Anyone familiar with the pre-hybrid Swift Sport or the old, original Swift Sport will know that this is not a Fiesta ST-rivalling hot hatch, but instead a warm hatch, a car with less power and performance that’s therefore a little more accessible and a little less serious – but no less fun. The addition of a mild-hybrid system hasn’t changed the recipe.
The 1.4-litre engine is the same as it was before albeit less powerful, with 129PS (95kW) at 5,500rpm rather than 140PS (103kW). On the flipside it produces more torque, now 235Nm (173lb ft) instead of 230Nm (170lb ft). The mild-hybrid system gives a 13PS (10kW) and 53Nm (39lb ft) boost, however. The Swift Sport also weighs 50kg more than before, too, with a kerb weight of 1,025kg.
First of all, you do feel the hybrid kick. It’s not huge, but at low speeds and low revs there’s a definite boost of torque. Everywhere else the engine feels much the same, with power from 3-5,500rpm or so and a little less go for the final 500rpm. It is at this point I must remind you, dear reader, not to rev the engine out to the indicated 6,250rpm redline, and ask Suzuki to please change the tachometer. The rev limit is in fact 6,000rpm, so it’s very easy to bounce off the limiter when you think you’ve got a few more revs to go. Zero to 62mph takes 8.1 seconds and the top speed is 130mph, both of which are the same as before. CO2 emissions are down to 127g/km from 135g/km, while the combined economy figure jumps from 47.0mpg to 50.1mpg. That tiny reduction in CO2 might not sound like much, but Suzuki reckons it’ll equate to an average yearly saving of 129kg. Blimey.
The extra 50kg isn’t particularly noticeable either. Yes, it’s a shame that the Swift Sport doesn’t make it under the tonne mark on paper, but the car doesn’t feel any slower, less nimble or less keen than before. The steering feels light but direct, the suspension is firm and feels quite simple but does a decent job of absorbing lumps and bumps under load (the springs and dampers have been tweaked to account for the additional weight), and the brakes are more than adequate – that’s not damning with faint praise, just an acknowledgment that the discs aren’t as big as other hot hatchbacks but the Swift Sport weighs very little, so they are perfectly up to the task in hand.