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REVIEW: Here's why this Suzuki Swift Sport should be on a poster

2017-03-16 10:56

Charlen Raymond

BOY-RACER: The Suzuki Swift Sport may not be the fastest, but it delivers heaps of fun! Image: Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond

Cape Town - Most kids, at a young age, usually have posters of the best and most wicked-looking cars on their bedroom walls.

Back in the day it used to be the likes of the Lamborghini Diablo and McLaren F1 that pranced on every conceivable space on said walls.

These posters were the best of conversation starters and more times than not, the conversation would end in argument over how great a car actually is.

Those were the good ol’ days.

Today, in a society where bedroom posters made way for a “check this car on my phone” generation, a car is needed to capture imaginations again.

A car is needed to bring back the twinkle in the eye. It doesn’t have to be a fast car, as long as it entices the senses.

Image: Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond

MotoGP in the recipe

This is where this lively-looking Suzuki Swift Sport comes in. Keen observers will recognise that the decals are similar to the Suzuki Ecstar MotoGP’s colours. And that’s because it is.

This Swift is a nod in the direction of that team; a barrier of the go-faster stripes that adorn the Suzuki motorbikes, a tribute to the manufacturer’s 2016 return to the sport. It’s covered in an eye-catching blue paint with stickers all over. The lime green stands out like a sore thumb and at every robot and intersection people stop and stare at the car. 

And it works. The blue mixed with the green attracts attention, giving the impression that this car is fast. That it will boulder through and past every car in its class. It literally entices the senses and generates a strong sense that the person driving this car will be able to run with the best and fastest cars out there.

Image: Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond

Do you think the Suzuki Swift Sport, with this livery, should have more power? Email us your thoughts or reach us via Facebook  and Twitter.

Bark and bite

Sadly, though, it doesn’t. This derivative is still the same Swift Sport with the same 100kW/160Nm 1.6-litre engine. I’ll admit, to meet the car’s lively colour scheme more power would have been greatly appreciated, so too a lot more bark from the dual exhaust tips.

If anything, a car looking this amazing should be faster - by however much - than the vehicle it’s based on. It should be faster to 100km/h from standstill than the claimed 8.7 seconds and it should have been able to hit 220km/h as opposed to the 195km/h top speed.

But hit a mountain pass or any road that requires some brake-and-turn driving and the “Ecstar” Swift Sport is a little live wire. Around corners it sits like a fly to jam, it gradually climbs through the speedometer, and has the ability to weave a sequence of corners together for the ideal “racing line”.

The six-speed manual gearbox feels mechanical when changing gears, but it fits the car’s character like a glove. Steering is light, but it complements the car’s low weight of 1060kg. There is some understeer when tackling a bend with too much gusto, but the Sport stays steady. But importantly, it churns out buckets of fun!

Image: Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond

Poster boy by heart

As with all cars stuck to a wall, all you see is the exterior. That’s what gets the ball rolling. That’s what entices the senses. This Swift Sport does that too. It looks awesome, it draws attention, and it stands bold on its 16” tyres. There are things that would have made this car a lot better, but it has just enough fire power to warrant its existence. It has enough of a personality to make the driver feel like a little kid again. Whether it’s based on the car’s looks or its ability to go around corners like a real pocket rocket, this “Ecstar” Suzuki Swift Sport knows how to bring out the boy-racer.

I felt like a kid again. Isn’t that what a poster car is supposed to do?

Team opinion

Janine Van der Post: When we got this little Suzuki Swift on test the other day, I decided to fetch my husband at work. I had gotten there a few minutes before closing and his colleagues came rushing out and I could see their confusion from afar. When my husband eventually arrived, he asked: "Why are you fetching me in a racing car?" I had to laugh a) because it was a genuine question as he didn't know why the Swift Sport was adorned in its livery, and b) it was so far from the truth.

I'll agree with Charlen, it's as much fun as you can get in a lucky packet. But, it also annoyed me to no end - not because of anything to do with the car itself, but because every single boy-racer felt the need to "dice" me on my 50km commute to work - all the way down Voortrekker Road from the Strand to Cape Town CBD.

My word, there was even a Honda Civic Type R - which has a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine under the bonnet, mind you - on my tail trying to entice me to a rolling start while driving in 60km/h peak morning traffic! I don’t even want to talk about the VrrrPhaas and other Toyota drivers. It sure made for an exciting drive to work on a Friday. And even if I wanted to entertain them, I couldn’t as we were having a charity Bake Sale that day, and in no way did I want four flans with caramel and cream flying about inside the material-covered comfy seats.

Yet, this little refreshed Swift Sport gem really is adorable. It has such a feisty character you can't help but love it. I can't help thinking of "The little Engine that Could" - the story by Watty Piper used to teach children the "value of optimism and hard work".

It gets you where you need to be with much eagerness and its sporty bucket-type front seats help its racing nature. It's not the fastest car, but with 100kW/160Nm its no dud either. I like it, more than I actually realised. Nice one, Suzuki!

Few more pics of the "Ecstar" Swift Sport:

STEP INSIDE: The Swift Sport's interior features red stitching and bucket seats that fit snugly around the waist. Oh, and you can deactivate the traction control! Image: Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond

BARK FOR ME: Those dual exhaust tips look absolutely stunning, but it does not crackle and snap as one would expect from a sporty car. Image: Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond


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