Review: Suzuki Swift Sport (2018)
Powered by impressive and spirited 1.4 BoosterJet engine. Economical for a sporty hatch. Good fun to drive.
List price for fully equipped Swift Sport only £1000 less than base model Ford Fiesta ST. Lots of road noise at motorway speeds.
Suzuki Swift Sport (2018): At A Glance
- On average it achieves 89% of the official MPG figure
It's all change for this generation of the Suzuki Swift Sport with a new 1.4 BoosterJet engine, already used in the Vitara, replacing the old 1.6-litre 16v petrol that's been used in the previous two models.
It may be a smaller engine, but the fact it is turbocharged means much better performance and an increase in power, with 140PS and - more significantly - a 70Nm boost in torque, now up to 230Nm.
As a result the Swift Sport is a much better drive without the need to thrash the engine just to access the power. It's far nicer at everyday speeds too with a less frantic nature and much stronger in-gear acceleration.
On paper it accelerates from 0-62mph in around eight seconds, so it’s not quite a hot hatch, but does compete alongside 'warm' alternatives like the SEAT Ibiza FR 1.5 TSI Evo and Ford Fiesta ST-Line 1.0 EcoBoost 140.
Setting the Sport model apart from the standard Swift are more aggressive front and rear bumpers, along with twin tailpipes and a spoiler. Inside there are red details and more supportive seats, but that’s about all that differentiates the Sport from lesser models.
On the plus side, equipment is generous with a navigation touchscreen as standard. This supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus there are lots of safety features including auto emergency brakes, lane keep assistance and adaptive cruise.
It's good fun to drive with sharp steering, little body roll in corners and a decent six-speed manual gearbox. That all adds to the peppy BoosterJet engine which also proves economical, helped by the fact the Sport weighs in at less than 1000kg.
The one big thorn in the side of the Swift Sport is the price tag. Suzuki chose to introduce it fully equipped with active cruise control, metallic paint, touchscreen satnav, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, voice controls and even a reversing camera. It lists at £18,000 which is £3000 more than its predecessor. And then there's the small matter of the 2018 Fiesta ST. This starts at £19,000 for the base model (£22,000 for an equivalent spec), yet is significantly more powerful and far more refined with a better cabin.
While we think the Swift Sport is a great little sporty hatch, it's hard to recommend when the much better Fiesta ST is only £1000 more, albeit in base spec. The good news is that Suzuki often has offers and deals running. At launch the Swift Sport came with £1500 off and at that money it looks much more appealing.
What does a Suzuki Swift Sport (2018) cost?
Suzuki Swift Sport (2018): What's It Like Inside?
Like the standard Swift, the cabin of the Sport is functional and well built, but does make do with some hard plastics in places. It doesn't feel especially plush or upmarket, but on the plus side it should prove durable.
Suzuki has added some extras to make it stand out, so the Sport has red trim on the dash and doors, sportier instrument dials and aluminium pedals. There are also sport seats with more side support and red stitching which extends to the gear lever surround.
It's a comfortable cabin that doesn't feel cramped even if you're six foot plus, thanks to good legroom. The Sport gets all the essentials right with a good driving position, well positioned pedals and decent all round visibility.
It's practical too with large door pockets and two central cupholders although there's no centre armrest and the glovebox feels a little flimsy. The air conditioning is a little reluctant to get cold too and in normal driving can take 20 minutes to blow out properly cold air which is frustrating on a hot day when you're stuck in traffic.
The 265-litre boot is decent enough room for a week's shopping or a pushchair - it's certainly an improvement over the previous Swift Sport. The rear seat backs fold down to free more space, but they don’t fold flat. As for rear space, it's what you'd expect from a small hatchback - as in there's not much - but there's more headroom than many rivals and surprisingly good legroom too.
What's impressive is the level of standard kit which includes DAB, a good navigation system plus Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink support.
Standard equipment from launch:
Swift Sport gets sport interior trim with semi bucket seats and red accents to the dashboard and console areas, six airbags, auto air conditioning, satellite navigation, leather steering wheel, privacy glass, DAB radio with Bluetooth and six speakers, LED daytime running lights, 17-inch wheels, body coloured door mirrors and four electric windows.
Child seats that fit a Suzuki Swift Sport (2018)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Suzuki Swift Sport (2018) like to drive?
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 38–52 mpg
The Swift Sport is powered by a new 1.4-litre BoosterJet engine, replacing the 1.6-litre unit of the two previous Swift Sports.
Unlike that one, it's a turbocharged engine and as a result produces more power, despite being smaller in size. Maximum power is 140PS but the real improvement is in torque with 230Nm - that's 70Nm more than the old non-turbo unit.
This changes the way the Swift Sport drives. You no longer have to rev the socks off it in order to get meaningful performance - the torque peaks from just 2500rpm, making the power more accessible. The result is stronger in-gear performance and much better acceleration away from slow corners. Overall, driving the Swift Sport is now a far less frantic experience than before.
On paper it will do 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds which is far from fast, but it feels a lot more eager than those numbers suggest.
It handles really well too with lots of front end grip and responsive steering - it's one of those cars that you can immediately connect with. It's helped by the the steering rack which is a variable ratio set up and means the angle of the wheels changes depending on steering input. There's no sport button or various settings, instead the Swift Sport keeps things simple and it's all the better for it.
There are a few negatives. There's lots of road noise at higher speeds - you'll find yourself turning the volume of the stereo up when you get on the motorway - and a fair amount of wind noise due to the upright windscreen. The ride is reasonably comfortable for a sport hatch, but the dampers are firm and tend to thump over potholes and motorway expansion joints.
If we're being very critical, the gearbox could be a bit snappier and it's odd that the rev counter goes up to 8000rpm when the engine redlines at just over 6000rpm. There's no warning on the dash of when you're close to that limit either, so if you're driving the Sport quickly, you'll often find yourself reaching the rev limiter sooner than you think.
The exhaust is also quiet. So if you're expecting a nice buzz or pop when you come off the power, you'll be disappointed. What is good is the fuel economy. The official figure is 50.4mpg and looking at this engine in the Vitara and S-Cross in Real MPG, you can realistically expect around 44mpg.
|1.4 BoosterJet||50 mpg||8.1 s||125 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Suzuki Swift Sport (2018)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What have we been asked about the Suzuki Swift Sport (2018)?
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Is there a 'warm' hatch for an 18 year old that won't be ruinously costly to insure?
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