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Moving swiftly from Swift to Swift

01.04.2016

I received a call a few weeks back from the people at Suzuki asking me if I’d like to spend a week in their Swift range.

Now at first I thought it would be wasteful however, I then thought that perhaps it would a great exercise in seeing how much better a vehicle gets as you increase the price.

The first Swift was delivered, a 1.2 hatch, in GL specification, which makes it R156 900, while the base model GA comes in at R142 900. I found the 1.2 hatch to be a very efficient little car to cruise around in. I managed a consumption figure of 5.4 litres/100km during my three days with the vehicle and I returned it with the gauge at three quarters rather unsurprisingly. In terms of performance don’t expect a firecracker under the hood, the 1.2-litre naturally aspirated motor produces 63kW/113Nm, which makes for reasonable progress while providing a reassuring feeling that it should last the test of time.

I drove the vehicle through some very heavy rain…floods even, and was very grateful to have those narrow, high-profile tyres fitted as I sailed through puddles while I watched other vehicles aquaplane in front of and behind me. This will primarily be used as basic student and young adult transportation and the fire is quite Spartan inside. However, there are features such an aircon, Bluetooth/AUX/USB and a multi-function steering wheel. On the safety front expect ABS brakes and two airbags.

My time with the basic Swift was up when the 1.4 GLS arrived at the Autodealer office. The first thing you notice is that the GLS looks more upmarket, a bit sportier with LED daytime running lights and bigger alloy wheels. Then when you get inside it appears to be an entirely different vehicle, in some instance it is. The more basic Swifts are built in a different factory to the more upmarket models and it shows; the more basic cars feel a good deal cheaper in terms of build quality, while the GLS feels very well put together, as it should for R212 900.

The GLS is fun to drive, much as I remember the previous generation Swift was, while its 1.4-litre motor only gives you 70kW/130Nm. Nevertheless, it’s the playful chassis and rev-happy nature of the car that made me want to hoon it around a few bends. I find it to be the most fun vehicle in its segment. I might not have driven it like a normal person but I still managed a consumption figure of 6.3 litres/100km with four people in the vehicle.

It was time for the weekend and time for the most exciting model in the Swift line-up too…the Swift Sport. A beautiful blue Sport arrived at the Autodealer office, finished in the Suzuki MotoGP colours. I was smitten! You see, I adore the Swift Sport and I feel that as a hot hatch it offers one of the most pure driving experiences, for very little money. Okay the price is now R253 900, which is quite steep but a used example can be had for well under R200 000.

The recipe is simple; a small engine, snappy manual gearbox, a superb chassis and lightweight; it’s an absolute riot. I could only imagine how much fun it would be at the coast, with thick air coursing through its naturally aspirated heart.

It only has 100kW/160Nm from its 1.6-litre motor but I feel as though this is enough. I drive many fast cars, especially turbocharged models where the boost compromises the feel somewhat and this is where the purity of the Swift comes through. It is also special because it is the last of its breed; the last driver’s hot hatch that is naturally aspirated, and there’s something very special about that.

Article written by Sean Nurse
01.04.2016
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