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Swift Sport hits the Sweet Spot

Ian Ferguson lives and breathes cars. As a motoring business manager and digital media specialist for Auto Media Group, he’s had experience with everything from heavy vehicles to the latest EVs.

Over the years Ian’s built an enormous respect for Suzuki and with all the cars he’s had the opportunity to drive, he chooses Swift Sport for his daily driver.

Ian’s first real experience of the brand came in around 1980 when he was working in the parts department at Paul Fahey European Cars. When they added Suzuki to the dealership he noticed the only parts they sold were consumables such as filters, drive belts and panels. “We never sold a single engine, gearbox or driveline spare part,” says Ian. “Note to self; very reliable.”

When Ian and his wife-to-be, Shirley were living in Sydney around 1994, they saw an ad in the newspaper for a new Suzuki Sierra (Samurai in NZ). The white soft-top SJ413 replaced a 1978 Leyland Mini Clubman, one in a long line of Minis they had both owned. “The sales guy said the ride might be a little stiff but the Sierra felt like luxury, even off-road!” remembers Ian.

“The reason we went for a new Suzuki at that time,” says Ian, “was that I was restoring a 1970 Morris Cooper S, and couldn’t be bothered keeping the service schedule up on the Clubman. Suzuki’s reliability sealed the decision, and even decades later we’ve never been let down by any Suzuki model we’ve owned.”

Ian’s Mini interest goes way back to when he worked in a Morris dealership. Ian recalls, “I was interested in cars and aircraft. For me, mechanical devices needed to be purposeful and clever, and early Minis were that for sure. So when we first arrived in Australia we had a 1975 Leyland Moke Californian until we realised Suzuki 4x4s were the real deal.”

The couple returned to New Zealand and in 2001, Ian joined the team at New Zealand Autocar Magazine. It was around 2005, Suzuki released the new Swift. “It was a major departure from the previous design and build,” Ian recalls. “The styling and format were the leading-edge of the super-minis. They were ahead of their time, which gave them an extremely long model life.”

“The Sport model came a bit later,” says Ian, “and we were lucky enough to purchase the Champion Yellow ex-press car. Shirley turned heads in that car for years. The colour was so bright – they certainly stood out from the crowd!” he laughs.

From then on it was Suzuki all the way with a succession of Jimnys, Grand Vitaras, and Vitaras until 2018 when the new Swift Sport came along. “Now we’re in a happy place,” Ian says with a smile. “I use the Swift Sport as my daily driver. It’s our favourite Suzuki of all time. The package is civilised while the performance is amazing. As always we test-drove the automatic but the driver-connect of manual won the day. The turbo has no lag and if you snap change 1st to 2nd before you accelerate, you clean up most other cars.”

“I’ve driven a lot of cars in my time in the motor industry, and with magazines,” says Ian. “And I can confidently say Swift Sport is better than anything we’ve owned in years gone by. It’s fast, frugal, and fun. We can’t wait for the new 2019 Jimny to be in our garage alongside our cherished Swift Sport.”

Ian’s final word; “Our dream car isn’t a classic Mini any more, but a Suzuki Cara from 1994 – if only we could find one!”. And yes, being car nuts, Ian and Shirley have ensured their garage is big enough for three. Just in case.