A worthy competitor for the Polo GTI and Fiesta ST?

Introduced in 2000 as the Suzuki Ignis, the Swift was redesigned in 2004 and again in 2010 when the third-generation model was launched. In 2017, Suzuki brought the fourth-generation into the spotlight with the company’s brand-new design language, which debuted on the slightly bigger Baleno. Unveiled for the European market at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the new Swift received its higher-performance Sport version a few months later, at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Developed as a higher performance version aimed at similar offerings from Volkswagen and Ford, the Swift Sport has been around since 2005. The recipe was pretty much simple and revolved mostly around a slightly more powerful engine and a few chassis tweaks. Unlike hot-hatches like the Volkswagen Polo GTI and Ford Fiesta ST, the Swift Sport didn’t really stand out in the lineup styling-wise. But this changes with the new hatchback, which gained a more individual appearance and even a range of unique features. Let’s find out more about that in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Suzuki Swift Sport.

  • 2018 Suzuki Swift Sport
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    6-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    138
  • Torque @ RPM:
    170
  • Displacement:
    1.4 L
  • 0-60 time:
    7 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    8.3/10

Official video

Exterior

2018 Suzuki Swift Sport High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 731181
The grille is flanked by larger fog lamp housings, while the splitter below adds a touch of aggressiveness to the bumper

Modern and sportier than ever, the new Swift is surprisingly aggressive in its Sport trim. Especially when compared to the outgoing model, which was... well... very boring. The new Swift also has a rather unique look, mostly because its styling blends European design features with Japanese Kei car elements. As I said before, I can’t stand a very serious, mature hatchback that draws too many cues from a sedan, and Suzuki read my mind with the new Swift Sport.

So what makes it different compared to the standard model?

First up, there a larger grille up front. Like most sports-trimmed models, it features a honeycomb mesh and a more aggressive frame. The black horizontal bar that separates the upper section from the one that trickles into the bumper is also unique to this model. The grille is flanked by larger fog lamp housings, while the splitter below adds a touch of aggressiveness to the bumper. The latter is made from a plastic that mimics carbon-fiber in a very authentic way. Sure, it’s not the real deal and this may be a turn off for most enthusiasts, but I think it’s a nice touch on an affordable car.

2018 Suzuki Swift Sport AutoShow High Resolution Exterior
- image 732005
Around back, there's a diffuser-like element made from fake carbon-fiber and a pair of large exhaust pipes

The Swift’s profile is already appealing to look at in standard guise, but the fake carbon skirts and the bespoke, thin-spoke 17-inch wheels further enhance the muscular beltline and the roof that "floats" on blacked-out pillars. Around back, there’s a new diffuser-like element made from the same fake carbon and a pair of large exhaust pipes. The sporty look is rounded off by a black-colored spoiler atop the tailgate.

Seven exterior colors are available for the Swift Sport, including three new hues. Six of them are taken from the standard Swift palette and include Burning Red Pearl Metallic, Speedy Blue Metallic, Pure White Pearl, Premium Silver Metallic, Mineral Grey Metallic, and Super Black Pearl. The red and blue were introduced with the new Swift. Finally, there’s Champion Yellow, a color inspired by the color scheme of the Suzuki Works rally car from the Junior World Rally Championship.

Interior

2018 Suzuki Swift Sport High Resolution Interior
- image 731183
Arguably the most noticeable new features are the bright red accents on the dashboard, center console, and door panels

The interior doesn’t stand out as much as the exterior, but it’s no surprise that the layout is identical to that in the standard model. Thankfully, Suzuki did add a few extra features, so it’s safe to say that the Sport’s cabin is somewhat unique.

Arguably the most noticeable new features are the bright red accents on the dashboard, center console, and door panels. These add-ons not only add a splash of color to the overall black interior — which I’m not a big fan of, by the way — but also give the car a more upscale look. The instrument cluster also features red accents, especially in the rev counter gauge. And speaking of that, the Swift Sport comes with new boost and oil temperature gauges.

In front of the instrument cluster there’s a flat-bottom steering wheel wrapped in dimpled leather for a more secure grip. The wheel is actually more of a mild D shape, so it’s not overly aggressive, but it adds a touch of sportiness to the cabin, while the standard leather puts it closer to the competition.

