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Get up to speed in new Swift Sport 

THE South of France was the venue for my  first drive in Suzuki’s new Swift models back  in March of last year.

I was hugely impressed with the new-look little hatchback and thoroughly enjoyed my launch drive.

So I was looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the third-generation Swift Sport when my invitation came in for its launch back in May.

But days before I was due to join up with fellow motoring journalists I suffered a minor injury.

It wasn’t too serious but ruled me out of travelling to the launch and left me extremely disappointed.

The car went on sale in the UK in June and I eventually got behind the wheel of the Swift Sport a few weeks ago.

And after my first drive in Suzuki’s flagship sports model I can say it was well worth the wait.

The test car came in a stunning Burning Red colour and looked every bit a super little hot hatch.

It sits closer to the tarmac than other Swift models and has a more muscular and sporty look.

This includes the faux-carbon fibre skirting, nifty 17-alloys and blacked out rear windows.

The dual exhaust pipes are still there and you do get a nice roar from them when pushing up the revs.

Like the rest of the Swift range, there are only five-door models.

I love the hidden pillar-mounted rear door handles on the Swift, especially when they catch out passengers attempting to get into the rear via the front doors.

This latest edition Swift Sport is lighter and faster that its predecessor.

The naturally-aspirated 1.6-litre engine is replaced by a more powerful 1.4-litre 140ps Boosterjet turbo petrol unit – and there’s a huge increase in torque.

The power comes through a slick six-speed manual gearbox.

With an impressive sprint time from zero to 62mph in just 8.1 seconds, you quickly get the feeling that this is a little car you are going to enjoy driving.

The Swift Sport is quite happy pottering about in town traffic and was easily fitted into the smallest parking spaces.

But it was out in the open that it really shines.

With its new platform and refined suspension, the Sport really does go swiftly in and out of bends.

It was super-agile as I sped along some winding roads, with great grip on the tarmac.

Push the revs and the engine responds with turbo kicking in instantly.

And ride comfort was good for a hot hatch on some bumpy surfaces.

Capable of reaching 130mph, the Sport was merely in jogging mode when driving on motorways at maximum speed.

And it won’t need too many fuel stops on long journeys, with a combined fuel economy figure of 50.4mpg.

I liked the semi-bucket designed front seats that were supportive without being too hugging.

And the driver’s seat height adjuster, along with tilt adjustable steering wheel, allows you to get the perfect driving position.

The interior’s sporting touches include logos on the red stitched seating, alloy pedals, three-spoke leather covered steering wheel and chrome interior door handles and hand brake release button.

There are red accent panels throughout the cockpit and the rev counter also gets a red face with the speedometer coloured silver.

Space up front and in the rear is good and boot load is 265 litres, expanding to 579 litres with rear seats folded.

There are lots of safety features and the Sport also gets an enhanced braking system to match its performance.

There’s also advanced forward detection system, lane departure correction and cruise control.

Suzuki doesn’t skimp when it comes to standard features and you get loads of these with the Swift Sport.

These include LED daytime running lights, rear view camera, air conditioning, DAB radio with Bluetooth and four speakers, smartphone link display audio and sat nav.

There is no need for options and at an on-the-road price of £17,999, the Swift Sport offers exceptional value and super fun.

It should have no problems in reaching Suzuki’s first full year UK sales target of 1,500.