he call me to discuss finance options,” I asked. “Sure,” the salesman responded, took my number and hung up.  That was the last we heard from the dealership.

Now, call me crazy, and many of my friends do, but asking for the finance rate seems like a pretty good buying signal to me.  So after waiting a week to hear from those yoyos we gave up trying to buy a Suzuki.

I was wasting time going through car ads again as the boot issue had reared its ugly head when I saw a 2003 Mercedes A160 for sale, 30,000km on the clock, for the same price as the Suzuki. And it has a boot. And it was an automatic.

Now I know somewhere on planet earth there’s an motoring journalist waking up at night screaming as he relives rolling down the track after taking the A160 through the moose test, but, Mercedes did fix the suspension and lots of other things after that so I figured what the heck. 

With a complete lack of moose in Australia I felt safe.

And airbags everywhere, quiet as, a massive boot with adjustable rear seats and gutless.  The wife liked it so we bought it.

Great car.  Great shape – before its time. The only downside was the pineapple permanently lodged in my nether regions from the Mercedes dealership for a couple for services and an engine failure. Found a European car service centre in south Melbourne and that problem was fixed.

Though I still walk like I’ve been riding a horse for a week thanks to Mercedes.

Attempt Two. Approx 2015.

So 120,000 kilometers and several years later the Merc needed to go before something bad happened.  Having just got a normal walking stance back I felt it was time for I got my Suzuki Swift Sport. Oh yeah.

On to the car ads again and looking at Suzuki Sports.  Now the power was nearly 100KW so this was good.  A lot safer and a better car. But. No boot.

“But darling,” I argued “We have the Subaru Outback, so if we need to carry stuff, we just use the Outback.” Also we needed a manual to teach out kids how to drive. Boom. Argument won.

One Suzuki sports on its way.  So off we went to try the Suzuki.  Not to those yoyos though.

But by now my kids had got bigger. NNOOOOOO.

My 16 year old son was my height and his 13 year old brother, although smaller, was a getting bigger as well. Curse these teenagers.

So we hopped into the Sport. A little cramped it was. But at least the sewing machine engine sounded good. And how often would we have four people in it.  If we had the whole family going somewhere we would just take the Outback.

Then we looked at the boot. NNOOOOO.

“Why don’t we try something else,” the wife said.  “Why don’t we buy the Suzuki,” I said.  So we tried a few other cars.  Kia Rio, Hyundai i30 and Ford Fiesta. Underwhelmed and unimpressed.

“Doesn’t look as good or drive as well as the Suzuki” I sullenly stated.  “Yes, but at least they have a boot,” she replied. The decision was made. No decision that weekend.

I got home on the following Wednesday and was greeted with “I tried a Honda Jazz today”.  “What,” I replied, then “why”.

“Because they have a boot and the back seats fold flat so you can load all your guitars and stuff into it,” she said.

Now I am a would-be weekend warrior guitarist who plays in bands.  And lugging gear around is a fact of life for any musician.  “Really,” I replied.

So back onto the car ads to have a look at the Honda Jazz. The following weekend we found a second hand 2010 with low kays, in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, at a VW dealership and the price was right.  They obviously wanted to get rid of it.  So off we went.

I took it for a drive. 88KW of raw untamed power.  I wondered if we got it to 88mph whether the flux capacitor would take us through a time warp. Not likely, this thing wouldn’t do 88mph.

But it was 88kW and they were VTi-S Kilowatts as opposed to 88 VTi Kilowatts and I had heard VTi-S Kilowatts were worth at least 25% more than VTi Kilowatts. So that’s at least good.

And it has a boot and fold flat seats at the back.

No.  I am not buying a poxy Honda Jazz. I don’t care if it has 88KW, produces 1.21 gigawatts of electricity, and has a boot or fold flat seats. I am not buying a Honda Jazz.

So off to the nearest Suzuki Dealership to check out a Suzuki Swift Sport. As I stood admiring it, the wife went around to the back and opened the boot. I went around and looked in.  My shoulders slumped and I said. “Let’s go buy a Honda Jazz”.

So we bought a 2010 Honda Jazz. With a boot and fold flat seats.  And guess what.  It’s very similiar to a 2003 Mercedes A160. 

A great little city runabout, almost peppy, runs on the smell of an oily rag, lots of airbags, cruise control, and bucket loads of space. It’s amazing what about 100 mm in extra length can do.

But is not a Suzuki Swift Sport. And even my niece has one now.

Not fair.

Read our full roadtest of the 2016 Suzuki Swift Sport

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  • mixedfish

    Should’ve just bought the Suzuki and worried about the boot later. Seen so many people complain how Car A has too little passenger seats or Car B feels cramped….then you look around the morning slow crawl and what do you know 1 person, 1 car, no luggage.

    Voila! All those concerns you had back at the dealership, seemed so pointless.

  • Galaxy Being

    The Suzi looks just like the old model and the new shape is kind of odd, made worse with concealed rear handles. They need to go all out on power, handling and looks, a mini hot hatch… Oh, and yes a boot.

  • dilligaf

    Wow! you only have yourself to blame. All these years and you still haven’t trained you wife, although she’s done a good job training you.

  • peter

    I Work for Suzuki and we can get you a swift

  • Adzee Aus

    Having a 2 door hatch (fiat 500) I appreciate need for space, but it’s not always the overall space that matters. The opening is in most cases the downfall of the cars. Fiat have a fairly generous width and height and it is always surprising to people what I get in it!

    Suzuki’s are way better now they are turbo charged!

Geoff Lines

Geoff Lines

AWDs and 4WDs. All good to me.