2018 Suzuki Swift Sport AutoShow High Resolution Interior
- image 732017
In front of the instrument cluster there's a flat-bottom steering wheel wrapped in dimpled leather for a more secure grip

Speaking of higher quality materials, the Swift Sport package also includes piano black accents, red cross-stitching, satin finish for various elements, a chromed gear shift knob, and alloy sports pedals. Finally, it has semi-bucket front seats that provide enhanced support for spirited driving. The Bluetooth-compatible Smartphone Linkage Display Audio Display*unit with the seven-inch touchscreen and a SD Card 3D-map navigation is standard equipment.

On top of all of the Sport-spec features above, you will benefit from all the new stuff in the new, third-generation Swift. Highlights include air conditioning, DAB radio, four speakers, rear privacy glass, and a rear-view camera. The new Swift also benefits from increased roominess. There’s almost an inch of extra head clearance, more legroom for rear passengers, as well as 25-percent more luggage space.

Drivetrain

2018 Suzuki Swift Sport High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 731184
Powered by a 1.4-liter, Boosterjet engine, the Swift Sport is rated at 138 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque

Powered by the company’s relatively new 1.4-liter, Boosterjet engine, the Swift Sport is rated at 138 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. That’s an eight-horsepower and 50-pound-feet increase over the outgoing model. It’s pretty decent for a new-generation car, but it’s also significantly off compared to what you get with the Volkswagen Polo GTi and Ford Fiesta ST, both of which deliver almost 200 horsepower.

Needless to say, Suzuki’s claim that the Swift Sport delivers hot-hatch performance isn’t exactly true. Still, with a curb weight of only 970 kg and a revised suspension system, the Swift Sport is a solid option if you don’t want to pay Volkswagen or Ford premiums.

Not only 80 kg lighter than the outgoing model, the new Swift Sport also uses a new turbocharger that helps the engine produce impressive torque from low in the rev range, while the small displacement and direct fuel injection system optimizes fuel consumption. The old 6-speed manual transmission has been enhanced, with retuned actuating force providing improved shift smoothness and increased driver feedback.

2018 Suzuki Swift Sport High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 731179
In the suspension department, the Swift Sport continues to use Monroe shock absorbers front and rear

In the suspension department, the Swift Sport continues to use Monroe shock absorbers front and rear, but the chassis received numerous upgrades compared to the standard model. The wheel hub and wheel bearings have been made into a single unit, and the width between the bearings has been expanded, which results in a 15-percent increase in camber rigidity during cornering.

The rear suspension was also specifically designed to ensure superior stability. The trailing arm was developed exclusively for this model to minimize deformation during cornering. Finally, toe rigidity has been improved by 1.4 times compared to its predecessor, and camber rigidity is higher by a factor of nearly three. All told, expect the new Swift Sport to be the sportiest iteration of the hatchback ever made.

Prices

2018 Suzuki Swift Sport AutoShow High Resolution Exterior
- image 732007
2018 Suzuki Swift Sport AutoShow High Resolution Exterior
- image 732003

Pricing for the new Swift Sport isn’t yet available, but it’s safe to assume that it will cost more than the range-topping SZ5 trim of the standard model, priced from £14,499. It should also cost less than the new Volkswagen Polo GTI and Ford Fiesta ST, which are expected to start from around £19,000 to £20,000. All told, look for a sticker set around £17,000 to £18,000. For reference, the base model starts from £10,999.

