Our cars: Suzuki Swift Sport - August
Week ending August 31
Driven this week: 230 miles
I love the Swift Sport's natty interior – it's smart, refined, and despite being pretty basic, feels like a more expensive car when you're behind the wheel.
Yes, you're not going to find leather or premium materials in a car in this price-range, but I'm disappointed that some of the plastics aren't quite as durable as they look.
Lately, a few scratches have appeared on the hard plastic dash and glovebox, giving the car a worn, jaded feel – and it's only been on our fleet for three months.
On closer inspection, most of the scrapes aren't at all deep – but they are sadly permanent, and look to have been caused by someone climbing into the passenger seat with a bag in their arms.
Considering our Swift is used mostly for commuting and rarely carries passengers, it doesn't bode well for more heavy users.
Suzuki Swift 1.6 Sport
Week ending August 24
Driven this week: 241 miles
Having to grapple with clips and levers is the last thing you need after an interminably long and frustratingly delayed flight. Thankfully, our little Suzuki Swift Sport's beautifully unfiddly folding rear seat requires none of that.
When it came to expanding the boot to fit in my and my friend Debra's suitcases in the back, the Swift once again lived up to its name. Thanks to the car's narrow girth, you can release both left and right catches simultaneously, and with a gentle shove, drop the bench in one, easy movement.
A smooth end, then, to a fraught journey home, at least.
Week ending August 17
Driven this week: 60 miles
Who needs the AA or RAC when you have a Suzuki Swift Sport? Our little hot hatch zipped to the rescue this week when a friend and her two kids, who'd travelled all the way from the Middle East to Middlesex without incident, got stranded less than a mile from my house after the tyre on their hired Vauxhall Insignia burst.
What seemed like a tonne of luggage (which turned out to be just their overnight bags – there was no way the rest of their gear, including duvets and pillows and quite possibly the kitchen sink, was going to fit in without a crowbar) was transferred from the Insignia's mammoth boot to the Swift's more meagre cargo hatch.
Meanwhile, the back seat was the perfect size for eight and five-year-old Hana and Zayn, who, with plenty of space to swing their legs, were all smiles as the Swift delivered them safely home in time for supper.
Week ending August 10
Driven this week:
Our Suzuki Swift Sport might not be endowed with MPV-like proportions, but it proved the perfect people carrier when friends came to stay for the London 2012 games this week.
It put in an Olympic performance, ferrying them to and from the station in comfort. Even Beth, who’d volunteered for what was expected to be the leg-crushing backseat ride, was able to hop in without incident, and emerged smiling.
The tiny 211-litre boot did us proud – no space was wasted, but it was big enough for two big rucksacks to sit side by side.
Week ending August 3
Driven this week: 265 miles
What Car?'s consumer editor, Emma Butcher, has kindly lent her Swift Sport long-term test car to the road test team this week, and it could hardly face a stiffer challenge: defending its crown as our favourite budget hot hatch.
We're testing it against the Renaultsport Twingo 133, which has just been updated, so the Swift has been a very busy car these past few days.
As well as spending a day with our photographer, it's been performance tested at the Millbrook proving ground, driven extensively on road and track, and had its fuel economy tested by our TrueMPG team.
We can tell you the Swift has put in a fine showing, but I'm afraid we can't give away the result of the test. To find out which of these two great little cars wears the budget hot-hatch crown, you'll have to buy the November issue of What Car? magazine, which goes on sale on October 3.