Suzuki's new Swift still a good Sport

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The manual version of the Swift Sport cries out for maximum driver interaction; the harder it is worked, the better it works. Photo: Supplied

Surprising news from Suzuki at the release of the latest generation of the best sub-$30,000 hot hatch ever: they reckon at least 60% of its clientele for this machine - the new Swift Sport - will prefer an impending version with a seven-speed constantly variable transmission over the six-speed manual that is available now.

Talk about separating the true sports fans from the badge fanciers.

The CVT is being spruiked as a particularly good 'un, with fancy performance tuning, but it is going to have to do amazingly well to attune to this funbox's brilliance as artfully as the now-six-speed manual clearly does.

From the launch experience - a bit of track running, a touch of motorway then on to the roads, the manual version of the Swift Sport really relishes tight 'n twisty country rat runs - it is again a car that cries out for maximum driver interaction; the harder it is worked, the better it works.

Which is all good news as far as this Sport fan is concerned.

The abiding delight is that a 2012 upscale in zest, size, sophistication and safety have not come at any particular hit on the pocket - just a $510 price lift - or sensibilities, such as they are.

Though stronger and better-sorted for stiffness (and impacts), it actually weighs less than before too, so still retains that alluring delicacy, nimbleness and nippiness.

There are still some minor quibbles - it cries out for a rortier exhaust note, and a speedo lacking a clear 100kmh delineation is just asking for trouble.

Otherwise, this junior GT looks set to continue where the old favourite left off.

In manual form, at least.


Suzuki's new Swift still a good Sport
At a Glance


Price: $27,500 manual, $28,990 CVT.

Engine: 1586cc four-cylinder 16-valve DOHC petrol, max power 100kW@6900rpm, max torque 160Nm@4400rpm.

Transmission: Six-speed manual, seven-speed constantly variable transmission.

Brakes and stability systems: Disc brakes, ABS, ESP.

Wheels, tyres: 195/45 R17.

Fuel and economy: 6.5 manual /6.1 CVT litres per 100km (on ADR combined cycle), capacity 42 litres.

Dimensions: Length 3890mm, width 1695mm, height 1510mm.