Competition

Volkswagen Polo GTI

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI High Resolution Exterior
- image 731370
2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI High Resolution Exterior
- image 731371

One of the most popular subcompact hot-hatches in Europe, the Polo GTI was redesigned for the 2018 model year. Now benefiting from the sportier, more angular looks of the new Polo (heavily based on the latest Golf), the new GTI sports a range of unique design features, including red detailing on the front grille, a diffuser-like element around back, and special wheels. The cabin is by far the most appealing in this niche thanks to its clean, high-tech looks and premium market features. Under the hood, the old 1.8-liter four-cylinder was replaced with a 2.0-liter unit, making the Polo GTI the hot-hatch with the biggest engine in this comparison. The four-banger generates 197 horsepower and 240 pound-feet, a small upgrade over the outgoing model that puts it on par with the Fiesta ST, but below the Yaris GRMN. Obviously, it’s significantly more powerful than the Swift Sport. As far as performance goes, it’s as quick as the Fiesta ST with a 0-to-62 mph time of 6.7 seconds, but it’s slower than the Yaris. Top speed is rated at 146 mph, the highest in this niche. Pricing is not yet available as of this writing, but it should start from around £20,000 in the U.K..

Read our full review of the Volkswagen Polo GTI.

Ford Fiesta ST

2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
- image 706952
2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
- image 706953

Also redesigned for 2018, the Fiesta ST is also of the evolutionary variety, but unlike the Polo GTI, it sports a few more significant changes. Up front, the new grille is reminiscent of the larger Focus, while the bumper is decidedly more aggressive. But it’s the boasts the biggest change, in the form of horizontal taillights instead of the previous model’s vertical units. The Fiesta ST is pretty different under the hood too, as Ford ditched the four-cylinder in favor of a three-pot. But while small, the turbocharged, 1.5-liter unit cranks out a solid 197 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque, which makes the Fiesta ST just a quick as the Polo GTI from 0 to 62 mph. Top speed, on the other hand, is lower at 130 mph, but hey, the overall package is better when compared to the Swift Sport. Pricing is likely to start from around £19,000 in the United Kingdom.

Read our full review of the Ford Fiesta ST

Toyota Yaris GRMN

Gather Round Hot-Hatch Fans, Toyota Will Unveil a 210-HP Yaris Soon High Resolution Exterior
- image 701697
Gather Round Hot-Hatch Fans, Toyota Will Unveil a 210-HP Yaris Soon High Resolution Exterior
- image 701696

Launched at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the Yaris GRMN is Toyota’s first high-performance hatchback and the company’s first rival for the popular Polo GTI and Fiesta ST. Also heavily based on the standard model design-wise, the GRMN stands out by means of a more complex aerodynamic package and race-inspired wheels and rear diffuser. While not overly aggressive, it still looks as if it could give the competition a run for its money by exterior design alone. Performance-wise it actually quite appealing. Using a supercharged (an exclusive feature in this segment), 1.8-liter four-cylinder rated at 212 horsepower, the Yaris GRMN hits 62 mph in only 6.3 seconds. On the other hand, its cabin is nowhere near as fancy as the Polo’s and lacks many of Volkswagen’s latest features. Pricing is also somewhat of an issue, as it is set at £26,295, at least £6,000 more than what the Polo GTI, Fiesta ST, and Swift Sport are expected to fetch.

Read our full review of the Toyota Yaris GRMN.

Conclusion

New Suzuki Swift Puts On Aggressive Suit In Frankfurt High Resolution Exterior
- image 731176

The Suzuki Swift Sport has been the underdog of the performance-oriented supermini market ever since it was introduced back in 2005. And that’s not going to change very soon because it’s very difficult to compete against the already established Volkswagen Polo GTI and Ford Fiesta ST. And these two cars are not only more popular in most markets, but also come with better equipment lines. The latest Polo GTI was also moved higher on the premium ladder, so Suzuki is again at least one step behind. But the new Swift Sport is a significantly better car than the outgoing model and this is a big deal given all the issues the Japanese automaker is facing nowadays. Not only more powerful and quicker, the new Swift Sport is actually sportier on the outside. Its exclusive features make quite the big difference and the Swift is finally on par with the competition when it comes to range-topping trims. Sure, you don’t get the performance you can buy from Volkswagen and Ford, but the Swift Sport is a cute, little but souped-up bug that’s powerful enough to give you some thrills. And it should be a bit more affordable to take home.

  • Leave it
    • * Not as powerful as the competition
    • * Tough competition

References

Suzuki Swift

2017 Suzuki Swift High Resolution Exterior
- image 699505

Read our full review on the Suzuki Swift.

2015 Suzuki Ignis Trail Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 649064

Read more Suzuki news.

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