Let’s get one thing straight – the Suzuki Swift Sport most certainly isn’t a dog.
In fact, it’s almost the polar opposite which, linguistically speaking, would theoretically make it a cat. But it’s not that either.
All the same, it’s a joyful little terrier of a machine with a nature just like that of Milo, my Jack Russell cross – only with a bit of caffeine or Ritalin added to the equation.
I’ve been driving a Swift Sport for the past few days now and every time I get into the cabin, replete with the sort of chunky, thunky build quality that one would expect from this manufacturer, its exuberant, extroverted nature makes me smile. Which is quite something given the Vale of Tears we will live in.
Push the start button, and watch the needle blip up the chronograph-style tachometer, and the grin just gets bigger. Then you slot the little machine into first and almost immediately its terrier-like nature shines through.
“Come on, oh come on, please let’s play,” barks the charismatic Swift.
All right then.
While the Suzuki will happily do duty as a civilized, practical and competent commuter, carry-all and toter of cargo, it really shines when you give into its playful nature and send the rev-counter heading towards the red warpaint.
Now the previous Suzuki Swift Sport was a nice enough machine – with one drawback. It only had five speeds. At and around the national limit it would rev just a bit too frenetically for comfort.
Now with a slick six-speed box, the new Sport will bark through its ratios. And at a healthy trot there’s none of the annoying, cruising-speed drone that affected the old car.
Better yet, it clings to the road like a Jack Russell to a juicy bone, and aiming the machine into torturous twisties brings a Joker-like smile as it seems to bark, “More, more, I’m loving this!”
Peak output is 100 kW at a heady 6 900 r/min with a maximum torque of 160 N.m
at 4 400 r/min – which makes it more of warm hatch than a hot hatch and I’d rather like to see a factory-fettled turbo strapped to its 1.6-litre mill.
No matter. The more revs you feed it, the more it woofs with joy, and of the three test cars currently in residence in my driveway, this is easily my favourite.
Then again the other two are a Kia Sedona (a comfortable, piously practical, and soporific machine that’s a little like a Valium trip only not quite as exciting) and a Nissan Micra 1.5 dCi Acenta (astoundingly economical, but I’ve decided that seeing though we’re approaching the end of the Oil Age we might as well all have fun – and if I’d had something with a dipsomaniac V8 to test, I would have driven that instead).
Creature comforts are well catered for too, but like me you might be having too much entertainment piloting the Swift to worry about niceties such as electric windows, six-speaker audio system and air conditioning with pollen filter – all standard.
The biggest thing wrong with the Swift Sport that I can see in my driveway, just begging to go out and play as I write this, is that it’s Snow White Pearl in colour. A bit boring. Plain. Like vanilla ice cream. With no chocolate sauce,
If I wasn’t 42 and more enamoured of big, automatic luxo-barges and soft-riding SUVs than cheeky hatches, I’d order one in Ablaze Red Pearl or Champion Yellow. All the better to suit its outgoing nature.
And I’d call it Milo, of course.