A new high technology Suzuki Swift Sport with improved efficiencies, higher performance and upgraded specification has landed in New Zealand.
Fitted for the first time with a turbocharger, the 2018 Swift Sport packs a remarkable 44 percent increase in engine torque over its predecessor while also using less fuel and boasting lower emissions.
This hero model in the popular Swift range is designed for discerning drivers seeking a compact, strong performing 5-door hatchback, and the new levels of refinement will give the car even wider appeal than ever before.
With the new honeycomb grille, side skirts, rear spoiler, back diffuser, new style diamond-cut silver and black alloy wheels and twin exhausts, the new Sport is easy to spot, while inside special features distinguish the car from other Swift models. Form-fitting black and red stitched front seats with the “Sport” insignia embossed into the top centre, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and alloy pedals add a touch of class.
Yet it is the hidden changes that mark a real step forward for this latest Suzuki with its HEARTECT platform that is 90 kg lighter in 6 speed manual. High-tensile steel and fewer joints have meant less reinforcements and further weight reductions.
Powering the third generation Swift Sport is the high tech 16-valve K14C BoosterJet engine which is already found in the latest Suzuki Vitara Turbo. The 1.4 litre, intercooled, four cylinder twin overhead camshaft motor produces 103 kW of power compared to 100 kW in the outgoing 1.6 litre Sport model.
However, peak power is achieved at 5,500 rpm while the earlier Sport engine’s maximum output is realised at a much higher 6,900 rpm.
Engine torque output, which is of significant importance in everyday motoring, sees a huge improvement. The BoosterJet power unit produces 230 Nm of torque between 2,500 rpm and 3,500 rpm against the outgoing car’s 160 Nm at 4,400 rpm, resulting in an outstanding 237 Nm per tonne torque-to-weight ratio.
The turbocharger helps the engine develop impressive torque from low revs while the relatively small engine displacement and direct fuel injection system optimises fuel consumption. Both manual and automatic versions average 6.1 litres/100 km in the official combined fuel cycle, the manual Sport proving 6 percent more economical than before.
Improvements have been made to the manual gearbox with the actuating force tuned for easier shifting and smoothness.
The turbocharger system is equipped with a wastegate valve, which opens and closes to control the boost pressure generated. During normal driving, it defaults to the closed position to allow immediate throttle response. When cruising, the valve is kept open to minimise fuel consumption.
Engine response is enhanced by a dual intake air pressure sensor control and an air-cooled intercooler improves volumetric efficiency by cooling intake air. A short-port intake manifold, exhaust manifold-integrated cylinder head and a pendulum-type mounting system not only reduce weight but aid compactness.
Despite an increase in specification, the new Swift Sport with a six speed manual gearbox has an unladen weight of just 970 kg - down 90 kg on its predecessor. The optional automatic, which comes with a new six speed transmission, weighs 990 kg or 85 kg less than the outgoing car.
CO2 emissions for the manual transmission Sport decline 8 percent from 153 grams/km to 141 grams/km, while the automatic transmission versions also improve from 144 grams/km to 141 grams/km.
The body is lower by 15mm and widened by 40mm. At 3,890mm, the new model is the same length as the second generation Swift Sport, while the wheelbase increases by 20mm to 2,450mm. Both front and rear tracks increase by 40mm and the 17-inch diameter alloy wheels are fitted with 195/45R tyres. The alloy wheels are manufactured from a new flow-forming technique that results in a reduction in rotating weight for better acceleration and more responsive handling. Braking is by large front ventilated discs with solid discs at the rear.
Careful tuning of the suspension has further improved the car’s handling and roadholding. McPherson struts and coil springs are employed at the front with a torsion beam and coil spring rear suspension. Monroe shock absorbers with revised valve structure optimise damping force for better handling and control is fitted front and rear. At the front the stabiliser joint bars are thicker and a Teflon seat is added to the stabiliser mount.
The wheel hub and wheel bearings have been made into a single unit and the width between the bearings has been expanded. These advances result in a 15 percent increase in camber rigidity during cornering and provide an extra degree of stiffness without excessively increasing the spring rate of the springs or the front stabiliser. At the same time these changes maintain supple movement in road-type contact.
At the rear the trailing arm was designed and developed exclusively for the Sport to minimise deformation during cornering. Toe rigidity improves by 1.4 times compared to the outgoing model and camber rigidity is higher by a factor of nearly three. The torsional rigidity of the torsion beam is tuned to optimise roll stiffness.
Standard equipment is comprehensive and includes LED projector crystalline headlights, a 7-inch multi-media display for audio, hands-free phone, navigation and smart phone integration. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are on hand along with keyless entry and start with the keys still safely in the driver’s pocket.
There are steering wheel controls for the adaptive cruise control, speed limiter, audio and phone. The Sport has a reversing camera, climate control air conditioning plus a colour LCD display that includes, a turbocharger boost gauge, oil temperature gauge and engine performance screens that were once only the preserve of expensive high performance cars.
Daytime running lamps, automatic levelling for the headlights, front fog lamps and auto hill-hold control (automatic only) are included. An on-board computer details outside air temperature, instant and average fuel consumption and driving range.
An Advanced Forward Detection system incorporates a monocular camera, laser and millimetre wave radar that helps elevate the Swift Sport to the highest 5 Star safety rating. The “forward detection” system has dual sensor brake support, lane departure warning at 60 km/h or faster, and weaving alert.
Together with adaptive cruise control makes the Swift one of the few small cars on the market with this level of safety features normally seen in more expensive vehicles.
Headlamp high beam assist automatically switches headlights between high and low beam depending on the presence of other vehicles and the lighting environment.
The new Swift Sport has a recommended retail price of $28,500 in manual gearbox form, and $29,990 when fitted with automatic transmission, plus on-road costs.