When you see female shop assistants dressing like Bananarama or Madonna from Desperately Seeking Susan, you know that everything 1980’s must be back in vogue again & with the newest Swift Sport, the car manufacturers are getting in on the act too.
In the late 1980’s, all I wanted to drive was a Peugeot 205 GTi. My sales manger had one & luckily for me broke his arm grass skiing in Buxton, enabling me to drive his graphite grey 1.6 model for about 6 weeks. It was quick, or at least I thought so, handled brilliantly & weighed no more than Kylie Minogue, who was in a new Austrailian soap opera called Neighbours back then. In short, it was as good as it got for a 22 year old & you could even fit four of your mates in it with you.
However, with the 1990’s & noughties, cars became safer, slower & heavier & the heady days of GTi type models disappeared. Then in 2008, Suzuki launched it’s Swift Sport to compete with cars like the Twingo Sport from Renault & the 1980’s reappeared on the horizon.
Move on to 2012 & Suzuki have launched a new Swift Sport, which looks more like a GTi than it’s predecessor & also offers buyers a number of improvements over the old model, specifically a sixth gear to help lower emissions & improve fuel economy.
The new car is slightly larger & heavier than the old model, but still retains the old Swifts cute looks. The 1.6 engine offers a top speed of 121 mph with a 0 – 62 mph time of 8.7 seconds.It isn’t really that quick, particularly if you have passengers, but drive it alone, change down when you can & you’ll find the close ratio gears & its 136bhp with 118lb ft of torque, immensely enjoyable. It certainly took me back to my Soul to Soul days in the 206.
Inside, the cabin is rather understated, with red trimmed bucket seats, again very 206. Equipment is generous & includes air con, fog lamps, push button start, cruise control,Bluetooth, HID projector headlamps & rear privacy glass.It also comes with 7 airbags & ESP as standard, something you would not have got in a 206, whose doors closed like they were made of paper.
Once aboard, the driving position is excellent & the dash & controls are easy to see & use. It’s great fun to drive along small roads & a blast when changing down to overtake, but is pretty impressive on the motorway too, with the new sixth gear adding a touch of refinement to the new model, as well as lowering your fuel bill. The front passenger has plenty of space, whilst there is only room for two in the back. Access isn’t brilliant to the rear seats, but my kids did get used to the lifting front seats eventually. One thing the Swift doesn’t offer in any model is a large boot, although to test it out, it will take 6 – 8 supermarket sized bags of shopping. Just don’t expect to get more than two small suitcases in it, because in reality, this is a car for two adults & two children,
The improved economy & emissions are 44.1 mpg & 147g/km which is 10% lower than the Mk1 Swift Sport model & all in all Suxuki have done extremely well to achieve this but still manage to retain the fun of the previous model.
Should you buy one ? At just £ 13,499, most definitely yes.
Overall 4/5. It’s the 1980’s all over again.