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Suzuki Swift (2011) at Frankfurt motor show

Tue, 13 Sep 2011

Back in 2006, the Suzuki Swift took CAR Magazine’s Car Of The Year gong ahead of some pretty accomplished opposition. But, since then, it’s rarely featured in our pages while the Renaultsport Clio has stolen our small-car affections.

Suzuki’s star of the Frankfurt show, the Suzuki Swift Sport, hopes to put the model back on the radar.

Suzuki Swift Sport (2011): the lowdown

Shunning the turbocharged/downsizing tactics of so many other small cars, the Swift Sport builds on the old model’s naturally aspirated, 1.6-litre M16A engine to produce 134bhp at an eager 6900rpm and 118lb ft at 4400rpm – up from 123bhp at 6800rpm and 109lb ft at 4800rpm.

Improvements to the engine’s efficiency – and a new six-speed manual gearbox that replaces the old five-speeder – yield an increase in mpg from 39.8mpg to 44.1mpg while CO2 falls from 165g/km to 147g/km

A rollerskate on wheels?

There are also, claims Suzuki, big improvements to the handling, with enhanced toe and camber rigidity for the torsion beam (the rear suspension set-up) and greater lateral rigidity in the torsion-beam bushings. There are also stiffer springs all round and beefed-up wheel bearings to enhance stability under heavy cornering.

We’re not expecting the less powerful Swift Sport to nab the Clio’s mini hot-hatch halo, but it could be the Vauxhall Nova SR or Peugoet 106 XSi of our times: fun, compact and relatively insurance-friendly. Let’s hope so.

By Ben Barry