Suzuki: 2014 Swift Sport automatic

Suzuki: 2014 Swift Sport automatic

I’m really getting fed up with how excellent the Suzuki Swift Sport is. Every time I get one it’s pretty much exactly the same; just a few minor tweaks, and that’s it. It’s like having the perfect girlfriend and then every six months she learns how to make a different dessert.

But is one new dessert a year enough?

Looking at it from the outside, it looks almost exactly like the Swift has looked since 2007 when I first drove one. It is the Peter Pan of small cars. Yes, the nose has changed a little, the lights have smeared their way backwards up the bonnet line, the wheels are an inch bigger and it’s a little more sculpted down the sides, there’s not much in it.

suzuki swift sport 2014 sideYou can have the Swift Sport in 5-door or 3-door depending on how convenient you want it and whether you are prepared to stump up $1500 extra for the extra two doors. Ours was a 5-door in the most conspicuous colour ever.

Back in 2007 you got 92kW, but there’s 8kW more now. Yes, it has cracked the ton for kilowatts, despite reducing the fuel consumption from 7.5l/100km to 6.1l/100km (or 6.5l/100km for the manual), which is quite impressive. It does need 95 octane fuel, though.

suzuki swift sport 2014 front interiorWhat else do you need to know? Well, as always, it handles like a million little fingers are grabbing at the cracks in the tarmac.

The steering is taut and direct and it’s good on the brakes. There’s more safety included with 7 airbags, Electronic Stability Programme, ABS and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution with brake-assist.

It’s the consummate nippy town car. You can’t get much in the boot, and rear seat passengers have the same amount of legroom as traditional Japanese dining.

However, apart from the annoying lack of lights that turn off when you leave the car, there is only one more flaw in this perfect partner: the CVT gearbox. Up until now you could have suzuki swift sport 2014 storagea manual gearbox. And if you didn’t like a manual gearbox, well, you could just get a normal Suzuki Swift and have an automatic and a few cc less in the engine.

But to put a CVT in the Swift is basically…well, let me give you another image: it’s like having cup holders in which you can place a long black consisting of the most perfectly ground coffee mixed with meltwater from a 15,000 year-old glacier, but filling those cup holders with grapefruit. Bitter, sour grapefruit.

So, it’s what I did. I filled the cupholders with grapefruit. The gearbox is punishing me; why not self-flagellate until I can take no more.

CVT gearboxes can be done well – the Subaru WRX proved it to me. This one isn’t. It could be the overall power just isn’t enough, or perhaps it’s not really suited to the car, but I found it surged when I didn’t want it to and it was difficult to keep it at one speed without constantly having to check the speedo.

The Swift Sport is a car that has improved in its toys and playthings since the last version – Bluetooth connectivity for your phone (for audio streaming and hands-free calling), keyless entry and start, satellite navigation and some other tricks, for example. But, it’s no longer out way ahead of the pack.

Yes, I know that well over half the purchasers are going to opt for the CVT even though it surges and makes it difficult to hold a consistent speed, and saps all the enjoyment out of it. Still, while buyers go out and buy them in droves (and they will) I’m going to go and squeeze those grapefruit.

Price: $27500 (5-door), or $25,990 (3-door)

Pros

  • Predictably brilliant

Cons

  • Except for the gearbox


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