Price from £14,000 (est) On sale Early 2018
It's a sign of just how good the current Suzuki Swift Sport is that, despite having been on sale since 2012, it's still our favourite hot hatchback for less than £15,000. It has held that title for a number of years now, simply because there's little else that matches its fun driving style in this price bracket.
Time moves onwards, though, and with the new regular Swift small hatchback now on sale, Suzuki's attention has turned to its sporty sibling and how it can compete against key rivals including faster versions of the Ford Fiesta and Mini hatchback.
Suzuki Swift Sport styling
This new Suzuki Swift Sport has a far more aggressive look than its predecessor, with larger air intakes, a wide front grille and slanted headlights seperating it from the regular Swift. It's also wider than the old Sport, has wider tyres fitted to its 17in alloy wheels and has more space between its front and rear axles – all designed to improve stability at speed.
Inside, there are new red accents on the instrument cluster and dashboard, plus new sports seats.
Suzuki Swift Sport engines
The new Swift Sport is powered by the same 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine that's already on offer in the Vitara small SUV. In the Swift Sport, that engine produces 138bhp, well behind the 179bhp offered by the Fiesta ST. The Sport is no slouch, though, because it weighs just 970kg, which is 80kg less than the previous car.
The new Sport's 0-62mph sprint time has been cut to 6.2sec, with a top speed of 127mph. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard.
By comparison, the old Swift Sport had a 136bhp 1.6-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine.
Expect the same traits that made the current Swift Sport one of our favourite hot hatchbacks – namely, engaging handling and a peppy but unintimidating engine – to remain.
Suzuki Swift Sport price and release date
The new Swift Sport is due to reach UK showrooms in the new year, with prices starting from around £14,000. The regular Swift range starts from £10,999, with the most expensive model being the SZ5 version, which carries a price tag of £14,499.
Suzuki says the UK will be a key market for the Swift Sport and, indeed, the car's development has in part taken place in this country.
Looking for a great hot hatchback that won't break the bank? These alternatives all cost less than £5000.
The best used hot hatches for less than £5000
10. Renault Twingo Renault Sport 133
Some people don’t think of the Renault Twingo Renault Sport as a hot hatch, because it isn’t actually very fast. 0-62mph takes 8.7sec, for example. However, that belies the engine’s free-revving nature and the way it comes alive over 6000rpm. Matched to a sparkling chassis, it makes the Twingo one of the most interesting small hot hatches going. Prices are low, too, so you can pick up a relatively new example for our budget. Check everything works, though, because electrical glitches are not unknown.
We found 2010 Renault Sport Gordini, 43,000 miles, £4500
The Vauxhall Corsa VXR can’t quite boast the finesse or involvement of its rivals, but what it does offer is potent performance and great value. You also get an attractive interior built from solid materials, a comfortable ride and a beautifully balanced chassis – all of which make it a great everyday hot hatch. Check the air conditioning works, because pipes can split, and listen out for grumbling wheel bearings, which is another common fault.
We found 2008 VXR, 61,000 miles, £4993
8. Renault Megane Renault Sport 225
It's a little on the soft side, but the first-ever Renault Mégane Renault Sport was arresting to look at and wonderfully fast. And if you wanted sharper dynamics, you could always tighten things up with the taut Cup chassis option, which firmed up the ride but added an extra layer of sharpness and involvement. Avoid tuned (or 'chipped') examples and make sure the cambelt’s been recently changed – it’s an expensive job.
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