What is it?

Suzuki has had a presence in Australia for 40 years, with operations officially kicking off down under in 1980.

They’ve supplied cars for other brands, built cars that are absolutely ideal for both budget conscious and learner drivers, and have some heroes.

One of those is the dehydrated Jeep, the Jimny. The other is the Swift and in 6-speed manual Sport trim, it’s as popular as a small five-door hatch can be.

May, 2020 saw a couple of small updates but mechanically it’s unchanged.


What’s it cost?

Available in a range of colours including a base Pearl White, the manual starts at $29,990 driveaway.

The cost for metallic paint is $595 and a two-tone combination is available at just $1095.

That gives you a black roof and body colour, with the review car finished in Flame Orange. 

It’s a lovely shade and suits the assertive looks of the little machine perfectly.

The additions come in the form of a multi-colour display screen for the driver, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert safety systems, plus heated side mirrors.

In the greater scheme of things they’re no biggies but they do a little to keep the Swift in the eye of the market against limited competition.

Otherwise there’s a one one-touch driver’s window, no heated or vented seats as they’re cloth, with manual adjustment only, and a sub 300-litre boot space.

That last one is unsurprising as Swift Sport is barely big enough to fill a pocket on a Drizabone coat.

There is no centre console, no rear seat air vents (not that they’re really needed) and an exterior hiccup.

The rear camera is placed in the top of the number plate recess and when reverse is engaged, the top of the image is truncated.

Opposing that is backlighting for the dash.

It’s a hue of orange not dissimilar to the exterior and there’s a curve that lines the top of the binnacle’s interior that adds some real visual class.

The digital screen now also includes torque and power outputs, G-Force dial, and turbo pressures for those that like to know just what is percolating under the stubby bonnet.

Swift Sport has gorgeous alloys, 17 inches in diameter with a European pedigree for the rubber.

Continental ContiSport war with the road, sized at 195/45 in profile.

Safety is adequate enough with six airbags, the aforementioned additions of blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic, but for the manual there is no hill hold assist, in keeping with the Swift’s traditional non-assistance appeal.

There’s also no DAB tuner, an odd oversight in a top of the range model — irrespective of type.


What’s it go like?

The close ratio 6-speed transmission allows for easy and quick movement from standstill.

But fourth to sixth gear could really do with some spacing as freeway driving sees the 1.4-litre Boosterjet engine sit right at the top of its torque curve  — 230Nm between 2500 and 3000 rpm.

It’s also detrimental to fuel consumption. A wider spread would help both consumption and noise levels.

With a 37-litre tank, the car is rated at 6.1L/100km, We were getting 6.9L/100km at the end of a mainly urban drive.

Peak power od 103kW arrives at a typically high 5500 rpm.

It’s an easily achieved figure when punching the Sport’s go pedal but it also shows how flexible the engine is.

It really is a free spinner and gives the slick 6-speed gear selector some real purpose in finding cogs.

Hilly, curvy, roads are the sweet spot for the Swift Sport.

Row through the gears, keep the engine spinning at around that 3,000 rpm figure, and forward motion is linear.

The clutch, although light in deference to the comparatively meagre outputs, rarely had the left leg wondering where it needed to be in the travel. 

The suspension is a mixed bag.

It jars, and badly, at low speeds over some surfaces, yet is compliant enough to make the same at higher velocities nowhere near as intrusive.

The steering is the same.

It borders on slightly heavy when moving at 10 or 20km/h, but is superbly weighted and crisp once into three figures on the speedo.


What we like?

  • Good things in small packages fun factor
  • Attractive styling still fresh after a revamp in 2017
  • Easy driving thanks to a well sorted selector


What we don’t like?

  • Rear view camera location questionable
  • Economy figure questionable
  • Could do with longer legs


The bottom line?

Suzuki’s Swift Sport is a favourite for many, with an appealing mix of sporty looks and zippy performance.

The addition of a couple of features are nice but, for me, the buzz and rattle caused by the engine’s turnover at 3000 revs and over at freeway speeds became tiresome — as did the bang of the suspension at slower velocities.

Get it to where it needs to be, a place like the Esses at Mt Panorama, and the chassis shows why the warm hatch is regarded as a performance trendsetter.


CHECKOUT: Suzuki Vitara Turbo: smaller is betterer

CHECKOUT: Suzuki S-Cross: practically practical


Suzuki Swift Sport, priced from $29,990 driveaway
  • Looks - 8/10
  • Performance - 8/10
  • Safety - 8/10
  • Thirst - 5/10
  • Practicality - 7/10
  • Comfort - 7/10
  • Tech - 7/10
  • Value - 7/10
Suzuki Swift Sport: Nip and a tuck


Dave Conole hails from Perth where he co-hosted a car show on one of the city's major community radio stations. Although he's had formal training in stage, TV, and film, it's his face for radio that gave him his start in the automotive field, both reviewing and motorsport commentary. After moving to Sydney in 2004, Dave has worked for some of Australia's biggest media groups and is the anchor commentator at Sydney Motorsport Park. This has lead to anchoring major events such as the Top Gear Festival (and, no, he didn't get punched by Jeremy).