By Khulekani Dumisa (@dumisa_khulekani)
What makes a car special? The answer to this question still eludes us to this day. This is because the answers to this question can be so subjective. If you were to ask the question, you could get answers such as it’s the way the car looks, the way it drives, the way the interior is designed, the size of the tyres, the sound of the engine, the colour (of the exterior and the interior!), the seats, and recently, the design of the lights, or how all these come together.
I had the Suzuki Sport on test recently and I was not sure what to expect. The 1.6 naturally aspirated 100 kW and 160 Nm engine was not about to give me sleepless nights of excitement. It’s a far cry from the Polo GTI’s 141 kW and 250 Nm for example. I had to keep an open mind however. That is my approach to each assignment, no matter what has been said about a car, I judge it on its own merit. Comparisons are inevitable but each car needs to be seen for what it offers before it is bashed and compared to its competitors.
When the car arrived, I could not help but think how bold of Suzuki to brand it with its GSX bike colours. Other than cars, and if you do not know, Suzuki is renowned for making super bikes and the GSX is one of their most successful bikes. So, from a marketing Suzuki perspective, it was a nice gesture from one arm of the company to celebrate the success of another arm of the company but from a bystander’s perspective, the question was inescapable, did the Suzuki Swift Sport deserve to be clad in GSX colours?
Within minutes of the car’s arrival, I immediately set out on a 15 minute drive to take one or two pictures of my latest drive. I pushed the car into one or two curves and I remember thinking that it has very impressive road manners. The car felt grounded and in control. What confidence from the little bugger I thought.
The Suzuki Swift Sport sits at the top of the Suzuki Swift range and goes for R267,000. The entry level Swift 1.2 GA retails from R154,900. The Swift Sport cannot be compared to those models. It’s like trying to compare an RS3 to an entry level Audi A3. Okay, the gap is not that vast. The Suzuki Swift Sport does not cost almost three times more than the entry level Swift. The Suzuki Swift Sport has a lot of kit than the lower models like generous sports seats, keyless go, keyless entry, alloy wheels, cruise control, extended rear spoiler, double exhaust and a large bumper. Unfortunately though, the Suzuki Swift Sport shares its small boot with the lower level models.
Other than my daily commute to the office, I took the Suzuki Swift Sport on an out of town excursion to Magaliesburg. The route had all sorts of exciting tasks for the Swift Sport to shine on and boy the Suzuki Swift Sport not only managed to come up tops but it excelled. There were steep hills, mild and sharp bends, and there was a fair amount of motorways involved. It was a marvel to see a car with not a lot of power relatively speaking handle itself so well in all these conditions. Yes, being a manual with not much power, the Swift Sport is an engaging and involved drive but there is a sense of accomplishment with being able to make the environment bend to your will with a capable car that does not give you any more help than you need. This makes the Suzuki Swift Sport one special car.
Perhaps it’s not just the way the Swift Sport drives that makes it special but how that combines with the support from the generous sports seats and a pointed front wheel drive system. This is the most fun I have had in a naturally aspirated car with not a lot of power at its disposal but an honest six speed 1.6 naturally aspirated engine.
The Suzuki Swift range is priced as follows:
– Suzuki Swift 1.2i GA M/T R154,900
– Suzuki Swift 1.2i GL M/T R169,900
– Suzuki Swift 1.2i GA A/T R186,900
– Suzuki Swift 1.4i GLS M/T R225,900
– Suzuki Swift 1.4i GLS A/T R242,900
– Suzuki Swift 1.6 SPORT 6M/T R267,900
All the 1.2 models come with a 2 year / 30,000 km service plan which is bumped up to a 3 year / 60,000 km service plan for the 1.4 models and the Suzuki Swift Sport.
At the time of writing this piece, Suzuki had released images of the new Suzuki Swift Sport. It looks chucky and mean. I enjoyed the 1.6 naturally aspirated engine but I hope the next generation comes with a turbo and a bit more oomph.