If you’re in the market for a sporty car with a budget south of RM110,000, then there’s really only one option for you: the Suzuki Swift Sport. This five-door compact is fully imported from Japan and has the most important feature of all: it puts a big ‘ol smile on your face when you’re behind the wheel. The Swift Sport is fast and a lot of fun to drive. How can I say this car is fast when it only puts out 136PS and has a naturally aspirated 1.6-litre engine? Well, this car has a gross weight of 1,520kg and it’s got 160Nm of torque at 4,400rpm. Now, some SUVs have around 160Nm of torque but the Swift Sport is smaller and lighter, so away we go people. The Swift Sport comes in two variants - the six-speed manual transmission and the automatic transmission with CVT (continuosly variable transmission).
The review unit was the latter and while most gearheads snigger at the mention of CVT, there’re some points to consider. If you live in the Klang Valley or any city where you have to put up with miles and miles of grindingly slow traffic, driving an automatic gives you some respite. If, on the other hand, you want a weekend warrior, then by all means, take the manual option. I too, like the feel of driving a manual but since the Swift Sport automatic comes with paddle shifters, it offers quite a lot of control as you can play around with seven virtual gears. Another plus with the CVT variant is that it’s frugal with fuel consumption. The official figures rate it at 6.1 litres to go 100km. While this is the latest iteration of the Swift Sport which was officially launched last year in Malaysia, its exterior styling is almost the same as the previous generation save for the rear bumper which has been shaved off. The Sport comes with a rear spoiler, bodykit, dual tail-pipes and 16-inch wheels which gives it that sporty demeanour. HID (High-intensity discharge) headlamps are also standard with the Sport. Step inside the Sport and it’s a largely black interior with matte finish silver trims and red stitching for that racy ambience. There are comfortable semi-bucket seats for the driver and passenger.
It’s got keyless entry with push/start ignition; a five-dial cluster meter which is functional and stylish; stainless steel pedal plates; and a slight European touch as the signal stalk is on the left. The centre console is simply laid out with the entertainment system with CD tuner, MP3 and six speakers at the top followed by the automatic climate control and sockets for USB and 12V. It’s what you don’t see that has made all the difference though. The Swift Sport is now 30kg lighter compared with the previous generation. The suspension has been revised for improved ride quality and comfort. And the spring rates have been stiffened to 15% at the front and 30% at the rear. This makes for a firm ride but comfort is in no way sacrificed. The Swift Sport is well planted in corners and it makes you feel that you can take the turns at even higher speeds. The car launches smoothly and it’s stable during straight lines.
There’s a lot of feedback from the steering and the brakes are simply amazing with a lot of bite and yet, not sharp enough that it lunges you forward. The exhaust note is really pleasing too but since its a CVT, there’s no shifting shocks. However, in manual mode it does emulate the gear shifting of a conventional transmission. Safety wise, it comes with six airbags, anti-lock braking system with electronic brakeforce distribution, electronic stability programme, and brake assist. The CVT variant comes with hill hold assist. Sure, its luggage space of 210 litres is not much but that’s hardly a dealbreaker. Priced at RM105,802 on-the-road with insurance, the Swift Sport is about the joys of driving without busting the bank account. That’s why you would buy one in the first place.