GOOD THINGS COME IN SMALL SUZUKI PACKAGING
As I said when I drove the base model, five-speed manual Suzuki Swift, the last time I remember having this much fun in a basic car was the original Mini.
If that’s true then the latest Swift Sport Turbo is the Mini Cooper equivalent.
Also, this is not a badge-polishing, GT-trimmed exercise in ad-speak hyperbole – this little hotbox has excellent sports credentials.
It wears Continental tyres; has a 1.4L turbo four cylinder; Aisin 6-speed auto with paddle shifters, and superbly-shaped sports seats.
But, the really impressive stuff you can’t see. The handling is pin-sharp precise, the grip is excellent, and the body control amazing.
All this comes down to Teflon seats for the stabilizer bar mountings; Tenneco-made front struts; new trailing arm rear suspension, Tenneco rear shocks and a newly-designed torsion bar – all specifically for the Sport Turbo. A lot of attention to details.
The new suspension package achieves a significant reduction in body roll and greater torsional rigidity, which delivers more precise handling.
In fact there were times when the obvious degree of body stiffness led me to think the body was seam-welded – à la the top rallycars.
However, this impressive rigidity is delivered by the all-new modular platform engineered for Swift and Baleno. It is one helluva little sports sedan.
Much of this comes from the excellent power-to-weight ratio (it tips the scales just over 970kg!), and in the power department, the intercooled turbo 1.4L uses direct injection, producing 103kW, and 220Nm between 2500-3500rpm!
This is a truly fun car to drive, and at AUD$27,490 for the auto, it’s well-priced. The interior features a lot of subtle touches, like the tasteful red accents throughout the cabin.
Lest, I appear to damn with faint praise, this may not be a big volume seller, but it achieves two things. It’s an excellent brand ambassador, halo-model for the Swift range; and if you were about my vintage and previously owned a Mini Cooper, you’d have a lot of fun for not much money reliving your youthfully-exuberant driving.